Parthenon, Ancient Athens
The Parthenon in Athens is one of the most famous pieces of architecture in Greece, a country with a lot of famous architecture. The Parthenon was built in honor of Athena, the patron Goddess of Athens who was honored for saving Athens from destruction during the Persian wars. Parthenon actually means ‘virgin’; the full name of the temple is the Temple of the Virgin Athena. It was meant to house a forty foot tall statue sculpted and designed by Pheidas.
The Parthenon began as a Greek Temple, but over the centuries it has functioned as a church, a mosque, a treasury, and a fortress. Now it is one of the most visited sites in Greece.
The Parthenon replaced an older temple that had been destroyed. It was commissioned by Pericles and the architects in charge were Iktinos and Kallikcrates.
The project was supervised by the sculptor Phidias, who designed the statues and the project was worked on between 447 BCE and 438 BCE, though the decorations of the Parthenon went on until around 433 BCE as they were perfected.
The temple was constructed to be a perfect monument to Athena, right down to how the pillars were constructed to look thick and strong no matter what angle they were viewed at and built to be tall and elegant.
The artists involved in the creation of the statues and paintings fought with each other to make the perfect statuary for their goddess and for their own glory.
The temple was made entirely from marble, except for the doors and foundation. It represents the climax of the Doric style of art that held Greece for the longest of the three orders of artistic style. Normally considered ‘heavy’, the Parthenon proved that Doric style could be elegant too.