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"The Parthenon". Essay

1175 words - 5 pages

The Parthenon is a marvel of Greek architecture and innovation and has the recognition of being one of the most perfect Doric temples ever built. Although now partly in ruins, it stands towering above Athens, a real and tangible item of their power and wealth for centuries.The Parthenon was built under the rule of the Greek politician Pericles, who sought to restore Athens' temples, which were destroyed by the Persians. They Athenians used the money brought in from the arrangement with members of the Delian League to restore their city to its previous glory. This agreement basically was all of their allies paying Athens to defend them with their warships rather than building their own and having to man them. This made Athens very rich and therefore powerful, which enabling them to build some of the most spectacular temples and buildings in the Greek world. But Athens wealth and power caused jealousy among the other Greek city-states, especially Sparta, which eventually drew to the Peloponnesian War.Construction on the Parthenon began in 447BC and completed nearly fifteen years later in 432BC. This temple was a dedication to the goddess Athena Parthenos or "Athena the Virgin," who the Athenians believed helped with there victory over the Persians. It was built by two main architects, Ictinus, who was the main designer, Callicrates, the master builder and also Phidias, who supervised the sculptures. The temple was built atop the acropolis, which is a fortified high ground which most Greek cities had. The Parthenon was not the only temple on the Athenian acropolis, it was accompanied by the Propylaia, the Erechtheum, the Temple of Athena Nike.The temple was constructed on top of a previous one which the Persians had burned to the ground during the war. There were still parts of the old temple there which were used in the building of the Parthenon. The Parthenon measured about 31 m wide by 70 m long and consisted of 46 main columns (17x8) which were all Doric. The Spartian Doric columns were used as the main load bearing columns because of there superior strength and stability. The Ionic columns were also used but mostly on the interior were not strength but elegance was needed. By using both of the columns the Athenians were sending the message that they were the leaders of all the Greeks. The columns and most all other parts of the temple were constructed of Pentelic marble, almost 22,000 tons of it. The marble was brought from Mt. Pentilicus which was almost 8km from Athens.The Parthenon was divided into two separate interior chambers, the first was the eastern chamber or the pronaos. This room contained 23 two story Doric columns which supported the roof, and at the west end a statue of Athena Parthenos. This statue, designed by Phidias was colossal at 38 ft tall, it was constructed of wood and covered in ivory and gold. It depicted Athena armed with a spear, shield and helmet and in her right hand Nike, the goddess of victory. The second room,...

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