The Parthenon was a large marble temple for the goddess Athena in the city of Athens overlooking the city and Aegean Sea.Athens was one of many Greek cities and almost all had had an Acropolis. Athens was one of the most powerful city-state and around that time The Parthenon was built.
The Parthenon was a Sacred precinct rather than a Defensive precinct and this building has tremendous influence as not only it became the Symbol of Democracy but also because it has a very unique architectural refinement. The Parthenon was under development around 447-38 B.C.E and was completed around 432 B.C.E. The Parthenon became an important part of culture due to the fact that it was a great achievement in western history even though it is the birthplace of democracy, it was limited at the time but it was still a form of democracy.
The Parthenon is dedicated to Athena as the city of Athens was named after her. There is also a myth about the building, “Two gods vying for the honor of being the patron of this city”, as stated in Parthenon (Acropolis). The gods that the myth is referring to are Poseidon and Athena. Poseidon is the god of the Sea and Athena is the goddess of Wisdom and she is associated with war. Both gods gave a gift to the people of Athens. They had to choose either Poseidon’s gift or Athena’s gift. Poseidon’s gift was saltwater of the sea which is a gift of Naval Superiority while Athena’s gift was an olive tree which symbolized land of prosperity and of peace.The Athens decided to pick Athena’s gift of Prosperity and Peace.
The Parthenon is a Doric Temple which are identifiable from massive columns with shallow broad flutes and the columns go down directly onto the temple floor which is called the stylobate. “The east end, which is the entrance and above it in the sculpture of pediment, is the story of Athena and Poseidon vying to be patrons of the city of Athens. Inside the building was a large sculpture of Athena”, as stated in Parthenon (Acropolis). The Metopes are carved with scenes that showed the Greeks battling various enemies and this is supposed to show their triumphs, proving that Civilization is better than Barbarism.
The Parthenon was not the first temple to Athena, there was an older temple to the right of The Parthenon and this old temple was destroyed when the Persians invaded and that hurt the Atheneans, so they left the ruins of the old temple to remember it but a generation later they decided to remove it because both the Atheneans and Persians were able to establish peace. Pericles, who was the leader of Athens embarked on a large, very expensive building campaign. As stated in Parthenon (Acropolis), “Historians believed that because the Atheneans had become the leaders of the Delian League. The Delian League is an association of Greek city-states that paid a kind of tax to help protect Greece against Persia. Pericles dipped into that treasury and built the Parthenon”. This is important because this tells us how The Parthenon came to be.
The Parthenon was used as a storehouse,treasury which meant that it was full of valuable items and it remained intact until the seventeenth century. As stated in Parthenon (Acropolis), “The early Christians turned the temple into a church and it was probably at this time that the sculptures representing the birth of Athena were removed and many of the metopes were defaced. The temple served as a church until Athens was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in the fifteenth century”. That was when it became a mosque.
In 1687, during the time of the Venetian siege of the Acropolis, the defending Turks used The Parthenon as a storehouse for gunpowder, which ignited from the Venetian bombardment. The explosion blew out the center of the building,destroying the roof and parts of the walls and colonnade. The Venetians were successful in capturing the Acropolis, but only for less than a year when further damage was done in an attempt to remove the sculptures from the west pediment. When the lifting tackle broke and the sculptures fell and shattered. Most of the sculptures that were destroyed in 1687, are now only known from drawings made in 1674, by an artist probably to be identified as Jacques Carrey.