The importance of temples in the history of Greece is well known. The Greek temple is acclaimed for its structure and architecture. Whether is it temple of Apollo in Delos the most sacred place for the ancient Greeks temple or the temple of Zeus in Athens. Greek temples are an extraordinary example of art.
The 2500 years old ancient temple of Goddess Athena, the Parthenon in Acropolis Athens, Greece is world-renowned for its architecture. But, do you know? It was demolished and converted so many times by the foreign invaders in the past.
Despite being demolished and altered many times by foreign invaders in the past, it still stands tall with its original identity.
The Temple Parthenon
The Parthenon is a former temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power. It was completed in 432 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, and Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art.
The origin of the Parthenon’s name is from the Greek word παρθενών (Parthenon), which referred to the “unmarried women’s apartments” in a house and in the Parthenon’s case seems to have been used at first only for a particular room of the temple.
The Parthenon itself replaced an older temple of Athena, which historians call the Pre-Parthenon or Older Parthenon.
The first endeavor to build a sanctuary for Athena Parthenos on the site of the present Parthenon was begun shortly after the Battle of Marathon (c. 490–488 BC). which was eventually destroyed in the Persian invasion of 480 BC.
Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power. It was completed in 432 BC.
After completion of Parthenon in 432 BC, it remained intact for the next 700 years. when a major fire broke out the Parthenon which destroyed the Parthenon’s roof and much of the sanctuary’s interior.
Repairs were made in the fourth century AD, possibly during the reign of Julian the Apostate.
In the final decade of the 6th century AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
After the Ottoman conquest, it was turned into a mosque in the early 1460s.
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The dimensions of the base of the Parthenon are 69.5 by 30.9 meters (228 by 101 ft). The cella was 29.8 meters long by 19.2 meters wide (97.8 × 63.0 ft).
On the exterior, the Doric columns measure 1.9 meters (6.2 ft) in diameter and are 10.4 meters (34 ft) high.
The Parthenon had 46 outer columns and 23 inner columns in total, each column has 20 flutes. The roof was covered with large overlapping marble tiles known as imbrices and tegulae.
The temple was dedicated to Athena at that time and Athena Parthenos is a lost massive chryselephantine (gold and ivory) sculpture of the Greek goddess Athena, made by Phidias and his assistants and housed in the Parthenon in Athens. Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom.
It was considered one of the greatest achievements of the most acclaimed sculptor of ancient Greece. Phidias began his work around 447 BC.
Lachares removed the gold sheets in 296 BC to pay his troops, and the bronze replacements for them were probably gilded thereafter; it was damaged by a fire about 165 BC but repaired. An account mentions it in Constantinople in the 10th century.
The frieze of the Parthenon’s
The frieze of the Parthenon’s entablature contained 92 metopes, 14 each on the east and west sides, 32 each on the north and south sides. They were carved in high relief, a practice employed until then only in treasuries. According to the building records, the metope sculptures date to the years 446–440 BC.
The Parthenon was built under the general supervision of the artist Phidias, who also had charge of the sculptural decoration. These remains on
the Acropolis is believed to have been the workshop of Phidias, where
he worked on the statue of Athena Parthenos, Phidias went on to make
even more famous ivory and gold statue, of Zeus, king of the gods, which was known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World
Goddess Athena and Inside the temple
The Statue of Athena Parthenon which towered almost 40 feet and clothed in some 200 hundred pounds of gold, cost more than the Pantheon in which it stood.
The Parthenon was the treasury of the Athenian empire. Tribute, war trophies, and offerings to the goddess were all kept in the storeroom behind the statue. The statue itself was seen as a store of gold.
The golden armor and clothing were made of plates that could be removed in time of need. The Athenians believed that Athena would be happy to give up the gold if her city needed it.
Temples such as the Parthenon were not places for group worship. They were the homes of the gods whose statues they contained. The actual religious ceremonies, like much of Greek life, took place in the open air.
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Athena’s servant girls
Every year, two little girls, aged between 7 and 11, were chosen to live on the Acropolis. They were called the Arrephoroi, and they were there to keep Athena company and act as her special servants.
After a year they went back to their families, and two new girls were sent in their place. It was a great honor to be chosen, but the Acropolis must have been a lonely place at night, when everyone had gone home.
Other Look a life buildings
- Federal Hall, New York
- British Museum
- The Parthenon, Nashville
- Shrine of Remembrance, Australia
Tourism Every Year
Today, the Parthenon is one of the most recognizable icons and popular tourist attractions in the world. About 7.2 million people visit the Parthenon each year.
- The height of the Parthenon at completion was 65 feet.
- Single Pantheon column weight is between 69 to 119 tonnes.
- It took 22000 tonnes of marble to build the Parthenon and every hug block was cut by hand.
- The Statue of Athena Parthenon which towered almost 40 feet and clothed in some 200 hundred pounds of gold, cost more than the Pantheon in which it stood.
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