The Parthenon at Athens

Aerial view Acropolis at Athens

The Athenian Acropolis. Photo Raymond V. Schoder S.J

The Temple of Athena was built between about 450 and 432 BC, on the south side of the Acropolis, replacing an earlier structure aborted by the Persian sack of 480/79 BC. It was the centrepiece of Perikles' plans for the reconstruction of Athens' monuments, and its sculpture reflects the building's role as a demonstration of the power and success of Athens. It housed the gold and ivory statue of Athena Parthenos, and a treasury.

Photo of The Parthenon

The Parthenon. Photo: S.Mavrommatis

The Doric building was unusual for its size and plan (an eight column facade instead of the usual six), as well as for the refinement of its mouldings and "optical corrections". The cult statue was set in a double colonnade, and the rear treasury ceiling was supported on Ionic columns. As well as the usual pediment and metope decoration there was a frieze running around the exterior of the entire cella.

Look at casts from the Parthenon
More about the east frieze | west frieze | north frieze | south frieze | east pediment | west pediment | north metopes | south metopes