Table of Contents
Discussion and analysis.
Architecture and monumentality.
Spirituality and Parthenon.
Parthenon- A commemorative architecture.
Sculpture of Parthenon.
Restoration and modification in Parthenon.
The monumentality and human emotion has a very close association with each other and this has been analysed in this paper. On the other hand, spirituality and human emotion is also closely interlinked. Hence, in order to analyse all these factors, Parthenon of Greece has been selected. In the introduction the purpose of the essay has been developed. On the other hand, in the discussion or the main body of the study, the analysis of the architecture and other significance of Parthenon have been done. The scope of the study is that it has effectively aligned spirituality, emotion with that of architecture. The analysis has identified Parthenon as an emblem or epitome of the history of Greece. On the other hand, the confluence of the different religions took place at Parthenon which has ignited the spiritual emotion in the mind of the people. It has been identified that the first thousand years of Parthenon was associated with the ancient religious practice of Greece and was dedicated to Athena, the goddess of Greek mythology. However, with the predominance of Christianity and Islamic religion of ottoman rule, the construction has been remodelled in the different times and has been dedicated to different faiths. The essay plan template has been followed to prepare the paper.
Essay theme: The theme of the essay is to analyse the spirituality and architecture in the light of Parthenon of Greece
Architectural project: Parthenon- A commemorative architecture
Essay argument: The thesis statement of this paper states that the architecture of Parthenon has a close relationship with the spiritual identity and emotion and this has turned it to a commemorative architecture
Architecture is associated with the symbol of each and every civilisation and helps to identify the root of that civilisation as well. However, in the recent time, within the dense growth of skyscraper buildings and multi-storeys, the value and utility of monuments is decreasing. One of the major examples of the same is the Parthenon of Greece. The purpose of this study is to explore and analyse the architecture of Parthenon and its link with the spirituality of ancient Greece.
In the introductory phase, the main theme of this study has already been delineated. The analysis of Parthenon in the light of monumentality should be the major focus. However, in the beginning, the analysis of monumentality is needed to be done. As per the idea of Arkush and Ikehara (2019), in the western culture, monumentality is tagged with the physical evidences and it has impact over the psychology of the citizens and the tourists. On the contrary, Osborne (2017) has mentioned the emotional attachment of people with any structure or relics has its connection with monumentality. Hence, both physical and emotional factors are associated with the feelings of monumentality. The monuments in the western countries are rebuilt after a certain period by conserving the architectural attributes. Hence, from this angle, it can be analysed that the emotional feelings of the western country is strongly tied with the monumentality of the same. This is applicable for Parthenon as well.
On the other hand, it has also been noticed that, in the western countries like Greece, the deep spiritual feelings are also tagged with the architectures, monuments and relics which also helps in th4e conservation of the same. Hence, both the feelings of historical evidence, remnant of past and the spiritual factor act behind the conservation of architecture.
In the ancient time, Parthenon was built as a temple for a Greek Goddess at Athens. As per the research work of Lambrinou (2018), the term Parthenon has been coined to describe the aboard of a virgin and unmarried woman which helps to identify that this was the temple of Athena. After that the religion and politics have got intertwined in the context of the society of Greece. This has given a different feeling while analysing the history of Parthenon. However, as per Powell (2016), Parthenon was the temple of the goddess Athena, the Greek goddess of art, war fair, wisdom and handicrafts as well. She has been identified as the main goddess or the supreme goddess of the Athenian civilization. Hence, in the ancient time, a deep and strong spiritual feeling along with the symbol of spiritual power has been associated with Parthenon temple. The relics of Parthenon in the current time are still associated with the spirituality of the glorious past and the architecture still exhibits the same factor. In the upcoming segment, the history associated with Parthenon should be analysed along with its architectural factor. Now, in the context of spirituality, the association of Christianity along with age old Greek religion should be analysed. Macdonald (2018) has researched and identified that, in the time of the spreading of Christianity, probability in the 6th century CE, Parthenon has got tagged with Christianity. It has been identified as a holy church for the Christians, specifically for the Catholics and has turned into the church of Virgin Mary (Anderson, 2016). Hence, it can specifically be mentioned that a monument dedicated to Athena and Virgin Mary should certainly create a deep spiritual feeling among the peoples of different ethnicities.
