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Parthenon  (PAR-the-non)

The temple of Athena on the Acropolis of Athens. The Parthenon was built during the golden age of Pericles. The great orator and statesman commissioned its construction. This was during an era long after that of the mythological heroes, but the sculptures which decorated the building's exterior celebrated their feats, together with those of the immortal gods. They showed Lapiths fighting centaurs, Olympians battling Giants and perhaps scenes from the Trojan War.

The Parthenon symbolized the power and religious devotion of Athens. In later years it became a church and then, when Greece became part of the Turkish empire, a mosque. It survived relatively intact until 1687, when the Venetians, bombarding the Turks, inadvertently exploded a store of gunpowder within the building.


The Parthenon, photographically restored. (zoom)