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The era that one lives in is very advanced technologically and economically, yet nothing can surpass the creations that the Greeks built. When one thinks about ancient times we visualize uncivilized people who could never accomplish such great things as we have done when in reality it is us that could never accomplish what they did. There are many accomplishments that are associated with Classical Greece, one of the major ones is the Parthenon. The Parthenon played a key part in helping society discover that the Greeks were incredibly great with precise calculations, had unknown technology to create such buildings, and that this type of building is hard to recreate. The Parthenon set the stage for many buildings to come making it a very influential architectural building.
Why was the Parthenon built to begin with? Well the answer isn’t as complex as one may think. The Parthenon building served as a religious center where a large statue of the goddess Athena was located. The Parthenon was where the Greeks went to worship the goddess and provide thanks for what they had. The Parthenon had other purposes such as it being a fortress and a tourist stop. The Parthenon became a symbol of power for the Greeks, along with the sense of power a sense of nationalism increased.
The Parthenon was a beautiful building to admire. What this building has showed us is that the Greeks were way ahead of their time period. In order to make such a temple, the architects must have ways to calculate very precise numbers and have machinery to place the columns on the building. Not only did this type of architecture require extreme precision, it also required of a great sum of money. At the time the predicted cost for a building like this was around 1,000 silver talents, which is around $57,600,000. This cost didn’t only cover the Parthenon building, it also covered the price for the Athena Parthenos. According to Cartwright, the Parthenon was made beautifully on the outside but the meaningful part of it was the giant statue of Athena inside it. The Athena Parthenos was a huge statue that measured around 11.5 meters tall and was made out of gold and other expensive materials. The statue was worth more that the Parthenon itself.
When one looks at the Parthenon one sees straight lines and columns, but the truth is that there is almost no straight lines in the Parthenon. The “straight lines” that we see are merely an optical illusion made by the architects that designed the Parthenon. The columns that we see on the building seem to be straight, but in reality if one is to look at the column going from the bottom to the top we would be able to see that the column starts off being narrow and as it reaches the center it grows wider, once it is headed to the top it narrows down again. This same rule applies to all of the columns placed. This type of precision would be difficult for this time period to achieve even with all the new technology, imagine how the Greeks must have struggled to build such a thing without having little to none of the technology we had.
By having made such an amazing piece of architecture, including many more, it was logical for the Greeks to fell as if they were above every other civilization. They were proud of their culture and of their historical ideas. These types of achievements were what made them believe that their achievements would set the stage for generations to come. As the Greeks presumed, their architectural ideas did set the stage for centuries including our times.
The Parthenon is a remarkable piece of architecture that is irreplaceable, not only because of the cost but also due to the fact that even if people now were to remake one, it wouldn’t have the same impact as it would have centuries ago. The reason for this is that the Greeks had nothing to base themselves off of I order to create such a masterpiece, meanwhile we have their ideas to create our own and access to modern technology. Ancient civilizations may seem like nothing compared to what we have become over the years, but in reality they were incredibly influential in what we have become now and what will become of us in years to come.
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—. “Athena Parthenos by Pheidias.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited, 25 Jan. 2015, http://www.ancient.eu/article/785/
Fehlmann, Marc. “As Greek as It Gets: British Attempts to Recreate the Parthenon.” Rethinking History, vol. 11, no. 3, Sept. 2007, pp. 353-377. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/13642520701353256.
Hadingham, Evan. “Unlocking Mysteries of the Parthenon.” Smithsonian, Smithsonian Institution, Feb. 2008, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/unlocking-mysteries-of-the-parthenon-16621015/
Hurwit, Jeffrey M. “Beautiful Evil: Pandora and the Athena Parthenos.” American Journal of Archaeology, vol. 99, no. 2, 1995, pp. 171-186., www.jstor.org/stable/506338.
Nova. “The Glorious Parthenon.” Nova, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 29 Feb. 2008, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/glorious-parthenon.html
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“The Parthenon.” Ancient-Greece, Ancient-Greece.org, http://ancient-greece.org/architecture/parthenon.html
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