However, there is a close relationship between spirituality and architecture. Barrie and Bermudez (2019) have mentioned that in order to create a specific architectural identity of a religion, the predominance of specific architectural elements is noticed. For example, in the context of the Islamic architectures the predominance of minarets and Domes is noticed. On the other hand, in the case of church, the use of spires, campanile and doms are used. In the architecture of the cathedral, the use of pointed towers at the tops along with crocket, Gable, Arcade and pinnacle is used (Canevaro, 2017). These have been identified specifically in the gothic spiritual architecture. Unlike to this, Parthenon has not been altered with the dominance of Christianity and the temple has been dedicated to Mary without alteration. This has invoked much curiosity about the conservation of ancient Greek architecture.
The heritage of Parthenon has been analysed from different angles and multiple research papers has been published about the historical significance of the same. As per the idea of Judkins (2016), the temple has firstly been constructed for Athena who indicates this monument as Athenian Acropolis. The history of Parthenon has started from the time of pre-Parthenon. Canevaro (2017) has mentioned that in this time, there was the old temple of Parthenon, which has been destroyed with the invasion done by the Persians in Greece. It has been identified between 490 to 488 BCE. Hence, the battle of Marathon has invoked the destruction of older Parthenon. On the other hand, the creation of the current Parthenon has been initiated in the time when the Athenian empire has acquired greatest power and the time is about 447BCE. The completion of the temple has been identified in 438. As per the idea of Judkins (2016), sculptor Phidias along with Callicrates and Ictinus have literally built this temple with gold and ivory statues of gods and goddesses. The statue of Athena has been kept in her prime position in the temple, to glorify her presence.
The destruction of Parthenon has a long historical significance which includes different wards and natural calamities. In the mid third century, a severe fire destroyed the roof of the temple which had initiated the destruction of this monument. After that, the attack of Heruli pirates has also brought harm to this construction. Hence, from this angle, it can be analysed that there were multiple rivals of the Athenian emperors who has initiated the destruction of the early Greek constructions among which Parthenon is one of the most important. On the contrary, van Rookhuijzen (2020) has mentioned Parthenon as the cult of Athenian democracy. In the early age of civilisation, Athens is one of the major kingdoms, where democracy has been established and it has been identified as the first democracy in the world. At the same time, in the other parts of Europe and Asia, autocracy and the reign of the monarch was going on. This has invoked a major crisis between the ideologies which has initiated the war as well. Hence, from this viewpoint, it can be analysed that Parthenon has its close association with not only the history but also with the politics of the country. The history has tagged the name of the roman emperors like Theodosus II, Zeno. The restoration of the temple with hellenic rits is still prominent in the architecture which indicates its historical significance. Fowden (2018) has researched about the degeneration of Parthenon and has mentioned that the loot of Athens and relocation of the cult image to Constantinople during the Fourth crusade has invoked major destruction of this temple. After that it has been converted to the church of Catholics and even a mosque during the attack of Ottoman emperor over Greece. Hence, Parthenon is still standing by being the confluence of ancient Greek religion along with catholic Christianity and Islamic religion as well.
The concept of monumentality has been analysed in the previous section and Parthenon of Greece is associated with the same. However, this architectural example can be expressed as a commemorative architecture. As per the viewpoint of Jones (2015) the construction which is done to commemorate a social group or an event or a person in the context of history and remembrance is generally termed as a commemorative architecture. Goddess Athena has been identified not only as a spiritual or religious icon of Greece but also the social and political icon of the same. Hence, primarily this construction has been done to commemorate the power and the existence of Athena in Athens however, with the passage of time; this architecture has taken the shape of remnants of the ancient history and culture of Greece. Hence, from this angle, it can be mentioned that the analysis of the architectural features of Parthenon has a specific value as it helps in the identification of the classical age and history of ancient Greece.
In every research paper it has been mentioned that Parthenon is an example of the classical architecture of Greece. However, this is quite different from that of the architecture of baroque, neo-classical period of western countries and even from the gothic and roman architecture as well. As per the idea of Lambrinou (2018), the Doric structure of this construction with consecutive long pillars and columns of Parthenon has turned as the key feature of the classical architecture of Greece. Additionally, the stylobate feature of architecture has been noticed at the base of the entire construction, which has provided a rigid platform for the same. As per the idea of Thapa (2017), a three stepped stylobate has been constructed at the base out of marble which is still noticed without any degeneration. The floor plane has been differentiated into an outer chamber called sekos and an inner chamber Naos which has been noticed in the other Greek structures. On the contrary, Lu (2016) has analysed and commented that Post and lintel is a type of structure where the vertical elements strongly hold the horizontal elements of a structure.
