Acropolis (Gr. "akros, akron," [acro-. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved September 29, 2008, [http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/acro- from Dictionary.com website:] Quote: " [From Greek akros, extreme; see ak- in Indo-European roots.] "] edge, extremity + "polis," city, pl. acropoleis) literally means "city on the edge (or extremity)". For purposes of defense, early settlers naturally chose elevated ground, frequently a hill with precipitous sides. In many parts of the world, these early
citadels became the nuclei of large cities, which grew up on the surrounding lower ground, such as modern Rome.
The word "Acropolis", although Greek in origin and associated primarily with the Greek cities
Athens, Argos, Thebes, and Corinth(with its Acrocorinth), may be applied generically to all such citadels, including Rome, Jerusalem, Celtic Bratislava, many in Asia Minor, or even Castle Rock in Edinburgh.
The most famous example is the
Acropolis of Athens, [ [http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/404 World Heritage: Acropolis, Athens ] ] which, by reason of its historical associations and the several famous buildings erected upon it (most notably the Parthenon), is known without qualification as "the Acropolis". Although originating in the mainland of Greece, use of the acropolis model quickly spread to Greek colonies such as the Dorian Latoon Creteduring the Archaic Period.
Other parts of the world developed other names for the high citadel or
alcázar, which often reinforced a naturally strong site. In Central Italy, many small rural communes still cluster at the base of a fortified habitation known as "La Rocca" of the commune.
The term "acropolis" is also used to describe the central complex of overlapping structures, such as plazas and pyramids, in many Mayan cities, including
* [http://odysseus.culture.gr/h/3/eh351.jsp?obj_id=2384 The Acropolis of Athens] (Greek Government website)
* [http://ysma.culture.gr/ The Acropolis Restoration Project] (Greek Government website)
* [http://odysseus.culture.gr/a/1/12/ea120.html The Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles]
* [http://www.marblesreunited.com/ Marbles Reunited - The British Campaign to Return the Parthenon Marbles to Athens]
* [http://www.acropolisofathens.gr/ Acropolis of Athens — AcropolisofAthens.gr — one monument, one heritage]
* [http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/404 UNESCO World Heritage Centre — Acropolis, Athens]
* [http://www.acropolisfriends.gr/index.php?lang=en Acropolis Friends]
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