While evidence of settlement of the Acropolis extends back to Neolithic times, the earliest attributable construction in Athens relates to Peisistratos, the 6th-century BCE tyrant who ruled the city. He, amongst other works, built a massive aqueduct to bring fresh water to the inhabitants. Pericles, the Athenian statesman, ushered in the city’s architectural golden age. Amongst the many works he commissioned is the iconic Parthenon, atop the Acropolis. Enclosing the city, and beyond to include its two ports, are three great walls (the northern, southern and phaleric long walls). These were built on Pericles’ orders, creating a massive fort with sea access in the event of attack. In the 2nd century CE, the Roman emperor Hadrian, a confirmed Hellenophile, lavished much attention on Athens: his buildings include the Library, Pantheon and baths. A later Roman emperor, Valerian tried to counter the growing barbarian threat with a defensive wall.
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