The Parthenon is a temple that stands atop the Acropolis hill in Athens. It was dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena Parthenos and constructed in the mid-5th century BC ("Athena the Virgin"). The building is best known for its magnificent carved pediment, which depicts the Battle of Marathon between the Greeks and the invading army of the Persian king Xerxes. The sculpture is actually made up of four separate pieces that were removed from the original structure and brought here.
In classical Greece, the word "acropolis" meant "highest point" or "top of the rock". In modern usage, it refers to the raised area of a city's central park or plaza that is usually occupied by government offices, museums, libraries, and other institutions. The term can also be applied to similar elevated places such as the Capitoline Hill in Rome, the Citadel in Jerusalem, or Taipei City Hall in Taiwan.
In ancient Greece, the acropolis was a fortified site protectable by human labor alone; therefore, no cannon were used to defend it. Instead, soldiers on the battlements shot arrows at approaching enemies. To prevent this kind of defense from being overrun by more numerous forces, cities often had several layers of defensive walls and towers. The acropolis was protected by two lines of defense: an outer wall and an inner sanctum.
The Athens Acropolis The Parthenon is a magnificent marble temple erected during the height of the Greek Empire between 447 and 432 B.C. The Parthenon, dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, stands high atop the Acropolis of Athens, a complex of temples. It was built as the main temple to house the Athenian treasury and other important documents. The structure uses Pentelic marble and measures 43 meters long by 22 meters wide.
The building sits on a base of limestone with a pavement of marble in its interior. Above the entrance door are carved symbols representing Earth, Wind, and Water. Inside are large numbers of statues, some of which were removed from the Erechtheion, another temple on the Acropolis. They include figures of Nike (Hope), Pallas Athene (Athenea: "Unconquerable"), Hephaestus (God of Metals), and Ares (War). There are also fragments of paintings on the walls dating from about 450 B.C. One of these pictures shows the Battle of Marathon where Greeks defeated an invasion by the Persians. Another picture shows King Theseus killing the Minotaur, a monster born of a human mother and a bull. Finally, there's a picture of Ariadne, who abandoned Theseus after he deserted her on the island of Naxos. Heartbroken, she followed him into death when he was killed by the Minotaur.
The Parthenon (/'pa: [email protected], nan, [email protected]/; Ancient Greek: Parthenon, Parthenon, [par.the.no: n]; Greek: Parthenonas, Parthenonas, [parthe' nonas]) is an ancient temple devoted to the goddess Athena, whom the Athenians regarded their patroness. The building was completed in 447 BC by Pericles, who had planned to dedicate it himself but died before he could do so. It was burned down by the Persians in 480 BC but was rebuilt within eight years.
Athena was the goddess of wisdom and warfare. She appeared first as a young woman with a spear and a helmet to encourage the people of Athens to fight against the invading forces of Sparta. As she grew older, she became associated with other aspects of wisdom such as craftsmanship and strategy, and was often depicted wearing a robe and necklace designed by Hephaestus, her father. In some versions of the story, it is Athena who creates Pandora from Earth's elements to give to Prometheus as a gift. Once given human form, Pandora opened the first of her six jars, releasing all the evils that plague mankind. Zeus, angry at Prometheus for giving man fire, punished him by making him live out eternity in the body of a ravening wild animal. It is Athena who finally restores Prometheus's humanity after she has fallen in love with him.
Athena was usually represented as a beautiful young woman with a spear and a winged helmet.