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PARTHENON
Form: Greek.
"The maiden's chamber," particularly a temple of Athene Parthenos (the virgin goddess), especially that on the Acropolis of Athens, distinguished by the grandeur of its dimensions, the beauty of its execution, and the splendour of its artistic adornment. [There was an earlier temple of Athene immediately to the south of the Erechtheum (see plan of ACROPOLIS), and the foundations of a new temple were laid after the Persian War, probably in the time of Cimon. This temple was never completed; on the same site there was built a temple of less length, but greater breadth, which is usually called the Parthenon.] It was built at the command of Pericles by the architects Ictinus and Callicrates. It took about five years in building, and was finished in 438 B.C. (fig. 1). Its further adornment with sculptures in the pediments, and with metopes and frieze was completed under the direction of Phidias, who himself took part in the work. The temple, built wholly of Pentelic marble, is 65 feet high. The stylobate, or platform, on which the columns stand (fig. 2, C), is 228 feet in length, and 101 feet in breadth [= 225 x 100 in Attic feet, giving 9 : 4 as the ratio of length to breadth]. Under the stylobate is the crepidoma, or basis proper, formed of three steps (fig. 2, B B B) resting on a massive substructure, 250 feet long and 105 feet broad, and founded on the rock at the highest part of the plateau of the Acropolis (fig. 2, C). The temple is peripteral, its walls being entirely surrounded by a colonnade of forty-six Doric columns, about 35 feet high, eight at each end, and fifteen on each side. The architrave from the first was adorned with 92 metopes sculptured in high relief (see, for the position of the metopes, fig. 2, G). Shields and votive inscriptions were subsequently placed there by Alexander the Great, in 338 B.C. [Plut.,Alex. 16]. The subjects were: on the E. the battle of the gods and giants; on the S., that of the Centaurs and Lapithae (fig. 3); on the W., the victory of the Athenians over the Amazons; and on the N., the destruction of Troy. The sculptures of the eastern pediment (D) represented the birth of the goddess, those of the western the strife of Athene with Poseidon for the possession of Attica. These pediments are 93 feet long, and 11 feet 4 inches high. The cella, or temple proper, is 194 feet long, and 69 1/2 feet wide, with six columns at each end, 33 feet in height. Opposite the outermost columns at each end are antoe, formed by the prolongation of the side walls of the cella (see plan of ACROPOLIS). Along the top of the outer wall of the cella ran a continuous frieze, 524 feet in length, with representations of the Panathenaic procession carved in very low relief (fig. 2, F, and figs. 4 and 5). At the east end of the cella, the pronaos, or portico, leads into the eastern chamber, which was 100 Greek feet in length, and was therefore called the hecatompedos. It was divided longitudinally into three parts by two rows of nine columns each, and above these was a second row of columns forming an upper story. The central space was open to the sky (hypaethral). At its western end, under a protecting canopy, stood the statue of the goddess, wrought in gold and ivory, the masterpiece of Phidias (cp. ATHENE, near the end). The western chamber of the cella was fronted by a portico, and was called by the special name of the Parthenon. [Within this smaller chamber were kept vessels for use in the sacred processions, with various small articles of gold or, silver. Modern writers have hitherto generally identified this small chamber with the opisthodomos (lit. back-chamber), which was used as the treasury, or State bank, of Athens; but it is held by Dorpfeld that this term should be confined to the corresponding chamber of the early temple south of the Erechtheum.] In the Middle Ages the temple was converted into a church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and then into a mosque, and remained in good preservation till 1687. In that year, during the siege of Athens by the Venetians, the building was blown up by the explosion of a powder magazine that the Turks had stored in it, and, with the exception of the two pediments, was almost completely destroyed. Most of the sculptures preserved from the pediments and metopes, and from the frieze of the temple chamber, are now among the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum.

Pictures and Media
THE PARTHENON.(From the south-west, restored.)
SECTION OF NORTH-EAST PORTION OF THE PATHENON. shewing A, substructure; B B B, steps of crepidoma; C, stylobate; D, tympanum of eastern pediment; E, coffered ceiling; F, frieze of the cella; G, metopes and triglyphs; H is part of the range of Parnes (Vortegeblutter
A METOPE FROM SOUTH OF THE PARTHENON.(British Museum.)
FROM THE NORTH FRIEZE OF THE PARTHENON.(British Museum; slabs xxxv, xxxvi.)
FROM THE EAST FRIEZE OF THE PARTHENON.(Acropolis Museum, Athens; slab vi.)
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