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The Parthenon

March 31, 2013
The Parthenon - Southern Aspect

The Parthenon – Southern Aspect

The most fantastic example of Athenian architecture sits a top the Acropolis in Athens; The Parthenon. Construction began in 447 BC and although the temple was completed in 438 BC the decoration took a further six years to finish. Unfortunately The Parthenon was used by the Ottomans as an ammunition dump and in 1687 the stored material was ignited. The resulting explosion severely damaged the building. The Earl of Elgin was given permission by the Ottomans to remove some of the sculptures in order to preserve them. These are on display at the British Museum.

The majority of the sculptures of The Parthenon represent mythological events; the metopes depict mythical wars, the pediments the birth of Athena and the competition between Athena and Poseidon and the frieze represents the Panathenaic procession.

Every four years the people of Athens and foreign representatives took part in the Panathenaic procession. The procession presented a new pelops (a woven dress) to Athena and sacrifices were made in honour of her.

Parthenon - Metopes

Parthenon – Metopes

The building represents the culmination of Athenian culture and pride. Whilst making a bold statement to other Greek city states in regards to Athens power and military prowess.

I believe that this temple not only represents the wealth and power of the people of Athens but also a distinct step in the development of the Athenian culture. Whenever I visit Athens I am in awe at The Parthenon and its beauty. If you would like to find out more about The Parthenon there are several books such as The Parthenon  (1981) by Susan Woodford.

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