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Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens

Daily Pic: 

The great Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens, whose construction started in the 6th century BC and lasted until the 2nd century AD, originally had 104 columns. Only 15 of them remain standing today. Those are the Corinthian columns by the way.

Aristotle cited the temple as an example of how tyrannies engaged the populace in great works for the state and left them no time, energy or means to rebel. Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, remembered the lesson very well and built the Burj Khalifa tower. Muammar Gaddafi, Hosni Mubarak and other lesser arab tyrants did not think that building colossal things was important, and, subsequently, found themselves dead, jailed or exiled.

When I was in fifth grade, there was this picture in the "Ancient History" textbook, depicting the temple of Zeus, with the Acropolis in the background, which I attempted to reproduce here.

Interestingly enough, the ancient Greek religion, outlawed by the Christian Roman empire in the late 4th century, is not completely dead. Ellin.a.i.s., a small Athens-based religious organization intended on reviving the worship of the 12 Olympian gods, held a rite at the Temple of Zeus in 2007, a year after I took this picture. In 2008, they gathered at the Parthenon, although I haven't heard of them since then.

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