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The Parthenon

The information about The Parthenon, the temple of Athena

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  • John
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    The Parthenon (Greek: Παρθενών) is a temple of the Greek goddess Athena built in the 5th century BC on the Acropolis of Athens. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered to be the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered one of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon, one of the most visited archaeological sites in Greece today,[1] is regarded as an enduring symbol of ancient Greece and of Athenian democracy, and is one of the world's greatest cultural monuments. The Greek Ministry of Culture is currently carrying out a program of restoration and reconstruction.[2]

    The Parthenon replaced an older temple of Athena, called the Pre-Parthenon or Older Parthenon, that was destroyed in the Persian invasion of 480 BC. Like most Greek temples, the Parthenon was used as a treasury, and for a time served as the treasury of the Delian League, Also which later became the Athenian Empire. In the 6th century AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin. After the Ottoman conquest, it was converted into a mosque in the early 1460s. On September 28, 1687, an Ottoman ammunition dump inside the building was ignited by Venetian bombardment. The resulting explosion severely damaged the Parthenon and its sculptures. In 1806, Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin removed some of the surviving sculptures, with Ottoman permission. These sculptures, now known as the Elgin or Parthenon Marbles, were sold in 1816 to the British Museum in London, where they are now displayed. The Greek government is committed to the return of the sculptures to Greece, so far with no success.

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    The Parthenon seen from the hill of the Pnyx to the west.

    [edit] Design and construction

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    Floor plan of the Parthenon

    The first endeavour to build a sanctuary for Athena Parthenos on the site of the present Parthenon was begun shortly after the battle of Marathon (c. 490-88 BC) upon a massive limestone foundation that extended and leveled the southern part of the Akropolis summit. This building replaced a hekatompedon (meaning "hundred-footer") and would have stood beside the archaic temple dedicated to Athena Polias. The Older or Pre-Parthenon, as it is frequently referred to, was still under construction when the Persians sacked the city in 480 BC and razed the Acropolis.[3]

    In the mid-5th century BC, when the Acropolis became the seat of the Delian League and Athens was the greatest cultural centre of its time, Pericles initiated an ambitious building project which lasted the entire second half of the fifth century BC. The most important buildings visible on the Acropolis today - that is, the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike, were erected during this period. Parthenon was built under the general supervision of the sculptor Phidias, who also had charge of the sculptural decoration. The architects, Iktinos and Kallikrates, began in 447 BC, and the building was substantially completed by 432, but work on the decorations continued until at least 431. Some of the financial accounts for the Parthenon survive and show that the largest single expense was transporting the stone from Mount Pentelicus, about 16 kilometers from Athens, to the Acropolis. The funds were partly drawn from the treasury of the Delian League, which was moved from the Panhellenic sanctuary at Delos to the Acropolis in 454 BC.

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