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Parthenon: A Classic Architecture

During the Classical Period, the Greeks were at war with the Persians. After the conflict, Greeks centered on developing Athens as the focal point of the Greek empire. The transition from the archaic era to this period induced the production of great art, literature and philosophy (Huntfor. com, 2005, “Art of Ancient Greece”). Athenians took pride in their history, culture and knowledge. The emergence of democracy prompted the Greeks to accomplish many wonderful things.

This groundbreaking event empowered an individual in bringing positive changes in the polis and the whole universe (Ancient-Greece. org, 2007, “Parthenon”). One of the landmarks of this period is the Parthenon. This classical structure was the temple placed on top of Athens that represented the sovereignty and wealth of the Athenians. Parthenon was built to honor Athena whom Greeks believed that helped them win the war in Persia (Mitts, 1998, “The Parthenon is built”). More so, Parthenon symbolized Greek’s idealism, their concentration to details and comprehension on mathematical concepts.

Their quest for perfection resulted to the sophisticated architectural features, anthropomorphic statues, precise measurements of Parthenon (Ancient-Greece. org, 2007, “Parthenon”). Parthenon was built between the periods of 447-432 BC as the center of the building complex in Acropolis. “Kallikrates and Iktinos” were the masterminds of this monumental structure (Ancient-Greece. org, 2007, “Parthenon”). They were the architects who designed the general lay out and look of the temple. They constructed Parthenon using limestone and Pentelic marble which was primarily used during this period.

Critics assumed that the architects depicted Parthenon as a grandiose event because of the scale, appearance and arrangement of the elements have constantly caught the viewers in awe of its beauty. The design was aimed at making the exterior surface of Parthenon to smoothly progress to the features inside the building. Furthermore, Parthenon predominantly employed the organizational system of the Doric order. There were seventeen columns placed at the flanks while eight columns were located at the facade that created a 9:4 ratio.

The established ratio included the “horizontal and vertical proportions” of Parthenon together with the other connections of the temple such as the “spacing between the columns and their height” (Ancient-Greece. org, 2007, “Parthenon”). However, there were also features of Ionic order that were included such as the columns that supported the back room where the treasure of Athena was stored. The fusion of the two distinct orders gave the temple authenticity and harmony between simple and ornate visual elements.

The peristyle columns used have a slight arc on its top end that gave an illusion that the columns were stressed by the immense weight of the roof. No “absolute straight lines” were used in the geometrically shaped temple that contributed to the organic feel of Parthenon (Ancient-Greece. org, 2007, “Parthenon”). The visual illusion played by the architects on the measurement of columns and the spaces in between them made the corner columns looked thinner and further than the columns set placed at the darker background of the temple when the sky is bright.

These austere elements showcased the uniqueness of Parthenon compared to other Greek temples. Its “dynamic form of architectural expression” embodied the precision and productiveness of Greek culture (Ancient-Greece. org, 2007, “Parthenon”). The structure’s almost exact dimensions and proportional ratio became one of the the basis for the manifestation of the classic style in the field of architecture from the ancient times to the modern period.Parthenon have transcended its initial purpose of showcasing Athenian’s competencies and ideals.


Ancient-Greece. org. (2007). Parthenon. Retrieved March 26, 2008, from http://www. ancient- greece. org/architecture/parthenon. html. Huntfor. com. (2005). Art of Ancient Greece. Retrieved March 26, 2008, from http://www. huntfor. com/arthistory/ancient/anc_greek. htm. Mitts, K. B. (1998, February 2). The Parthenon was built. Webchron project. Retrieved March

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