Wow this is a nice day to be out in the agora wondering around the market places. I love walking past the Parthenon, you know this is the proudest building we Greeks ever built. If one-structure sums up our history and our superiority in architecture it’s this building. These might have been some of the thoughts that ran through the mind of the Greeks during this time period. The one thing that gave the Athenians great pleasure was the temple they built, which was also a cause of envy and amazement. The Greeks enemy was even quoted saying, ” the Greeks must be outraged,” they cried. “They must consider this an act of bare-faced tyranny, when they see that with their own contributions, extorted from them by force for the war against the Persian, we are gilding and beautifying our city, as if it were some vain women decking herself out with costly stones and thousand talent temples.” “Pericles’ answer to the people was that the Athenians were not obliged to give the allies an account if how their money was spent, provided that they carried in the war and kept the Persians away. ” All they supply is money,” he told the Athenians, ” and this belongs not to the people who give but to those who receive it, so long as they provide he services paid for.” This is a good example of how the Greeks felt about themselves and their temples. The Paratheon is the best example of Greek’s history and their architectural abilities.
The Greek temple, Parthenon, was like most it had a three-step platform. The columns enclosed an oblong interior chamber known as the naos. On the Front was a main room called the cella. At the west was a smaller chamber called the opisthodomus, meaning back room. The Parthenon combined two different styles of temple design, the Doric and the Ionic, which is the most important element of the Parthenon. The bulk of the Parthenon was designed in the Doric style, but the Ionic style was also used in variety parts of the temple. We get a good idea of these two different designs by looking at the naos of the Parthenon, which incorporates features of both Doric and Ionic modes. A pair of colonnades divides the cella at the east in three aisles. Wood beams support the inner part of the columns, which extend to the roof. The colonnades were double stacked upon each other; this format was necessary because the height of a column was determined by its width. In the west room (opisthodomus) a different mode was used. The architects used four columns instead of a continuous colonnade. The columns in the back room rose from the base and used the more elaborate capitals of the Ionic order. The Parthenon was constructed completely out of marble instead of the traditional limestone.
The sculptural part of the Parthenon incorporates some peculiar features of Ionic temple design, such as the frieze running around the naos. The sculptures of the Parthenon were not at eye level, but at three specific locations. On the outside of the temple under the roofline were some stone blocks, known as the metopes, which all had carvings of figurative scenes. The second areas were triangles below the peak of the roof, just above the alternating metopes and triglyphs. The third and last sculpture decorations on the Parthenon were a meter high frieze located just below the ceiling on the exterior of all four walls of the naos. You can see the remaining frieze in the Museum of London. Which were taken by Elgin without the permission of the Turks.
The history of the Greeks can be studied by looking at the sculptures on the Parthenon. The thirty-fourth metopes of the north side portrayed the Trojan War. The twelfth metopes on the west depicts the Greeks fighting the amazons, on the opposite side depicts the battle of the Olympian gods. The south flank of the metopes is a depiction of the battle scenes between Lapiths and the Centaurs. The first relief sculpture is on the frieze on the exterior wall of the naos. The frieze on the Parthenon is an attempt to fuse this mainland Doric temple to the Ionic design of Asia Minor. The frieze also depicts the people of Athens instead of the gods.
The Parthenon is one of the best known structures in the world. Most people would love to see the Parthenon; but would they really know what they were looking at, I think not. The Parthenon is not just a building that survived many wars and people’s depredation; the Parthenon is a depiction of the Greek’s culture and architectural skills. This is a look into the soul of a great culture that lived hundreds of years ago.