Chapter

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

Timothy Rood

in Cultural Responses to the Persian Wars

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780199279678
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191707261 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279678.003.0012
From Marathon to Waterloo: Byron, Battle Monuments, and the Persian Wars

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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

Chapter.  14346 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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