It will be seen from the preceding description that Athens, in its larger acceptation, and including its port, consisted of two circular cities, the Asty and Piraeus, each of about 7 1/2 miles in circumference, and joined together by a broad street of between four and five miles long.
Such was the outward and material form of that city, which during the period between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars reached the highest pitch of military, artistic, and literary glory. The latter portion of this period, or that comprised under the ascendency of Pericles, exhibits Athenian art in its highest state of perfection, and is therefore by way of excellence commonly designated as the age of Pericles. The great sculptor of this period--perhaps the greatest the world has ever seen-- was Phidias, to whom Pericles intrusted the superintendence of all the works executed in his administration.
The first public monuments that arose after the Persian wars were erected under the auspices of Cimon, who was, like Pericles, a lover and patron of the arts. The principal of these were the small Ionic temple of Nike Apteros (Wingless Victory), and the Theseum, or temple of Theseus. The temple of Nike Apteros was only 27 feet in length by 18 in breadth, and was erected on the Acropolis in commemoration of Cimon's victory at the Eurymedon. A view of it is given at the beginning of this chapter, and its position on the Acropolis, on one side of the Propylaea, is seen in the drawings on p. 91, as well as on the Frontispiece of the work.
The Theseum is situated on a height to the north of the Areopagus, and was built to receive the bones of Theseus, which Cimon brought from Scyros in B.C. 469. It was probably finished about 465, and is the best preserved of all the monuments of ancient Athens. It was at once a tomb and temple, and possessed the privileges of an asylum. It is of the Doric order, 164 feet in length by 45 feet broad, and surrounded with columns.