I'm taking the day off today. The Anthesteria was wonderful, and I greatly enjoyed it. Sadly, it also kept me from writing a little, and I have a million and one things to do, people to visit, and other work to catch up on. Sorry, guys. I'll be back tomorrow. In the mean time, have a gorgeous video on the secrets of the Parthenon in Athens.

"The Parthenon was part of an ambitious building campaign on the Acropolis that began around 450 b.c. A generation before, the Athenians, as part of an alliance of Greek city-states, had led heroic victories against Persian invaders. This alliance would evolve into a de facto empire under Athenian rule, and some 150 to 200 cities across the Aegean began paying Athens huge sums of what amounted to protection money. Basking in glory, the Athenians planned their new temple complex on a lavish, unprecedented scale—with the Parthenon as the centerpiece. Surviving fragments of the financial accounts, which were inscribed in stone for public scrutiny, have prompted estimates of the construction budget that range from around 340 to 800 silver talents—a considerable sum in an age when a single talent could pay a month's wages for 170 oarsmen on a Greek warship. The Parthenon's base was 23,028 square feet (about half the size of a football field) and its 46 outer columns were some 34 feet high. A 525-foot frieze wrapped around the top of the exterior wall of the building's inner chamber. Several scholars have argued that the frieze shows a procession related to the quadrennial Great Panathenaia, or the festival "of all the Athenians." By incorporating this scene of civic celebration, the scholars suggest, the Parthenon served not merely as an imperial propaganda statement but also as an expression of Athens' burgeoning democracy—the will of the citizens who had voted to fund this exceptional monument."