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History of the Parthenon and its Barrier Breaking Architecture - Essay Example

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The History of the Parthenon and its barrier breaking architecture "Earth proudly wears the Parthenon as the best gem upon her zone" Ralph Waldo Emerson Introduction The Parthenon or ? in ancient Greek is a Doric temple built on the Athenian Acropolis in Greece as a place of worship for goddess Athena who was regarded as a patron by the people of Athens…
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History of the Parthenon and its Barrier Breaking Architecture
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Download file to see previous pages The building was designed by architects IKtinos and Kallikrates who included various sculptural decorations - both within and outside the temple thus making it the face of Athens. The elaborate designing of the monument is characterized by the use of coherence and harmony based on the foundation of mathematical calculations i.e. a ratio of 9: 4 where the length of the building was more than twice that of its width and the distance between the columns was more than twice their diameter (Belozerskaya and Lapatin 72). Figure 2: Plan of the Parthenon, 447 BC – 432 BC Source: Pedley, 2005: pp. 69 The 9:4 ratio used during construction was applied for plan i.e. length: width as well as for elevation. The key architectural style used was that commonly found in the construction of Doric temples which is indicated by the formula used for total number of columns i.e. eight peristyle columns on the front and back and seventeen columns (2x + 1) on the flank (Pedley 69). Due to its unique architectural design the Parthenon is unanimously acknowledged as a symbol of Greek democracy as well as one of the greatest cultural monuments in the world. Brief historical background: The Parthenon is believed to be built on huge platform similar in size to the new Parthenon as indicated by the large scale excavations carried out on the site, thus indicating that a similar building was sought to be constructed by the ancient Greeks on the same scale as the Parthenon. The pre-Parthenon or the older building which was believed to be destroyed by during the Persian invasion in 480 BC were found to have used marble columns drums which were destroyed by fire due to the pressure. These marble column drums were later re-used in the construction of the new Parthenon in the north wall of the Acropolis as a symbol of the great Greek sacrifice and loss endured by them. Similarly various other previously destroyed artifacts found as a part of excavation were used in the construction of the new Parthenon (Beard 103). Figure 3: The Parthenon View from the north west, 447 - 432 BC Source: Pedley, 2005: pp. 68 One of the key features of the Parthenon is that it has been built out of recycled materials. Researchers have found evidence regarding the re-use of old materials based on the existence of a small temple (naiskos) located at the Parthenon's north colonnade, in the area between the fifth and eight columns from the east side of the temple (see figure 4). It was believed that the shrine found on the location existed long before the Parthenon was built and that it could be a part of the older Parthenon (Neils 27). Historians have argued that contrary to the popular belief that the new Parthenon was built as a dedication to the patron goddess Athena, the temple was built as an anathema - "a votive offering, not in the honor of Athena but of her glory- seeking, democratic, imperial city". It was believed to uphold the democratic ideals of the Athenians and hence was dedicated by the people to the people (Hurwit 166). The Parthenon was destroyed by the Turkish forces after a long siege resulting in conversion of the temple into a mosque. The Ottoman Turks completely transformed the Parthenon into a mosque by whitewashing the walls to cover the Christian frescoes; blocking the windows and the converting the Christian watch tower into a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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