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Parthenon in Athens Essay

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Updated: Jul 18th, 2018

Parthenon was an ancient place of worship that was built in 438BCE on the acropolis of Athens by Phidias, who was a renowned sculpture. It was built as a dwelling place for the goddess known as Athena who was perceived to be the administrator of Athens.

Although the state of its structure has deteriorated there are still remains of what it used to be such as columns and roofing. It is easy to spot the temple in acropolis because it was built on a higher ground. The temple was later damaged during the battles that took place between Greece and her enemies.

Whitley explains that the temple was used as a place of worship by ancient inhabitants of Athens. This was evidenced by the marbles that were collected from the temple soon after the battles were over (35). Among the most important artifacts of the temple included the sculpture of the goddess Athena which had a very unique finish because it was composed of ivory.

The statue was later stolen by a roman emperor who took it with him to modern Istanbul but after a few years it was damaged during numerous battles that were experienced between the Roman Empire and her enemies that were aimed at forcing her neighbors to convert to Christianity.

In the years that followed acropolis was invaded by Ottoman who later used the temple as an Islamic place of worship and also as a store for keeping weapons. In September 1687 a shell busted which made the entire roof to cave in .The intensity of its smash up was so deep such that it could not be rebuilt.

The damage of the temple made some people to steal the artifacts that used to be housed in the temple. The early visitors to Athens included the ambassador of Britain who requested the Athens authorities to allow him to gather the artifacts of the temple. The ambassador assembled artifacts from the scene of the temple’s destruction and also bought some from the locals of Athens and later moved them to his country where they were and still are exhibited in the museum of London.

To this date Greece still insists that those artifacts should be returned to her but this has not gone down well with London because it does not wish to comply with the orders from Greece. The art in this temple reflects on the culture of Greece which is based on conflicting ideologies that are presented evenly. They include principles of light and darkness among many others.

According to Neils, the columns of the temple appear to be bending at the middle perhaps due to the stress exerted by the roof. They are well spaced from each other to allow the light to penetrate (63). Different points of view illustrate the evenness between light and darkness. There are no straight lines in the structure of the temple because the entire lines look distorted.

The temple is used to display the skills of ancient artists in the ancient days. The finishing of the temple is rough because one can still see the marks that the masons chisel made as he tried to dress the stones to create a uniform shape. The temple could have lasted longer were it not for the battles and the changes in climate that has led to erosion of its surface.

The walls of this temple look so bare but one can not tell whether its plaster was eroded by weather or was simply was not there. The columns of this temple appear to have been erected on the stylobate. The columns are of the same length and they tend to protrude outwards to shield the verandah from rain water.

The construction of Parthenon is said to have taken the longest duration due to the time taken to avail the building materials because they were not within close proximity to the temple hence more time was spent in ferrying the materials. Actually the decorations that are seen on its walls were done much later after the construction of the temple had been fully completed

The panes of this temple were chiseled in high relief which was common in a majority of such buildings during ancient days. They were perfectly mounted onto the outside of the walls and they were used as decorations as well as mediums of illustrating the confrontations that took place among the gods.

The temple also served as a bank because there was a designated room that was meant for storing money. Frieze was used to decorate the exterior walls of the temple and also illustrate the rituals that were practiced by the ancient inhabitants of Greece.

The east panel employs sculptures that illustrate how the goddess of Athens came into existence. The panels indicate that Athena was fathered by another god called Zeus. Athena is said to have been conceived in the head of his father Zeus and when his time was due for delivery he experienced a sharp headache on his head. He therefore instructed other gods to hit his head which caused his head to disintegrate and Athena was extracted from his head during this process.

The western panels illustrate the struggle for supremacy that revolved around Athena and Poseidon because each of them wanted to be recognized. The panels are no longer present because they were eroded by weather.

Works Cited

Neils, Jennifer. The Parthenon: From Antiquity to the Present. Ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Print.

Whitley, James. “The Archaeology of Democracy: Classical Athens.” The Archaeological of Ancient Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2018) 'Parthenon in Athens'. 18 July.

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