The Parthenon

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The Parthenon in Athens is the most important and characteristic monument of ancient Greek civilization, it is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. It shows the finest point of Greek architecture, history and ancient Greek religious beliefs. The Parthenon is a temple dedicated to Athens patron goddess, Athena (Herbert, 2006:3). Athena was the goddess of civilization, wisdom, weaving, crafts and war. She never had a consort or lover, and so she was often known as Athena Parthenos ("Athena the virgin") which is were the Parthenon's name, derives from.

The Parthenon was an architectural masterpiece because of its great size and elaborate decoration. It was constructed between 447 and 438 BCE on the acropolis of Athens at the request of Pericles the leading politician of the time. The Parthenon was built to house the huge gold and ivory (chryselephantine) statue of the goddess Athena (wikipedia, 2006), Which was over 30 feet high, and portrayed the goddess in battle armor and holding in her outstretched hand a six-foot statue of Nike the figure of victory. The Parthenon was constructed from 20,000 tons of white marble, and stretched nearly 230 feet in length and a hundred feet wide making it the largest Greek temple. It was built in the Doric style, however instead of the usual six columns across the ends there where 8 and instead of the usual 13 along the sides there where 17. These dimensions gave it a massive look conveying an impression of power. Since perfectly rectilinear architecture appears curved to the human eye, the Parthenon's architects ingeniously designed subtle curves and inclines in its architecture to produce an optical illusion of completely straight lines. These technical refinements made the Parthenon appear ordered and regular in a way a building built entirely on straight lines would not. By overcoming the distortions of nature, the Parthenon's sophisticated architecture made a confident statement about human ability...
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