Seminar 257, Dr. Jennifer Einspahr
The temple and metics.
I shall start with words that we should all remember together. Throughout time, we have lost and may continue to lose many things. We can lose our wars, we can lose our ships and horses, we can lose our men, but one thing we will never lose is our beloved city of Athens. Our democratic meetings allow us to fully benefit from all the wisdom that our demos have, while other poleis are doomed to blindly kill each other due to their lust for power. Our city is the manifestation of the knowledge and nobility of her people, first in the world and unique in every way. Ours has proven to be the very best all the forms of government that we see in less-developed polies. Their people envy us; they want to be us. We are hated by those who try to accumulate power for their own sake, and not the sake of their fellow citizens.
As you might know, I have been appointed as the master carpenter of Erechtheum, a great temple dedicated to both Athena and Poseius. The temple is built to connect two holy sites- Athena’s olive tree and the mark of Poseidon’s trident. Erechtheum will have a unique structure and fulfill the emptiness of destruction in Acropolis, as well as strike hope and pride in the heart of every Athenian. I know, bad times have come upon us. We, as Athenians, don’t have the same confidence and belief as we used to have. We must show the world that neither the Persians nor the Spartans can stop us from being an example to everyone. We shall show them that despite all the misfortunes we keep pushing our ideals, our culture, our science, our ambitions. Our majestic temples show how we honor and love our gods. Everyone who has ever been to Athens would say how our gods love us back. No Greek soldier would dare to lay a hand on our temples. However, we should not forget about barbaric Persians, who attempted to destroy us, but instead, have been utterly smashed by Greek heroes. Every Athenian is ready to fight as fiercely as 10 men combined, to defend what makes him Athenian - his city. Our temples will be memorials to the dead and to those who are alive; they shall remind us of the importance of Athenian culture. Erechtheum will represent their duty to their ancestors and their city.
People think that Athena turned her back on Athens during the war. They think that the gods are not with us anymore. We, being mortals, will never understand them, yet we can atone and ask the gods to show us a path back to prosperity. We need their blessings to return Athens to its former glory. However, how dare we talk about blessings if we can’t finish our main temple? How will people feel the blessings, if we haven’t done anything to be blessed for? Thus, this temple is crucial in not only showing the gods our dedication and faith, but also in our people. We must stand together and rise through these hard times with the belief in our gods in our hearts.