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Wednesday, 28 December 2016


The Parthenon is the principal building of the Athenian Acropolis, a Doric temple of Pentelic marble dedicated to Athena Parthenos ('the Maiden').

Parthenon, Athens Greece. Photo taken in 1978 by Steve Swayne posted to Flickr 

The Athenians begin building the Parthenon in 447 BC, for the political leader Pericles and completed it by 438BC.

The Parthenon was designed by the architects Ictinus and Callicrates under the supervision of Phidias, the Greek sculptor responsible for its 9 m / 30 ft-high gold and ivory cult statue.

The building was constructed using limestone foundations and 22,000 tons of marble. It has 46 Doric columns which support the roof, with 8 across the front and back, and 17 on each side.

Reconstruction of the Acropolis and Areus Pagus in Athens, Leo von Klenze, 1846

What is unique about the Greek temple is the conscious adjustment of these orders by Greek architects for purely aesthetic effect. For the first time in history, architects, not priests, directed these building projects.

One the most famous and beautiful sculptures of all time are those of the horses that form part the great sculpted frieze around the Parthenon. These sculptures, done by the artist Phidias, express the Greek idea of perfection. They show horsemen riding bareback on graceful horses that are portrayed at all gaits as well as performing dressage movements or being "parked up."

Cavalry from the Parthenon Frieze, West II, 2–3, British Museum.

The accounts from the building of the Parthenon were inscribed in stone so they were available to the public. Surviving fragments indicates the budget could have been as much as 800 'talents' - equivalent to 16 million pound today

Converted subsequently into a church, then a mosque, the Parthenon was reduced to a shell by explosion on September 26, 1687 while housing a powder magazine during the Turkish-Venetian war.

Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin took the some of the sculptures, now called the Elgin Marbles, from the Parthenon in 1759. They have been on display in London's British Museum since 1816.

The world's only exact replica of the Parthenon resides in Centennial Park, Nashville and contains the western hemisphere's largest indoor statue.

Today the Parthenon is a World Heritage site.

Europress Family Encyclopedia 1999, Comptons Encyclopedia

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