Athena Parthenos: description, history and interesting facts


2018-03-21 11:08:17




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The Heritage preserved great works of art. Many architectural masterpieces, paintings, literature and music still impresses modern people. You can see them at exhibitions, in museums and private collections. Some treasures of the nation are still under the ground or closed in palaces and castles.

But it turns out, history famous works that have already will never see. Most people learn about them from other works. For example, Athena Parthenos became known only through copies and descriptions. At the moment, a genuine sculpture does not exist. But the beauty of the description still holds this work of Phidias in the memory of modern people.Athena Parthenos


It is not Difficult to guess who was referring to Phidias. Athena Parthenos is the embodiment of the most ancient Greek goddess, which became famous thanks to his intelligence and wisdom. Athena was the most revered goddess of Ancient Greece. She was one of the greatest rulers of Olympus. Besides the fact that she was called the goddess of war, Athena believed to be involved in knowledge, arts and crafts, also referred to as the patroness of cities and States.


Before you know that was a statue, Athena Parthenos needs to stand before us in their true guise. Perhaps it still is for many the most expressive character of Ancient Greece. It is considered the most unusual and memorable. This is due to the fact that whoever was depicted as Athena, she always has the attributes of a man: arms, armor, and shield. Also near the goddess you can always see the sacred animals.


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Most Often, Athena, fair-haired woman and sulfide. Homer is considered her "zolookas". Perhaps this comparison is due to the fact that a number could often be seen an owl, symbol of wisdom. No matter where we are introduced to Athena, whether in poems, or in prose, whether on canvas, creators are always trying to highlight her large eyes.Athena Parthenos

The Basic attributes of Pallada is still a helmet that had a high crest and the aegis, or shield decorated with head of Gorgon Medusa. Also nearby, in particular on the paintings, you can see the olive, which was considered a sacred tree, the owl and the snake – two symbols of wisdom. With Athena not once met nick – the winged goddess.


Many wanted to save in the history of mankind statue «Athena Parthenos". Sculptor Phidias forever in the minds of people remained the Creator of the great goddess. The Creator lived 400 years BC. Was a friend of Pericles and was considered the greatest artist of the great classics.

In his short career he created a huge amount of work. The main character was always Athena. In addition to the one placed later in the Parthenon was the statue of the goddess on the Acropolis of Athens. Her Phidias created in honor of the victory over the Persians. It was huge and served as a beacon for sailors.

Athena Lemnia also has not survived to the present day, but it is known through copies. This statue was created specifically for the residents of the island of Lemnos, hence the name. It is also known about two sculptures depicting the goddess of war. One was in Plataea, and the other in Achaia.

Phidias is also the author of one of the seven wonders of the Ancient world. We are talking about the statue of Zeus at Olympia. This statue was the one that was on mainland Europe. It was made of marble and was larger than any temple at that time.


As you know, the sculpture of Athena Parthenos stood in the Parthenon. This temple was built as the home for the goddess between 447 and 432 BC. The statue was made of ivory and gold. It was created in order to glorify the success in the Persian wars.Phidias Athena Parthenos

Despite the fact that the Athena Parthenos had long ceased to exist, she remains invisible symbol of the great city. The disappearance of the sculpture is still little known. Historical facts lead us to Constantinople where may have been transported a statue. It is here that it could destroy and plunder. To restore the original appearance allow copies, sculptural details and descriptions of Plutarch and Pausanias.


It is difficult to tell if Athena is named after the temple of the Parthenon, or else it was the exact opposite. Now we can say that Parthenos means virgin, and the Parthenon means "the house of the virgin".

The temple Itself was no less great. But the statue of Athena Parthenos still is considered the main decoration of the building. Myths and legends say that the temple was originally built in order that there could hold this sculpture. Maybe when they built the Parthenon, already knew that Phidias's going inside something similar with the sculpture of Athena Promachos.

The most accurate description of the statue gave to Pliny. He claimed that the creature turned with a height of about 12 meters (26 elbows). For its production has been taken ivory and gold. The first Phidias used to create body parts of the goddess, and the rest was all made of gold.

Also was discussed that the gold could be easily removed in case of financial difficulties. For the rest of the decorations were used copper, glass, silver, and precious stones. The result Phidias created the sculpture, which costs at times exceeded the value of allthe temple of Parthenon.

It is Known that the statue took a huge pedestal with a height of 4-8 metres. Were located closer to the East door and was surrounded by columns. Before the sculpture was a large tank of water, which can be called a modern swimming pool. This was done in order to in the hall was wet, and ivory was preserved under these conditions.


Very majestic and warlike have happened Phidias Athena Parthenos. Details description makes it clear how unique was this sculpture. Copies became clear that in one hand the goddess held a statue of Nike, who, incidentally, had a height of 2 meters, but compared to the greatness of the main sculpture looked very petite. In the other hand Athena held a shield.statue of Athena Parthenos

It is a dispute of the time. It most often tried to copy creators all over the world. Pliny claimed that on the shield of Phidias represented the battle of Theseus and the Amazons. Also here you can find a battle of the giants with the gods. It was here and the image of the Gorgon Medusa. Perhaps even some interesting characters.

