THE ATHENIAN PNYX.
character, and may have served as a site for astronomical observations ;
after the construction of the Dionysiac theatre it was abandoned as
the regular place of popular assemblies, and was used only for special
Possessed of this information, and being acquainted with the posi-
tion of the Acropolis, Areopagus, and other points mentioned, the
student will find no difficulty in selecting, almost with certainty, a
place answering to the given conditions. On arriving at the place
he will be surprised to find himself in presence of a ruin, the first
view of which will convince him that it is one of the most venerable
within the limits of the ancient city.
A study of the survey which accompanies this paper will aid in
forming a correct conception of both the ruin and the hill on which
it is situated.
It lies on the middle one of the three hills mentioned above, which
bound Athens on the west. It faces north-east, and is so near the top
of the hill that the upper boundary is but a short distance from the
summit. It is bounded on this side by what we will designate as a back
wall ; i.e., the rock of the hill is cut down, so that when you stand
within the enclosure, with your face turned to the hill, a perpendicular
wall of native rock rises before you. This wall is not straight, but
consists of two parts, RB and OS, which form an angle of 158° at the
middle point 0. The top of the wall is very irregular. The height
varies, and is greatest toward the south-east, where it is 7.40 metres.
This altitude decreases gradually toward the north-west. The half
marked 6S varies in altitude from two to three metres. In cutting
away the rock to make this back wall a large block was left, which
stands in the angle made by its two parts. This is marked "bema"
on the survey, and has for a long time been supposed to be the tribune
of the Attic orators. The rock has been removed to a sufficient depth
to produce a floor which is nearly on a level with the base of the
bema. This floor is bounded on the right and left by walls of native
rock, of the same nature as the back wall. These side walls meet the
back wall at the points R and S. Their altitude, which is greatest
near these points, gradually decreases to the points where the slope