Archaeologist: How did the Parthenon's stonemasons manage to carve columns that all bulged outward in the center in p...

OQ on November 2, 2018

Please explain.

Can you please explain why this is C and the other choices are wrong? Thank you.

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Mehran on November 5, 2018

Hi @OQ, thanks for your post. Let's first analyze the stimulus carefully. This one presents an argument, the conclusion of which is "the stonemasons who carved the Parthenon's columns may have relied on a drawing like the one at Didyma." Why? In other words, what support is provided for this conclusion? That a scale drawing of a column was found at a Greek temple at Didyma (a different site); that this drawing provided a profile view of a column surrounded by a grid; and that this grid makes it possible to determine the correct width at every height of the column.

The question stem asks us to identify the answer that most *supports* this argument. How can we conclude, from the fact that a drawing was found at one specific site, that the stonemasons who carved another site had a similar drawing to refer to / rely upon? Answer choice (C) would support this argument: "scale drawings were *commonly used* in *many types* of construction in ancient Greece. If this is true, then the argument in the stimulus is strengthened.

Answer choice (A) is entirely irrelevant. The conclusion here is a claim that the stonemasons who carved the Parthenon's columns may have had a scale drawing for reference. "Modern attempts" have no bearing on this claim.

Answer choice (B) might *weaken* the argument. If the Didyma was created more than 100 years after the Parthenon, then facts about how the Didyma may have been constructed with reference to a scale drawing might have *no relevance* to the Parthenon. We would need more to connect the premises about the Didyma drawing and the conclusion about the Parthenon stonemasons. Because this question stem is a Strengthen question, you'd want to eliminate (B).

Answer choice (D) is irrelevant, because the point of referring to the scale drawing used at the Didyma is not to compare the sizes of the columns at the Didyma vs. the Parthenon, but rather to hypothesize as to how Greek stonemasons were able to create consistent columns at various work sites. Regardless of the size of the columns, what we care about here is how *consistent columns* were constructed.

Answer choice (E) is also irrelevant, because it does not address the gap between the premises (which are about Didyma) and the conclusion (which is about the Parthenon). Notice how (E) focuses on the Parthenon stonemasons, without addressing the link between the scale drawing found at Didyma and the consistency of the Parthenon columns. This cannot help strengthen the argument in the stimulus.

Hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any additional questions.