Metamorphosis and Metousiosis: Transformation and Transmutation of the Stones of Athens

Athens among the ancient cities of Europe is the one with the less visible antiquities despite her great urban longevity and her impact in the historical, political and cultural development of the World.

The plurimellennial History of Athens and Greece explain what caused this phenomenon but the study of the material procedures leading to the transformation of classical Athens into Hellenistic, Roman, Early Medieval, Medieval, Ottoman and Modern Athens could have its philosophical projection. It is in both material and philosophical terms that will be analyzed the transformation of the picture of Athens after the Late Antiquity in this paper.

Metamorphosis, Metousiosis, Transformatio and Transmutatio will be used often to perceive the almost alchemical character of this continuous change, destructive and productive at the same time, responsible for the construction and demolition of an urban reality which lasts for about two millennia in the Athenian History.

The stones of Athens are the original architectural materials in her making but at the same time they are symbols of fusion, dismantlement and re – birth. In Archaeology the stones known as Spolia are the recycled architectural materials that constitute the basic element for the metamorphotic transmutation of edifices as: common residences, temples, shrines, tombs, public and private buildings into new constructions if not into totally different settlements located near the ancient urban network or far from it.

These spolia are the talking stones, the stones – keepers of Memory and the stones – indicators, semata and landmarks of a very ancient heritage, coexisting with the later stone products of Byzantine, Frankish and Ottoman Athens.