The Parthenon’s Interior

Parthenon

It was Pheidias who designed the Parthenon’s interior. There are many things about the Ancient world’s greatest sculptor that we do not know for sure; and it is the same in case of his most important artwork: the statue of Athena Parthenos, and its whereabout. The statue was about 11,5 m high, made of gold and ivory, and might have costed as much as the sanctuary itself. It is thought that the artwork was stolen in late Roman time and brought to Constantinople; but there, its trace is lost.

Roman copies and ancient authors’ testimonies, however, have helped to reconstruct Athena Parthenos’ representation up to the smallest detail. Her left hand was holding the buckler , her right one a small winged sculpture of Nike, the goddess of victory. Athena Parthenos’ clothing was extensively adorned and consisted of the peplos (robe) and the aigis (golden pleura) The golden goat fur was used by Zeus as well as by Athena and Apollo in order to produce thunderstorms. It was Hephaistos, the divine blacksmith, who transformed it into a buckler of such power that not even Zeus’ lightnings were able to destroy it. Formerly belonging to Zeus, it later on got to be Athena’s. The Gorgo is a mythological character who petrified with her view whoever looked at her. The best known among the Gorgo sisters is Medusa, who was decapitated by Perseus.

The extraordinary of the sanctuary’s architecture consisted in the necessarity to adapt it to Athena’s statue. The Cella was therefore designed especially broad but very short. Also, the columns are characterised by their quite unusual arrangement: 46 columns are divided into groups of 8 at the frontside, and groups of 17 at the long side. They form a ring hall around the cella, that opens into fore halls of 6 columns each one. From the saddle-shaped roof, rain water was directed to the waterspouters. Of the both rooms, the smaller one was used as treasure room.

The Parthenon’s Images

Parthenon




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