The Parthenon

1400 Words6 Pages
The Parthenon is an amazing Greek temple that was built 2,500 years ago. Even the architects of today have numerous questions about how it was constructed and how it has held up through its eventful past. The Parthenon's detailed appearance is not its only meaningful quality. The Parthenon was constructed as a temple to the goddess, Athena, and as an icon of the Greek people themselves. The Parthenon represents the Greek ideals of humanism, idealism, and rationalism.

Humanism was important to the Greek culture because they believed focusing on human values were key to life. The cella frieze in the Parthenon reflects this way of thinking. It’s located in the interior of the Parthenon, adorning the area above the columns. The cella frieze is one continuous ionic frieze that wraps around the entire room. Scholars believe it depicts Athenians celebrating the Greater Panathenaia, which was a celebration to the Goddess, Athena, performed every four years. Blaise Nagy, a writer of the American Journal of Archeology states, “…the most commonly held view among scholars is that the frieze depicts a contemporary version of the festival. According to F. Brommer, author of the magisterial Der Parthenonfries, the frieze ought to be regarded as a kind of document for celebrations of the Panathenaia from the period of the construction of the Parthenon” (56). In this depiction, Poseidon and Apollo are bestowing their blessings on the celebration. With both immortal, worthy Gods, and mortal, unworthy Athenians on the cella frieze together, it confirms the Greek’s belief in humanism. To have the Gods and mortals in the same depiction together was something that had never been done before. Professor Jeffrey M. Hurwit from the University of Oregon s...

... middle of paper ...

... carved in the round, giving it a highly realistic look. The figures seem to jump out of the marble with almost completely three-dimensional bodies. The act of Greeks favoring reason over emotion is found in many sculptures and scenes on the Parthenon.

In summary, the Greeks followed the ideals of humanism, idealism, and rationalism, which can be found in the architectural wonder, the Parthenon. In this building, Gods are depicted in human form, sculptures are carved with ideal proportions, and rationalism can be found in the scenes carved there. Professor Hurwit says, “It was the physical embodiment of their values, their beliefs of their ideology. It remains for us a powerful statement of what human beings are capable of” (Beckham). Not only is the Parthenon an architectural wonder and mystery, but it also holds the beliefs and feelings of the people of Athens.

More about The Parthenon

Open Document