Optical transmission properties of Pentelic and Paros marble

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García, Pablo A.
Campos Acosta, Joaquín
Storch de Gracía, Jacobo
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Optical Society Of America
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AncientGreek and Roman sources report that the statue of Zeus in Olympia had a head, and in particular eyes, similar to the description of Zeus by Homer, so we think that the statue was visible to the human eye. Since the temple was 12mhigh, and had a small door and no windows, the illumination of the statue by conventionalmedia is questionable. The aimof this paper is to characterize the optical transmission of Paros and Pentelic marble to demonstrate that it was possible to have the Zeus temple illuminated through the roof marble tiles. Spectral absolute transmittance measurements were taken in samples with different thicknesses using a calibrated spectrophotometer, as well as total transmittance measurements using a luxmeter. The results show that both types of marble transmit light and that Pentelic marble has a higher transmittance in the visible range than Paros marble in some cases and hence could have been one reason, among others, to change the type of marble in the roof in antiquity.
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