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The Parthenon in Athens and the Pantheon in Rome - Essay Example

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This paper is aimed at providing a comparative study of the Parthenon and the Acropolis in Athens and the Pantheon and Colosseum in Rome. The idea of this research emerged from the author’s interest and fascination in how each represents its period and culture…
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The Parthenon in Athens and the Pantheon in Rome
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Download file to see previous pages This research will begin with the statement that in comparing the Greek and Roman cultures one must first study a brief history of the cultures surrounding the cities in which these magnificent buildings were first built. Athens began as a great limestone rock, a holy or sacred place rising to the Attica plateau. The Acropolis as it is called means in Greek, “the highest point of the town.” Many ancient cities were built on principles of height as a fortress for protection; however, the Acropolis has special meaning as a sacred place for an emerging Greek dynasty. The great limestone rock measures from the basin to 70 meters and levels out at the top at 300 meters long and 150 meters wide. The top has become very flat due to many landfills over the course of history which allowed construction of its temples and buildings. The Acropolis was a prime location for habitation and worship due to its shallow caves and underground water springs. Its steep slopes were also a great source of protection during an unstable time in history. A deep well dug at the north end of the rock was very useful to the defenders during a long siege. It provided an almost endless underground water supply. The Acropolis functioned also as a residence for royalty, a place to worship for the Goddess of fertility and nature, and her male companion God Erechtheus. The Acropolis hill is sometimes called the “sacred rock” of Athens and is seen as holding the most important sites of the city and secrets of the ancient Greek culture. This sacred rock is the beginning of some of the architectural masterpieces of Greek history and culture. Relics of offerings made to the Goddess Athena in marble, korai, bronze and clay date back to the Archaic period around 650-480 B.C.).
The Parthenon:
The Parthenon was built on the site of other cultures that came before them. It was considered a sacred place. The purpose of the Parthenon was to cement the temples of earlier cultures as well as experience and praise the Greek goddess Athena. The name Parthenon refers to the worship of the goddess who is the patroness of the city of Athens. Mythology has it that she was born fully-grown out of the head of her father Zeus. This reverts back to the Greek belief that she represented the greater order of spiritual development with the gifts of intellect and understanding. She is seen as a symbol to the human aspect of wisdom.
Two architects, Ictinus and Callicrates, supervised by the sculptor, Phidias, built the Parthenon. Considered a temple, the Parthenon was built according to the Doric order of architecture, the simplest of classical Greek architectural styles. It represented simplicity along with power; built to precise dimensions using mathematical ratios of sacred geometry. The building is rectangular and measured 101.34 feet wide by 228.14 feet long from the top of its

base. When new it was constructed of white marble, 46 columns, and tile roofing. It contained a nearly 40 foot tall statue of the goddess Athena. The statue was constructed of wood, gold and ivory. Athens most significant and prosperous time in history was the 5th century BC under the reign of Pericles. During this time the Greeks developed a constitution that gave all citizens the right to participate in the governing of the state. Democracy was the most significant achievement of the early Greeks. Considered the Golden Age of Athens, the Parthenon was built when arts, philosophy and drama were at their highest point. Unfortunately, the Peloponnesian War with Athenians and Sparta ended development. The building has been damaged over past centuries by looters, modern day automobile exhausts, industrial pollution and acid rain. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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