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Art Museum Collection
Humanities and the Arts
The Parthenon is a masterpiece embodying the unique architecture of Classical Greek temples. Covering an earlier temple, sometimes referred to as Pre-Parthenon, it was the only structure completed before the Peloponnesian War. It stands on the highest level of the Acropolis, meaning "high city", above Athens, Greece. The temple was built in honor of the virgin goddess Athena between 448/447 and 438 or 432 B.C.E. (Benton & DiYanni, 2008). The name "Parthenon" translates into "Place of the Parthenos", meaning "the place of young maidens". These terms are derived from another name for the goddess Athena, "Athena Parthenos (Regula, 2008).
The Parthenon is glorified as the epitome of the Doric order design. The Doric order is the first of the three orders the ancient Greek architects developed as a set arrangement for the construction of temple columns.
The second and third orders are Ionic and Corinthian, although the Doric was the most commonly used during Greek era. The remarkable aspect of the Parthenon is the distinct proportions employed either for beauty or to create the illusion of straight lines. The Doric style columns are built with entasis, which means the diameter at the bottom is larger than at the top. The Parthenon that stands presently was slightly restored during the 19th century and is currently involved in a full scale restoration mission (Benton & DiYanni, 2008).
The relief sculptures, free-standing sculptures, and friezes found on and around the Parthenon, apart from being spectacular works of art, were to some extent disagreeable to previous civilizations. For instance, the buildings, temples, and artwork from earlier times would not have combined images of "regular" people along with images of the gods. In the Greek culture the human...