One of the most famous monuments of the ancient world is the Parthenon in Athens. Less well known, however, is the fact that this temple on the Acropolis was a victim of early Christian iconoclasm.
The Acropolis of Athens. Photo: TMK, March 2003.
During its conversion to the church of Agia Sophia in the 5th century CE, parts of the sculptural decoration were destroyed. The metopes, mainly on the western, eastern and northern sides of the temple, were especially targeted. As can be seen in the photo below, the figures have been chiselled away.
North metope no. 25. From Brommer 1967, tafel 105.
It is therefore lamentable that we know so frustratingly little about the Christianisation of the Acropolis because of the destruction of the post-classical layers in the 19th century (see the excellent article by McNeal in Antiquity 65 for an account of this sad story).
J. Boardman. 1985. The Parthenon and its Sculptures. London.
F. Brommer. 1967. Die Metopen des Parthenon. 2 vols. Mainz.
R. McNeal. 1991. “Archaeology and the destruction of the later Athenian Acropolis”, Antiquity 65: 49-63.