by: Maddie Mitchell
The Parthenon of Athens, Greece is one of the most famous Greek temples in history. Sitting on top of the Athenian Acropolis, the Parthenon overlooks the rest of the ancient city. The building was made to represent the patron of Athens, the goddess Athena, who exemplified wisdom and war. Construction on the Parthenon first began in 447 BC and was finished in 432 BC. Today it still stands, although in ruins. Though the Parthenon is over two thousand years old, it still influences modern life by its style of architecture, how it inspires pride in Greek ideas and heritage, and how it enables the knowledge of Greek history.
Many years ago, during the Age of Pericles, a plan to replace the damaged buildings of the Acropolis arose. After the Persian war, and their attacks on Athens in 480 BC, it left the Greek city badly damaged. When Athens won the war, they were left with much treasury. The Parthenon was built with the help of these riches by the architects Iktinos and Kallikrates. To honor their patron, the Athenians placed a grand statue of Athena inside the Parthenon. Though the statue is lost to this day, it is known from copies, paintings, literary descriptions, and coins. The massive statue is considered one of the greatest works of the sculptor Pheidias. The new building was to represent the success and honor of the Athenian people. Through all the years, there has been much looting, attacks, and pollution damage, but the Parthenon is still the main site of the Acropolis.
The Parthenon inspires pride in Greek ideas and heritage in different ways. For one, it stands as a reminder of how the Greeks have been civilized for so long. The ancient civilization believed that they much more advanced in their ideas and achievements than others. They knew that their ideas, cultural and political, would impact the history of all civilized people. Descendants can take pride in coming from such an impressive culture. Another way the Parthenon inspires people is by curiosity and tourism. Millions of tourists travel to Athens each year to see the ancient temple. In Nashville, Tennessee, there is a complete replica of the Parthenon with the Athena statue inside. It was constructed in 1897, and serves as a museum in the Centennial Park. The Parthenon still inspires in prideful, inquisitive, and artistic ways.
The Parthenon has influenced modern architecture in different manners. It’s style of architecture is called Doric, meaning the columns of the building are plain, sturdy, and cylindrical shaped. There are also vertical lines engraved all around the column, and it is topped with a flat plain square. Since ancient Greek life was mostly dominated by religion and politics, their temples and political buildings had the most detail and beauty. They had one of the earliest architectural types, so the ancient Greeks had a big impact on what is known as Classical architecture today. Many of America’s government buildings have columns similar to the Parthenon and other Greek structures, such as the White House and the Capital Building. The structures look similar when it comes to material as well, being made in marble. Lastly, the metopes and friezes of modern buildings are sometimes heavily decorated, like that of the Parthenon’s. The aesthetic of the Parthenon has provided centuries of modern western architecture.
Though in ruins, the Parthenon is still the focus of the Acropolis building complex. Throughout its past, it has suffered much damage, but it still reigns as one of the most important and influential structures in Greek history. From the Parthenon’s past, to its inducement of pride, or to its style of architecture, it will always have an impact on people who have the time to see it. “The Parthenon, one of the most visited archaeological sites in Greece, is regarded as an enduring symbol of ancient Greece and of Athenian democracy, and is one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments.” (newworldencyclopedia.org) The Parthenon will continue to influence the present, as long as we appreciate its past.
"Parthenon." - New World Encyclopedia. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.
Cartwright, Mark. "Parthenon." Ancient History Encyclopedia. 28 Oct. 2012. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.
"The Parthenon." Parthenon. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.