07-069 The Parthenon
Vol. 07 No. 069 02/01/2013
Lead: Etched on the Athenian skyline, the Parthenon has been subjected to abuse by a succession of regimes; but throughout--even in ruin--it has retained a profound elemental dignity.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: With the formal cessation of hostilities between the city-states of Greece and their Persian antagonist in 449 BC, the citizens of Athens and their formidable leader Pericles returned to pursuits of peace. He wished to make Athens a center of culture and intellect and began with a comprehensive program of construction and refurbishment. Pericles' first project was a magnificent new structure that would dominate the Acropolis, the magnificent Temple of Athena Parthenos.

The task of restoring the Acropolis and building the Parthenon was entrusted to Phidias, who was considered by many to be the greatest of ancient Athenian sculptors. He executed the 40-foot tall, gold and ivory cultic statue of Athena that dominated the temple's central court and supervised the design and construction of the remaining parts of the building. Work commenced in 447 BC and was largely complete by 332, two years before Phidias' death. The temple became the pride of ancient Athens and the symbol of Greek achievements in the so-called Golden Age of Pericles. But from then on it was downhill.

In 404, after its victory in the Peloponnesian War, Sparta installed a garrison in the former sanctuary. The Macedonians made it a brothel; under Justinian it became a Christian church and, under the Ottoman Empire, a mosque. In the fall of 1687, forces of the Venetian Republic were besieging the Turkish garrison entrenched on the Acropolis. A single cannon shot ignited the ammunition stored in the Parthenon. The ruins burned for two days. Only after Greek independence in 1833 did restoration begin under the leadership of King Otho.

The Producer of A Moment in Time is Steve Clark. At the University of Richmond, this is Dan Roberts.

Resources

Boardman, John. The Parthenon and its Sculptures, Austin: University of Texas, 1985.

Green, Peter. The Parthenon. New York: Newsweek Book Division, 1973.

Hopper, R.J., The Acropolis. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1971.

Jackson, Donald. "How Lord Elgin First Won-and Lost-His Marbles," Smithsonian 23 (September 1992): 135-146.

Copyright 2013 by Dan Roberts Enterprises, Inc.

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