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The Significance Of The Parthenon Essay

899 words - 4 pages

Why is the Parthenon regarded as the finest example of the architecture of Ancient Greece? Consider the building siting, design, detailing, materials and cultural significance.Built in a time of radical new ideas in science, beauty, government and the role of the common individual, the Parthenon represents the ideologies of Ancient Greece at the height of it's power. From it's design and construction, to its use by both ancient Athenians and later cultures, the Parthenon serves as one of the best examples of what humans are capable of achieving.Figure 1ReviewKillikrates and Ikentinos built the Parthenon from 447-432 BCE. It is a Doric temple, with eight columns on each façade, and seventeen columns on the flanks, as well as six Ionic columns between the outer colonnade and the entrance to the cella and opisthodomos. The Parthenon was built as a home for Phidias's sculpture of Athena; the patron Goddess of Athens.Significant Architectural Elements and Details of The ParthenonThe Parthenon demonstrates the Ancient Greek's value for visual harmony, as well as attention to detail.Vitruvius wrote in his book that architects would have had to been skilled in the fields of optics and acoustics, as well as engineers and mathematicians.Figure 2Despite it's huge imposing dimensions and the lavish decoration that has crumbled, or been stolen the Parthenon has a more subtle style to it. Architects included details and compensations in order to make the Parthenon appear to its viewers to be perfect, but it is not. This is inconsistent with earlier Greek temples, such as the Temple of Hera. These modifications were a more dynamic form of Architecture.[1: Sakoulas, Thomas . "The Parthenon." Parthenon. http://www.ancient-greece.org/architecture/parthenon2.html (accessed September 27, 2014).]For example; the corner columns were slightly larger than all the rest and set closer together; as against the sky they would have looked thin and further apart than the other columns.Figure 3The platform on which the Parthenon sat would have looked as though it were slumping slightly from a distance.As well, Greek architects give the Parthenon a transcendent feel to it; by having the columns swell a little as though they were burdened by the weight of the roof the Parthenon would have looked as though it were a living being.None of this would have come cheaply however; the Parthenon was built at Athens' highs of power- they were receiving payments from nearly 200 Aegean in what was essentially protection money. Athens would have had approximately 10, 000 silver talents when the Parthenon was built, one of which would have paid for a warship as well as it's crew for three months. The Parthenon cost 470 talents for the temple, and the Pericles's statue would have cost 1000 silver talents according to a tablet that the Greeks recorded their expenses on. [2: Hadingham, Evan . "Unlocking the Mysteries of the Parthenon." Smithsonian Magazine, February...

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