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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Acropolis \A*crop"o*lis\, n. [Gr. 'akro`polis; 'a`kros extreme + po`lis city.] The upper part, or the citadel, of a Grecian city; especially, the citadel of Athens.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1660s, from Latinized form of Greek akropolis "citadel" (especially that of Athens), from akros "highest, upper" (see acrid) + polis in its older sense of "citadel; enclosed space, often on high ground" (see polis).


n. A promontory (usually fortified with a citadel) forming the hub of many Grecian cities, and around which many were built for defensive purposes before and during the; compare (term Acropolis English).


n. the citadel in ancient Greek towns


An acropolis (; from akros or akron, "highest", "topmost", "outermost" and polis, "city"; plural in English: acropoles, acropoleis or acropolises) is a settlement, especially a citadel, built upon an area of elevated ground—frequently a hill with precipitous sides, chosen for purposes of defense. In many parts of the world, acropoleis became the nuclei of large cities of classical antiquity, such as ancient Rome, and for this reason they are sometimes prominent landmarks in modern cities with ancient pasts, such as modern Rome.

The word acropolis literally means in Greek "upper city," and though associated primarily with the Greek cities Athens, Argos ( with Larissa), Thebes (with Cadmea), and Corinth (with its Acrocorinth), may be applied generically to all such citadels, including Rome, Jerusalem, Celtic Bratislava, many in Asia Minor, or even Castle Rock in Edinburgh. An example in Ireland is the Rock of Cashel. Acropolis is also the term used by archaeologists and historians for the urban Castro culture settlements located in Northwestern Iberian hilltops.

The most famous example is the Acropolis of Athens, which, by reason of its historical associations and the several famous buildings erected upon it (most notably the Parthenon), is known without qualification as the Acropolis. Although originating in the mainland of Greece, use of the acropolis model quickly spread to Greek colonies such as the Dorian Lato on Crete during the Archaic Period.

Because of its classical Hellenistic style, the ruins of Mission San Juan Capistrano's Great Stone Church in California, United States has been called the "American Acropolis".

Other parts of the world developed other names for the high citadel or alcázar, which often reinforced a naturally strong site. In Central Italy, many small rural communes still cluster at the base of a fortified habitation known as La Rocca of the commune.

The term acropolis is also used to describe the central complex of overlapping structures, such as plazas and pyramids, in many Maya cities, including Tikal and Copán.

Acropolis of Athens as seen from Mount Lycabettus (to its northeast). The wooded Hill of the Nymphs is half-visible on its right, and Philopappos Hill on the left, immediately behind. The Philopappos Monument stands where, in the distant background, the coast of Peloponnese meet the waters of the Saronic Gulf.

Acropolis (genus)

Acropolis is a butterfly genus from the subfamily Satyrinae in the family Nymphalidae. There is only one species in the genus, Acropolis thalia. It is distributed in western subtropical China.

Acropolis (play)

Acropolis is a 1933 play by American playwright Robert E. Sherwood.

Category:Plays by Robert E. Sherwood Category:1933 plays

Acropolis (neighbourhood)

Acropolis is a neighbourhood of Athens located near the ancient Acropolis of Athens. This neighborhood has a significant number of tourists all year round. It is the site of the Acropolis Museum, opened in 2009. The neighbourhood is built along the Dionysiou Areopagitou Street between the Philopappos Hill and the Acropolis and borders with the neighbourhoods Makrygianni in the east and Koukaki in the south.

Acropolis (disambiguation)

An acropolis is a high city or citadel.

Acropolis also may refer to:

  • Acropolis of Athens, an ancient citadel located on a high rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and containing the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance
  • Acropolis, Athens, a neighborhood of modern Athens, near the ancient monument, and the site of the Museum of Acropolis
  • Acropolis (genus) of butterflies
  • Acropolis (play) (1933) by Robert E. Sherwood
  • The Acropolis (mountain), for the mountain in Tasmania

Usage examples of "acropolis".

Furthermore just such cyma pieces have been discovered belonging to other structures in Olympia and amid the pre-Persian ruins on the Acropolis of Athens.

It too was a prosperous and fairly large city, dominated by the temple precinct and palace atop a small acropolis, dreaming alongside its wide calm inlet.

At the mouth of the Caicus River their ship turned into it, and so they came to Pergamum, a few miles inland, by exactly that route which showed the city to best advantage, high on its acropolis, and surrounded by tall mountains.

Even in the lower town sprawled around the base of the acropolis there were no narrow alleyways or tumbledown blocks of apartments, for everything was obviously subject to a rigid system of surveys and building codes.

Pulling his sweating beast to a halt, he scanned the rising tiers of streets in search of an acropolis or citadel of some kind, and saw what he presumed to be the palace lying on the mountain flank at the rear of the city.

What scene was exhibited from the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the temples of Hercules, and Theseus, and the Winds?

There is, in fact, no building on earth which can sustain the burden of such greatness, and so the first visit to the Acropolis is and must be disappointing.

Pausanias saw it, the Acropolis was covered with statues, as well as with shrines.

But I do think that the museum on the Acropolis should be provided with a better set of casts of the figures than those which are now to be seen there.

There is nothing more delightful than to descend from the Acropolis, and rest awhile in the comfortable marble arm-chairs with which the front row of the circuit is occupied.

Society at Athens from 1883 to 1889 have laid bare the entire surface of the Acropolis, and shed an unexpected light upon the early history of Attic art.

Of the walls of the cella and opisthodomos nothing remains, but the foundations of this part are made of the hard blue limestone of the Acropolis, while the foundations of the outer part are of reddish-gray limestone from the Peiraieus.

In any case, however, his accuracy in detail is hardly to be accepted without question, especially in his description of the Acropolis, where he has to try his prentice hand upon a material far too great for him.

Certainly, if there had been a second chryselephantine statue of Athena on the Acropolis, we should know of its existence.

Even granting that we know the exact level of the surface of the Acropolis in classical times at every point, we certainly do not know all the objects--votive offerings and the like--set up in various places.