A unique and Greekshops exclusive handmade Christmas ornament depicting the Parthenon. Comes in a gift box.
The Parthenon (Greek: Παρθενών) is the most famous surviving building of Ancient Greece and one of the most famous buildings in the world. The building has stood atop the Acropolis of Athens for nearly 2,500 years and was built to give thanks to Athena, the city's patron goddess, for the salvation of Athens and Greece in the Persian Wars. The building was officially called the Temple of Athena the Virgin, and its popular name derives from the ancient Greek word παρθένος (parthenos), a young woman.
The Parthenon replaced an older temple which had been destroyed by the Persians. As well as being a temple, the Parthenon was used as a treasury, and was the location of the treasury of the Delian League, which later became the Athenian Empire.
The Parthenon was built at the initiative of Pericles, the leading Athenian politician of the 5th century BC. It was built under the general supervision of the sculptor Phidias, who also had charge of the sculptural decoration. The architects were Iktinos and Kallikrates. Construction began in 447 BC and the building was substantially completed by 438 BC, but work on the decorations continued until at least 433 BC. Some of the financial accounts for the Parthenon survive, and show that the largest single expense was transporting the stone from Mount Pentelicus, about 16 kilometres from Athens, to the Acropolis. The funds were partly drawn from the treasury of the Delian League, which was moved from the Panhellenic sanctuary at Delos to the Acropolis In 454 BC.
Although the nearby Temple of Hephaestus is the most complete surviving example of a Doric order temple, the Parthenon, in its day, was regarded as the finest. The temple, wrote John Julius Norwich, "enjoys the reputation of being the most perfect Doric temple ever built. Even in antiquity, its architectural refinements were legendary, especially the subtle correspondence between the curvature of the stylobate, the taper of the naos walls and the entasis of the columns." The stylobate is the platform on which the columns stand. It curves upwards slightly for optical reasons. Entasis refers to the slight swelling of the columns as they rise, to counter the optical effect of looking up the temple. The effect of these subtle curves is to make the temple look even more symmetrical than it actually is.
Measured at the top step, the dimensions of the base of the Parthenon are 30.9 metres by 69.5 metres. The cella was 29.8 metres long by 19.2 metres wide, with internal Doric colonnades in two tiers, structurally necessary to support the roof. On the exterior, the Doric columns measure 1.9 metres in diameter and are 10.4 metres high. The corner columns are slightly larger in diameter. The stylobate has an upward curvature towards its centre of 60 millimetres on the east and west ends, and of 110 millimetres on the sides.
The Parthenon was elaborately decorated with marble sculptures both internally and externally. These survive only in part, but there are good descriptions of most of those parts that have been lost. On the eastern pediment (the triangular area above the columns on the "front" and "back" of the temple) was a depiction of the birth of Athena. The western pediment showed Athena's battle with Poseidon for possession of the land of Attica. Metopes ran along the outer frieze of all four sides of the temple, above the lines of columns and below the pediments. These showed, on the southern side the battle of the Lapiths and the Centaurs, on the east the battle of the gods and the giants, and on the west the battle of the Greeks and the Amazons. It is not known what was depicted on the northern side: it may have been scenes from the Trojan War.
Internally, the cella was lined on three sides with a frieze showing the great procession of the Panathenaia, the main annual festival honouring Athena. On the fourth, eastern, side was a frieze showing all the gods of the Greek pantheon.
Although the pure white marble of surviving Ancient Greek temples appeals to the modern aesthetic, the Parthenon, like all ancient buildings, was at least partly painted, though scholars dispute the extent and the colour scheme. It is known that the internal ceilings were painted a deep blue, and that the statuary groups on the pediments were painted in bright colours. Some scholars believe that the upper parts of the Parthenon were painted bright red and blue, so that the sculptures would stand out in greater relief when seen from below.