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Cultural Responses to the Persian WarsAntiquity to the Third Millennium$
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Emma Bridges, Edith Hall, and P. J. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199279678

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279678.001.0001

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From Marathon to Waterloo: Byron, Battle Monuments, and the Persian Wars

From Marathon to Waterloo: Byron, Battle Monuments, and the Persian Wars

(p.267) 12 From Marathon to Waterloo: Byron, Battle Monuments, and the Persian Wars
Cultural Responses to the Persian Wars

Timothy Rood

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that if the 18th century was ‘the age of Thermopylae’, Marathon began to overtake its main competitor in cultural prominence during the 19th century, a trend that seems to have been inaugurated in Britain by its equation with Waterloo both in the poetry of Byron and in wider public discourse. The particular focus is on the way the two battles were united in an exhibition of new paintings by Benjamin Robert Haydon that opened in London in March 1830. Haydon's obsession can be traced back to the acrimonious national debate over the best form of public monument with which to commemorate the victory at Waterloo, when it was suggested that a replica of the Parthenon (believed by many to be a monument to the Persian Wars) should be erected on Primrose Hill. The failure of the London Parthenon campaign was followed, however, by the building of the ‘Calton Hill Parthenon’, in Edinburgh, the ‘Athens of the North’.

Keywords:   Marathon, Benjamin Robert Haydon, Calton Hill Parthenon

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