No less appealing it seemed and the helmet of Athena Parthenos. He was on her in the middle of the Sphinx and two griffins with wings Pegasus. It is also known that in the feet of the goddess was the serpent. Some argue that the reptile was placed on Phidias and the breast of the patron. This snake was given to the goddess by Zeus. Shoes were adorned with Centauromachy.

Hidden details

Of Course, any invisible details of the sculpture can be discussed, when many of his contemporaries have you seen the sculpture? Athena Parthenos is full of secrets and mysteries. Is the statement that the shield of the goddess Phidias placed his portrait and the image of his friend Pericles. Presumably, he veiled all under the Daedalus and Theseus.

Also, many contemporaries believe that Phidias was fond of boys. His beloved was a young Pantorc winner in wrestling at the Olympics. The young man was so dear to the sculptor, the inscription “Beautiful Antarc” carved on one of the statues. Perhaps, on the finger of Athena Parthenos was adorned with this recognition. Although reliable data on this. Perhaps the inscription was on the statue of Zeus or the statue of Aphrodite Urania.


As mentioned earlier, Phidias has done a lot to make Athena a perfect fit for the Parthenon. If the statue of Zeus with his head rested on the ceiling and it seemed that if the thunder gets up, he strikes the building, the goddess looked harmoniously in the architectural space.the sculpture of Athena Parthenos

The fact that Phidias not once communicated with Ictinus, the Builder, to have a little departed from the original plan, and General style of the Doric temple. The sculptor demanded more space inside. In the end, we see not 6 classic columns, and eight. In addition, they are located not only on the sides of the statue, but behind her. Athena appeared as if they fit into the architectural frame.


Turns out, it is difficult to determine the ultimate fate of creation. Also it is not known where he died a creation of Phidias Athena Parthenos. Its history begins around 447 BC, when the sculptor received the order and started to work. After 9 years the statue was installed in the temple.

A couple of years happens to be the first conflict. Phidias fills the enemies and envious, and then he has to justify in the name of cleansing their conscience. Further, more than a century, nothing was known about the fate of the statue. But in the year 296 BC, one General took the gold with sculptures to pay off their debts. Then I had metal to replace the bronze.

Athena Parthenos by the sculptor Phidias

More than a century Athena Parthenos was damaged by fire. But it failed to restore. The following information appears already in the 5th century ad. It is known that once the fire in the temple again plagued the creation. In the 10th century BC masterpiece was in Constantinople. What happened – unknown.


We have already briefly mentioned about the conflicts that have affected Phidias. Namely the Athena Parthenos was for him a harbinger of death. The Creator was a good friend and adviser of Pericles. He assisted with the reconstruction of the Acropolis. He was also, of course, talented. Therefore, the enemies and the envious could not pass.

For the First time he faced them when he was accused of stealing gold from the cloak of the goddess. Fidio not have anything to hide. Was ordered to remove the gold from the substrate and weighed. Short is not found.

But the following charges ended in failure. Enemies been looking for what to complain about. The last straw was the accusation of insulting the deity. Many knew that Phidias had tried to show himself and Pericles on the shield of Athena Parthenos. The sculptor was thrown into prison. It then came his death. The only thing historians and remained a mystery: he died of sadness, or of poison.

Thank you

Among all the works of Phidias, the most famous is Athena Parthenos. Description and history of it are so vivid that this creation is known to us thousands of years later. Thank sculpture swept through the year. About it repeatedly wrote the contemporaries of Phidias, and in later writers. It is known that even Socrates relied on Athena to interpret the concept of beauty.

Athena Parthenos description

About the greatness of the work says, and the number of copies that have survived to this day. The most accurate and vivid remains of the sculpture “Athena Varvakeion”.It is in the National Museum of Athens. The second similar copy is immediately called "Athena Lenormand”.

The Gorgon Medusa, which was placed on the shield, also not just copied. The most famous remains the copy of the head "Rondanini Medusa". Now this sculpture is located in Munich, in Glyptothek.

Not once artists tried to copy the original shield. One of them is kept in the British Museum and is called “the Shield of Strangford”. Similar is also in the Louvre.

Athena Parthenos history

Building Athens

Now from the Parthenon almost nothing left. Although the Church holds a long history, which, like sculpture, is full of mysteries and contradictions. Greek archaeologists and the builders tried to recreate the style of ancient ruins. But all the grandeur and beauty, of course, transfer is impossible. However the feeling that many centuries ago there took place a historical event, enchants and fascinates. Stories guides annually collect a lot of tourists that are allowed to plunge into the atmosphere of ancient militancy.

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Alin Trodden - author of the article, editor
"Hi, I'm Alin Trodden. I write texts, read books, and look for impressions. And I'm not bad at telling you about it. I am always happy to participate in interesting projects."

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