​The Parthenon: Worthy Enough for a God?
By: Carina
Would you be able to create a massive temple worthy enough for a god? Then how did the Ancient Greeks get it done when they created the Parthenon? Much went into creating the temple, including a purpose for building it, knowing about the god they constructed it for, resources for the temple, the labor of the architects, and what activities will occur at the temple. pic.jpg
One of the most famous and tallest temples left in Ancient Greeceis the Parthenon. It was built in Athens, Greece, a tremendously long time ago. Although it is extremely aged and has been damaged quite a bit, the Parthenon remains a beautiful, popular tourist attraction. The temple was said to have started construction around 447 B.C, and was completely finished in 432 B.C, over 2,500 years ago. The architects were called Iktinos and Kallikrates, who were in charge of the building of the temple. The sculptor’s name was Pheidias, who created a massive sculpture, which the temple was built for in the first place (Hayes).
Because the Greeks did all of their worshipping out in the open, we know they did not build temples specifically to worship the gods. So why, exactly, did they build the Parthenon? The answer is that the temple was constructed to house a 40-foot-tall statue of the virgin, Greek goddess, Athena. Located on a hill of the Athenian Acropolis, the temple stands about 111 feet tall, and was initially named Temple of Athena the Virgin. “Parthenos” was the Greek word for virgin, thus becoming the “Parthenon”. Also, it was built to replace an older temple that had been demolished during the Persian invasion in 480 B.C, and it soon became the most significant temple to the Greeks (Beard), (Silverman).greece.jpg
Athena was a significant Greek goddess, so there is no wonder why the Greeks would build a monumental temple in her honor. Out of the twelve Olympian gods, she was one of the most prominent, known as the goddess of warfare, wisdom, and crafts. Also, relied on as being the city’s protector, the Greeks named the capital city after her as “Athens”. A popular Greek myth states that she later became patron of the city, in a contest against the god of the sea, Poseidon. The Greek citizens convinced Athena and Poseidon to each provide a gift to their city, and whoever’s gift was superior would become patron. Poseidon first struck a rock on the Acropolis, creating a saltwater spring. Then, Athena simply touched the Acropolis and out grew an elegant olive tree, and she was elected the city’s patron. For all of Athena’s wisdom and protection given to the Greeks, it was the least they could do to build her a stunning sanctuary (Wickersham) (Hayes).
Much went into creating the colossal temple that is known today as the Parthenon. First of all, the two architects, known as Iktinos and Kallikrates, needed to construct a plan. They decided to compose a Doric temple, which meant the columns as well as the positioning were Doric. The columns were constructed of Pentelic marble, and the foundations were made of limestone. Also, the sculptor, Pheidias, used pure gold and ivory for the vast sculpture of Athena, to which the sanctuary was created for in the first place. Overall, the entire temple’s cost was 469 silver talents and was made of exactly 13,400 stones (“The Parthenon”).
Whether it was long ago in 432 B.C or in the year 2000, people marveled and still marvel over the spectacular temple that is the Parthenon. Long ago, it was supplied by the Greeks only as a gift to Athena, and was not meant for the citizens to go in. Today, it serves as a popular tourist attraction in Athens, Greece on the Athens Acropolis, where about seven million people witness the beauty of the temple for themselves. Most of the dazzling sculptures from the Parthenon are located in the Acropolis museum today, while others remain in the British Museum, Louvre and in Copenhagen (Hayes).
The Parthenon has been around for more than 2,500 years, and clearly much effort, time, and resources have gone into the building process. There is no wonder why it was one of the greatest temples of the Ancient Greek times, and is still regularly visited by people today.


Works Cited

Beard, Mary. "Commentary." EBSCO Host. 19 Nov. 2009. Web. 7 Dec. 2009. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=12&hid=5&sid=d67728b0-0369-40a3-91a6-db04025fa373%40sessionmgr4&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=nfh&AN=7EH29750367>

"The Parthenon." Ed. David Silverman. Web. 5 Dec. 2009. <
http://academic.reed.edu/humanities/110Tech/Parthenon.html>

"The Parthenon." Web. 5 Dec. 2009. <http://www.ancient-greece.org/architecture/parthenon.html>.


Hayes, Holly. "Parthenon, Athens." Sacred Destinations. Web. 5 Dec. 2009. <http://www.sacred-destinations.com/greece/athens-parthenon>.

"Athena." Myths and Legends of the World. Ed. John M. Wickersham. New York: Macmillan, 2000. Student Resource Center - Bronze. Web. 12 Dec. 2009. <http://find.galegroup.com/gps/start.do?prodId=IPS&userGroupName=lejar_acad>.