While in Athens, we of course had to visit the Parthenon.
People often confuse the names Acropolis and Parthenon as the same thing but in fact the Acropolis is the large hill that the Parthenon(the temple) sits atop. An acropolis (Greek: Ακρόπολις; akros, akron, highest, topmost, outermost + polis, city; plural: acropoleisor acropolises) is a settlement, especially a citadel, built upon an area of elevated ground—frequently a hill with precipitous sides, chosen for purposes of defense. In many parts of the world, acropoleis became the nuclei of large cities of classical antiquity, such as ancient Rome, which in more recent times grew up on the surrounding lower ground, such as modern Rome
The Parthenon is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the maiden goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron deity. Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although decoration of the building continued until 432 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy, western civilization and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments. The Greek Ministry of Culture is currently carrying out a program of selective restoration and reconstruction to ensure the stability of the partially ruined structure.
The Parthenon itself replaced an older temple of Athena, which historians call the Pre-Parthenon or Older Parthenon, that was destroyed in the Persian invasion of 480 BC. The temple is archaeoastronomically aligned to the Hyades. Like most Greek temples, the Parthenon was used as a treasury. For a time, it also served as the treasury of the Delian League, which later became the Athenian Empire. In the 5th century AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
After the Ottoman conquest, it was turned into a mosque in the early 1460s. On 26 September 1687, an Ottoman ammunition dump inside the building was ignited by Venetian bombardment. The resulting explosion severely damaged the Parthenon and its sculptures. In 1806, Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin removed some of the surviving sculptures, with the permission of the Ottoman Empire. These sculptures, now known as the Elgin Marbles or the Parthenon Marbles, were sold in 1816 to the British Museum in London, where they are now displayed. Since 1983 (on the initiative of Culture Minister Melina Mercouri), the Greek government has been committed to the return of the sculptures to Greece.
The origin of the Parthenon's name is from the Greek word (parthenon), which referred to the "unmarried women's apartments" in a house and in the Parthenon's case seems to have been used at first only for a particular room of the temple; it is debated which room this is and how the room acquired its name. The Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon states that this room was the western cella of the Parthenon. Jamauri D. Green holds that the parthenon was the room in which the peplos presented to Athena at the Panathenaic Festival was woven by the arrephoroi, a group of four young girls chosen to serve Athena each year. Christopher Pelling asserts that Athena Parthenos may have constituted a discrete cult of Athena, intimately connected with, but not identical to, that of Athena Polias. According to this theory, the name of Parthenon means the "temple of the virgin goddess" and refers to the cult of Athena Parthenos that was associated with the temple. The epithet parthÃ©nos, whose origin is also unclear, meant "maiden, girl", but also "virgin, unmarried woman" and was especially used for Artemis, the goddess of wild animals, the hunt, and vegetation, and for Athena, the goddess of strategy and tactics, handicraft, and practical reason. It has also been suggested that the name of the temple alludes to the maidens (parthenoi), whose supreme sacrifice guaranteed the safety of the city.
The first instance in which Parthenon definitely refers to the entire building is found in the 4th-century BC orator Demosthenes. In 5th-century building accounts, the structure is simply called ho naos ("the temple"). The architects Mnesikles and Callicrates are said to have called the building Hekatompodos ("the hundred footer") in their lost treatise on Athenian architecture, and, in the 4th century and later, the building was referred to as the Hekatompedos or the Hekatompedon as well as the Parthenon; the 1st-century AD writer Plutarch referred to the building as the Hekatompedon Parthenon.
Because the Parthenon was dedicated to Greek goddess Athena, it has sometimes been referred to as the Temple of Minerva, the Roman name for Athena, particularly during the 19th century.
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