Art History in a Hurry – Parthenon

ParthenonThe temple of Athena, the Virgin (“parthenos” in Greek) Goddess,
protector of Athens, at the top of the Acropolis. Its construction, on the site
of two earlier temples to Athena Parthenos, the second of which was yet
unfinished when it was destroyed by the Persians in 480 B. C., was ordered by Pericles and took 10 years, from 447 to 438 B. C., date of
its inauguration during the Panathenæa of that year, but the decoration was not
completed until 432. The architects who built it
were Ictinus and Callicrates, working under the leadership of Phidias, a friend
and art councelor of Pericles, who sculpted the chryselephantine (meaning
“plated with gold (“chrusos” in Greek) and ivory (“elephas,
” in Greek)”) statue of Athena that was inside the temple (Thucydides tells us in his Histories,
II, 13, 5
, that forty talents of pure gold had been used for the plating of
the statue, and could be removed in case of financial need).