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Parthenon (n.)

name of the temple of Athena Parthenos on the Acropolis in Athens, from Greek Parthenōn, literally "temple of the virgin goddess" (Athene), also, in a general sense, "the young women's apartments in a house," from parthenos "virgin, maiden, girl," a word of unknown origin. Beekes finds "acceptable" its derivation from IE *psteno- "breast" on the notion of "having protruding breasts." The temple was completed about 438 B.C.E., later served as a church and then a mosque under the Turks, and was shattered by an explosion of gunpowder stored there in 1687 during the Venetian siege.

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Elgin Marbles (n.)

1809, a collection of sculptures and marbles (especially from the frieze of the Parthenon) brought from Greece to England and sold to the British government by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin (1766-1841).

The removal of the marbles, many of which were torn violently from their original positions upon the Parthenon, to the further damage of that monument, was in itself an act of vandalism; but their transportation to England at a time when Greece was accessible with difficulty opened the eyes of the world to the preeminence of Greek work. It was one of the first steps toward securing an accurate knowledge of Hellenic ideals, and has thus influenced contemporary civilization. [Century Dictionary]

The place is in Scotland, literally "little Ireland," from Ealg, an early Gaelic name for Ireland, with diminutive suffix -in. "The name would have denoted a colony of Scots who had emigrated here from Ireland ..." [Room].

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niggardly (adj.)

"sordidly parsimonious, stingy," 1560s, from niggard + -ly (1).

It was while giving a speech in Washington, to a very international audience, about the British theft of the Elgin marbles from the Parthenon. I described the attitude of the current British authorities as "niggardly." Nobody said anything, but I privately resolved — having felt the word hanging in the air a bit — to say "parsimonious" from then on. [Christopher Hitchens, "The Pernicious Effects of Banning Words,", Dec. 4, 2006]

As an adverb, "parsimoniously, grudgingly," from 1520s. Related: Niggardliness.

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