The Parthenon, one of the world's most famous structures, may be seen on the Athenian Acropolis. This temple was constructed in honor of the goddess Athena. It was ornately ornamented with statues that represented the finest achievements of Greek painters. The building served as both a religious sanctuary and as a theater where plays were performed for the entertainment of the people.
The architect was Ictinus, who also designed the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. The sculptor was Phidias, who worked on the statue of Athena Parthenos (Virgin Athena). The gold and ivory decoration was made in Egypt. The building was burned down in 426 B.C. during the invasion of Athens by Sparta but was later rebuilt.
This title was originally given to Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war. It was only after her marriage to Poseidon, the god of the sea, that she became known as Parthenos instead. The original building on the site was probably a wooden structure built around 456 B.C. by the Argives, an ancient tribe living in northern Greece.
Parthenon The Parthenon is a temple that tops the Acropolis hill in Athens. It was dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena Parthenos in the mid-5th century BC ("Athena the Virgin"). The word "parthenon" is derived from parthe, meaning virgin.
The construction of the Parthenon was completed in 447 BC. It replaced an earlier structure by the same architect, Pericles, who had made plans for it while serving as leader of Athens during the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC). The new building was consecrated in 432 BC. In 400 BC, after many years of use, it was badly damaged in a fire that may have been set by the Persians but which many attribute to Apollo removing his altar there because he felt that Athena should be given more prominence over him. Work on the building was not finished until about 330 BC, after which time only its decorative features were added.
The design and decoration of the Parthenon reflect the influence of Egypt and especially the Nile River valley. It is built of Pentelic marble, with ivory from the elephant tusk used for its doors and windows. On its exterior are sculptured metopes: ornamental blocks of stone with images carved into them. These were originally painted red, white and black, but now are mostly yellow or brown.
It was a city full with lovely public buildings, shops, and public baths. Athenians resided under the Acropolis (a rocky hill). The marble Parthenon, a temple (seen above), was constructed on the highest point of the Acropolis. A magnificent gold and ivory statue of Athena stood inside the Parthenon. The Erechtheion (another famous temple on the Acropolis) was built of silver and gold coins donated by individuals all over Greece.
Athens was the center of the Ancient Greek world and many important events took place there: the Battle of Marathon, the Plague of Athens, the Peloponnesian War, etc.
The city was destroyed by the Persians in 480 B.C. but was rebuilt within a few years. It fell to Alexander the Great in 338 B.C., after which it became part of Macedon. In 296 B.C., it was taken by the Antigonids after whom it is named. In 229 B.C., it was given in exile to Cleomenes III of Sparta who killed his predecessor Leonidas I. In 196 B.C., Athens was taken by the Romans after they defeated the last Spartan king at Cynoscephalae. In 146 B.C., it was given to Corinth as a reward for aiding Rome against Perseus of Macedonia. In 115 B.C., it became a Roman colony.