The Parthenon’s Structural System

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The Parthenon’s Structural System

In the year 447 BC, work to build the Parthenon began, as the Athenians wanted their power to be known and felt all over. In the year 432 BC, the work on the unique temple began, and the Parthenon would be a representation of the visible and tangible efflorescence of imperial power held by the Athenians. It means that the Parthenon would represent a building that would not be affected by the depredations of the famous Peloponnesian War. Furthermore, the building would represent the power of the person who was behind its construction, Perikles, an Athenian politician. This paper will seek to give a critical analysis of the structural system of the Parthenon temple.

A number of historians believe that a peace treaty between Persia and Athens was concluded in the year 449 BC. This is exactly two years before the construction of the Parthenon began. The importance of the peace treaty was that the Athenian Empire/Delian League would continue with its existence even if a valid reason for this existence no longer existed. Therefore, Athens would become the leader of the entire Greek defense league as well as the master of all the other states in Greece. Athenians made the decision in 454 BC to ensure that the League treasury was situated at Delos, an acropolis, as opposed to the former location at the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary. The money provided by the League funded the Parthenon and the building marked the imperialism being portrayed by the Athenians. The Greeks had their own idealized way in which they lived and the paid attention to all the details. They had a deep understanding for mathematical harmony existing in the natural world (Neils 28).

The Parthenon is a unique Doric peripheral temple and this means that it had a plan with a rectangular floor. Furthermore, a number of series of steps that lay quite low on all sides existed. A (8 by 17) colonnade of Doric columns extended to entire structure’s periphery. On all the entrances to the temple, there were an additional six columns, which were situated in its front. The larger of the two rooms found in the interior known as the naos were cult statue’s house. The Athenians used the other smaller room known as the opisthodomos for their treasury matters. The Parthenon was built in order to replace two other temples that existed earlier on the Acropolis of Athena. There are quite a few traces of one of the temples up-to-date, as it stood between the Erechttheum and the Parthenon. The other temple that was built was under construction at the time when the Persians were building their sack and this was in 480 BC (Woodford, 55).

The Greek used the types of columns mainly when building their public buildings and temples. These were the Corinthian, Ionic and Doric, which were extremely popular at the time the Parthenon was being built. The proportions were the ones that distinguished the three orders in the most basic and truest forms. The Parthenon used the elements found in the Ionic and Doric orders. This means that in a temple that has a Doric peripteral element, there will be a continuous sculpted frieze, which is continuous and has been borrowed from an order that is Ionic. In addition, it uses other four Ionic columns that support the roof at a point known as the opisthodomos (Woodford, 55).

There is a frieze found in the Parthenon and it runs all-round the temple’s wal.............

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