• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent were propaganda and national pride as important as religion in the design, construction and decoration of the Parthenon?

Extracts from this document...


To what extent were propaganda and national pride as important as religion in the design, construction and decoration of the Parthenon? Although the decision to build the Parthenon was highly controversial in Athens because of the politics that surrounded it, was the Parthenon erected simply as sign of dedication to the gods? Or was it to fuel the dwindling pride of the Athenian citizens? By studying the structure, decoration and design, I hope to come to a conclusion as to whether the Parthenon was simply physical evidence of Athenian pride or whether it was pride in religion. Brief History Though the Persian wars were possibly over before the Parthenon was being considered, the wars played a vital role for Athens and her temples. During the wars, the armies of Persia attacked Athens and sacked the city leaving much of it in ruins, including the new temple in honour of Athene atop the Acropolis that was under construction. During the struggle, many of the states in Greece joined together to fight against the Persians and decided that they should not rebuild any of the temples that had been destroyed by the Persians to have an eternal memory of the devastation they caused and the lack of respect they have for religion. The once impressive city of Athens was reduced to dust, with small basic houses and nothing really imposing. The relatively basic buildings of Athens must have crushed the pride of the people, however, due to the oath taken at Plataea not to rebuild any of the temples, the people remained humbled by their modest buildings in their cities. ...read more.


Decoration The decoration on the Parthenon is one of the most elaborate sculptural masterpieces analysed in history. The intricate sculptures are made entirely out of marble, just as the rest of the structure of the Parthenon. Along the frieze there are ninety-two carved metopes around the length of the temple. There was also a continuous decorated frieze inside the peristyle above both of the pronaos' of the Parthenon and along the side walls of the cella, which was very uncommon for Greek temples. This is often considered to be another show of wealth and high workman ship because the continuous frieze is inside the peristyle. The pediments are filled with complete carved marble statues. Into the triangular pediments of the roof, there were sculptures depicting the birth of Athene on the east pediment, and on the west pediment was the portrayal of the competition between the god Poseidon and the goddess Athene as they contested for Athens. In my opinion, the birth of Athene seems to imply that the gods are incredibly important. Supporting the image are the gods and goddesses witnessing the birth of Athene. However, the sculpture is on the pediment that is at the front of the temple yet it is not the first pediment that you see. Although the pediment at the back of the temple shows the contest for Athens, it is however the first pediment that is in view as you advance towards the temple. ...read more.


The word "Parthenon" means "virgin" and the temple was named after Athene's virtue. The work, effort and money put into the Parthenon could be seen as religious piety to the pantheon and in particular, to the patron goddess Athene. Conclusion I think that the answer to the title is slightly ambiguous. I believe that Pericles wanted to see his fair city become a shining monument to the people and win favour as a politician. But I think that it could be seen as cynicism of the people today that people of ancient Greece could be so dedicated to religion and chose to spend a great deal of money on so huge a project. Perhaps they wanted to show their piety and appreciation to the gods that after so many violent wars, their city was still here. So to conclude, I believe that national pride was hugely important in the building of the Parthenon, and although it seems that religion took a lower priority, it may have been just as important as national pride in the building of the Parthenon. Bibliography - Books D'Agostino, Bruno (1974) Monuments of Civilisation Greece, Readers Digest, London Connolly, Peter; Dodge, Hazel (1998) The Ancient City: Life in Classical Athens and Rome Oxford University Press, Oxford Jenkins, Ian (1994) The Parthenon Frieze, British Museum Press, London Peach, Susan; Millard, Anne (2003) The Greeks, Usborne Publishing, London Woodford, Susan (1981) The Parthenon Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Beard, Mary (2002) The Parthenon Profile Books, London Bibliography - Websites http://academic.reed.edu/humanities/110Tech/Parthenon.html http://www.pbs.org/empires/thegreeks/background/29a_p1.html http://www.pbs.org/empires/thegreeks/characters/pericles_p6.html www.perseus.tufts. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Hinduism section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Hinduism essays

  1. The novel, The Temple of Gold by William Goldman,

    looked...ugly, while I was more the All-American-boy type-good build, blue eyes, nice smile...I often thought that God should have given him something decent looking on the outside, instead of putting it all in, hiding it, so that nobody could ever see it as first glance."

  2. To what extent were the builders of the Erechtheion successful in solving the problems ...

    The ingenious solution to this problem was that the temple incorporated four sets of columned supports and three independently roofed structures. Already it is apparent that the builders of the Erechtheion were successful in this respect. One could pursue the idea that the Erechtheion resembles three different temples formed to make one unique structure.

  1. Did Gandhi's influence help to achieve Indian Independence quicker or did he hinder it?

    -Lord Wavell reporting back to the King of England-7 Tagore was one of many who disapproved of civil disobedience, drawing attention to the moral and physical dangers which were part of Gandhi's techniques. It was wrong, he said, "to transpose moral force into force", and he believed that "martyrdom for

  2. Describe a visit to a Hindu place of pilgrimage, explaining its importance to believers.

    When we die we need four people to carry us, if we don't have them then we are cheaper than anything in the world to get four people we need to do good stuff even you don't do good stuff don't do bad stuff.

  1. Attacks on religious minotirties in Bangaladesh

    The population of Hindu was 11.88 millions, while 588 thousand was other religious and ethnic minorities (Buddhist, Christian and animist). Evaluation of government statistics of 50 years, from 1941 to 1991, indicates a large drop in the figure for minorities.

  2. Why is the Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassae an interesting building?

    A possible explanation could be the poverty of Phigaleia. The Pteron of the temple (Apollo) was Doric, but the interior columns were Ionic half columns and Corinthian columns. Some sources say that there was a single Corinthian column separating the cella from the adyton; others say that there were three Corinthian columns between the cella and the adyton.

  1. Is the Parthenon a Typical Doric Temple?

    They are fluted with a plain rounded disk for a capital. This is the plainest part of the column. They have square bases with circular capitals and a plain sided shaft. The Doric Capitals consist of an echinus and a square abacus which both support the entablature.

  2. Ancient Egyptian Religion.

    Egyptians did not have access to the major gods in the temple shrines. The people could only approach the gods in the national festivals. However there were additional deities who answered the everyday life wishes and were connected with the family.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work