The Parthenon

At the approximate position where the Parthenon was built later, the Athenians began the construction of a building that was burned by the Persians while it was still under construction in 480 BCE. It was presumably dedicated to Athena, and after its destruction, much of its ruins were utilized in the building of the fortifications at the north end of the Acropolis. Not much is known about this temple, and whether or not it was still under construction when it was destroyed has been disputed. Its massive foundations were made of limestone, and the columns were made of Pentelic marble, a material that was utilized for the first time. The classical Parthenon was constructed between 447-432 BCE to be the focus of the Acropolis building complex. The architects were Iktinos and Kallikrates (Vitruvius also names Karpion as an architect) and it was dedicated to the goddess Athena Pallas or Parthenos (virgin). The temple’s main function was to shelter the monumental statue of Athena that was made by Pheidias out of gold and ivory. The temple and the chryselephantine statue were dedicated in 438, although work on the sculptures of its pediment continued until completion in 432 BCE.

The Parthenon construction cost the Athenian treasury 469 silver talents. While it is almost impossible to create a modern equivalent for this amount of money, it might be useful to look at some facts. One talent was the cost to build one trireme, the most advanced warship of the era.

You can also read: Pericles

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