Greek Architecture
The Ancient Greek architecture was based on religion and politics. Greeks raised temples to worship their Gods. They had three orders and each had their own characteristics. First there was the Doric order, style characterized because of strength and its plain top. The second one is the Ionic order, characterized because of its elegance due to the scroll design it contained. The third was the Corinthian order, style used in Greece and Rome, often with a rare style on its capital.

Temples consisted of various parts. One of them was the stylobate, a flat platform used as the temples base, similar to what we call “floor”. Another architectural feature was the plinth, which was the base of the columns, and it could be square or round. It was usually above the stylobate and it of course supported the base of the column. The shaft was on top of the base and it was the main part of the column. The columns were used to support the capital, which carried the weight of the entablature (structure between the capital and the roof). One important architectural temple in Greece and a good example for a Doric order is The Parthenon.

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The Parthenon

The Parthenon was built to replace an existing temple which was destroyed by Persians in 480 BC. The Parthenon’s construction began in 447 BC under Pericles commands. The temple was built above the city of Athens, which means that its meaning was to show the importance of the Athenian Empire and its prosperity. The building was built for two main purposes:

  • The monument was built to adore a Greek symbolical goddess called Athena Parthenos. They believed that she would help them conquer the Persian Empire. As a result, the name of the Parthenon derives from this goddess. Greeks built a statue which is located in the eastern room of the temple.

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  • The temple has an important meaning to the state. A part of the building was used to save the money that the Delian League collected. A portion of the money was used for the construction of the Parthenon.

The building was made by two great architects, Iktinos and Callicrate. As already mentioned, the temple was constructed on a building which was burned by the Persians. Due to this, they decided to construct the Parthenon with the same material the old temple was made of. The Parthenon is made mostly of a solid white Pentelic marble and ivory. The temple had two sections, the Eastern Chamber and the Western Chamber. In the Eastern Chamber it was located the statue of Athena and two stories of Doric columns. On the other hand, the Western Chamber saved the funds and the state’s capital.

The Parthenon was the most modern temple of the time. Greeks worked on the temple with perfection. They adopted a Doric style which reflected excellence. Greeks were so obsessive that the Parthenon seems to be perfect to the naked eye. The Parthenon was kept in good conditions until 1687 when the Venetians attacked the Ottomans in Athens, and sadly burned a portion of the temple. In 1975 the Greek government was attempting to restore the temple, with some help from Europe. The temple was able to be restored, but now it was hard to see the perfection it had in ancient times. Today the Parthenon is a symbol of the magnificence of the Greek culture and the meaning of the city of Athens.