Topics: Ancient Greece, Parthenon, Athena Pages: 5 (1933 words) Published: June 20, 2013
Take a second to think about all the buildings you encounter on a daily basis. Whether it is a school, office or a historical monument, most likely, the last thing on your mind is the purpose or history of the building. The average person may not pay very close attention to the reasoning of a building; who built it, why they build it, or maybe even who/what it is dedicated to. The truth is, almost every respectable building has its own individual story. In the ancient Greek city of Athens, the Parthenon was built in respect to the growing community and a strong democratic society. Not only did it symbolize equality “The Parthenon was a creation of a free democracy, initiated, controlled, and approved by popular assembly and its judicial organs” (Bruno 111). Just a single building had such a tremendous influence on the entire city. Through design, social atmosphere and government, the Parthenon demonstrates characteristics of a free democratic civilization. The Parthenon was first built between year 447 BC and 432 BC by Greek architects Ictinos and Callicrates, while designed and supervised by Phidias, a famous sculptor. The large monument measures about 111 feet by 228 feet and its tall parallel columns tower over the city of Athens, Greece. It was built on top of a hill called the Acropolis, which had been the original site for early kings of Athens and a place to go and worship. After being built, the building was not only used for religious practices but political usage as well. The Parthenon symbolized Athenian wealth and power and was dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena. After the Persian invasion destroyed these temples in 480 BC, it was ordered by the Athenian leader Pericles to construct the current standing temple of Athena. Athena is known for the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, law and justice, civilization, strength, and strategy. It was believed that she helped the Greeks conquer the Persian Empire, thus a statue of Athena made of gold and ivory stands twelve meters tall inside of the Parthenon. The Persian wars were fought between the Greeks, who wanted democratic freedom versus a ruthless mighty empire, the Persians, who wanted ultimate control. The first Persian war was sparked by Athens and Sparta’s refusal of submission to the reigning King Darius I. Due to refusal, The Persians wanted to teach the Greeks a lesson about ignoring orders. King Darius took his army to battle the Greeks at marathon. After Athens defeated the Persians they sent a messenger to tell the good news hence how the race, Marathon, received its name. The second Persian war was due to a new king, Xeres the Great, rekindling old flames. He felt he could defeat the Athenian people. When the war broke out again, the Spartans helped the Athenians and won the war. The building mirrored the development of the Doric order; one of three classical Greek architectural styles. Doric order indicates that the building consists of a rectangular floor with a series of low steps on each side. There are two interior rooms. The first, called the Naos, is where the Greek goddess Athena had been placed. The smaller room, called the opsthodomos, was used as a treasury. The Parthenon combined two of the three Greek architectural styles: The Doric and Ionic orders. Four Ionic columns support the smaller of the two interior rooms. The metopes, a square space between triglyphs in a Doric frieze, all represented different scenarios of the struggle between forces of order and justice on one side and criminal chaos on the other. Different depictions of battles were shown in each. On the west side, the mythical battle of the Amazons is shown. On the south side, a battle between Lapiths and the Centaurs. On the east side, the battle between gods and giants is shown and on the north side, the Greeks versus the Trojans. Next, the Parthenon has Sculptures located above the triangular space where the triglyphs and metopes are. These statues also told...

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Rhodes, P. J. Athenian Democracy. New York: Oxford UP, 2004. Print.
Meiss, Pierre Von. Elements of Architecture: From Form to Place. London: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1990. Print.
Bruno, Vincent J. The Parthenon,. New York: Norton, 1974. Print.
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