The rows of columns or beams hold the horizontal planes and plates such as roofs. This is noticed in the Indian, Neolithic and Egyptian architecture and Airavateswar temple of India is one of the classical examples having this type of architectural feature. Parthenon also has the same. Hence, from this angle, it can be analysed that, Parthenon has a resemblance with that of the Roman and Indian architecture in regards to some of the architectural features. On the other hand, the architectural plan consists of Octastyle where eight columns have been placed on either sides or seventeen columns on the other side. This factor has made the temple distinct from the architectural point of view than that of catholic churches or gothic cathedrals. However, as per the viewpoint of Lambrinou (2018), the triangular pediment at the top front of Parthenon temple has given it a distinct western architecture. Hence, from this angle, it can be analysed that, in the later age, the architecture of Parthenon has created influence over the architectures of the other countries like France, The UK and Rome as well. However, the triangular pediment has not been adopted in the Islamic countries where the predominance of dome is noticed at the top of the constructions. This triangular pectoral panel has been mentioned as metops.
In the cella chamber of the temple, the sculpture of Athena Parthenon has been kept. This was made out of gold and ivory which has been mentioned in the above action of this paper. As per the idea of Banteka (2015), the decorative stone works have been made over the walls and the panels of the entire temple, to give it a distinct look. The frieze of Doric structures has been decorated with different mythological characters and tales. The battle between giants and Olympian gods has been depicted in metopes of the temple. Judkins (2016) has mentioned that the social battle in the mythology has also made its place in the metopes and the example could be noticed in the west metop of the temple, where the Amazons are fighting with Athenians. The sculptures of lapiths, Centaurs or Theseus are noticed in the Metops. Hence, the research regarding the different mythological characters such as Centaurs of Greece can be done with the help of the metope sculptures of Parthenon. The dressing style of the ancient people along with their figure and look can be analysed from these sculptures. The frieze of the temple was also vividly beautified and relief sculptures have been noticed in this part. These structures are very much harmonic with the rest of the sculptures of the entire temple. This creates a great impression over the mind of the viewers. All these information have not been identified from the different paintings of Parthenon of different periods.
The restoration work has been continued by keeping all the aspects like history, spirituality or heritage of this commemorative architecture. However, few additions and alterations have been noticed. As per the viewpoint of Judkins (2016), the first restoration program has been taken at the time of the Roman emperor Julian and in this time the marble roof has been replaced with that of wooden roof. On the contrary, as per few other historians, clay tiles have also been applied in the process of restoration of the roof of the Parthenon. However, the restoration was not very long lasting and the current condition of the temple signifies the same.
On the other hand, the magnificent cella of Parthenon has been divided and side doors have been made, in the time of Christian predominance. This has turned the interior architecture of the temple a little bit different than that of the early days. However, in the first years, the architecture of this temple remained unaltered. The Christian iconostasis was placed at the western part of the construction. Few peristyles have been walled up during the metamorphosis of Parthenon to the church of Virgin Mary. The most interesting fact is that Apse has been built by following the traditional catholic architecture, which has further been altered during the ottoman rule. The apse has been turned into Mihrab. In few cases, the Persian spiritual architecture has been identified with the catholic or ancient Christianity and the transformation of apse to mihrab is one of the finest examples of the same that had happened at Parthenon during Ottomans (Fowden, 2018). The iconostasis of Athena has been replaced with that of christens and the Christina imagery has been white washed by the Turkish religious followers. After ottoman stagnation, the restoration process was slowly initiated by the Europeans. However, after the independence of Greece, again the initiative of restoration was taken. Lastly in 1975, the major restoration programme was initiated with the funding of the EU.
At the end of the study it can be concluded that the spiritual identity and iconography of Greek mythology along with Christianity and Turkish religion (Islamic religion) has created spiritual emotion among the population about Parthenon. This has turned this to a commemorative architecture and a cult of the history of Greece. Hence, the atheist statement has been met in the entire study. On the other hand, monumentality is tagged with the aura of greatness of that civilisation and in this context, Parthenon has great value.
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Arkush, E. and Ikehara, H.C., 2019. Pucarani: Defensive monumentality and political leadership in the late pre-Columbian Andes. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 53, pp.66-81.
Banteka, N., 2015. The Parthenon Marbles Revisited: A New Strategy for Greece. U. Pa. J. Int'l L., 37, p.1231.
Barrie, T. and Bermudez, J., 2019. Spirituality and architecture. In The Routledge International Handbook of Spirituality in Society and the Professions (pp. 345-355). Routledge.
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Fowden, E.K., 2018. The Parthenon, Pericles and King Solomon: a case study of Ottoman archaeological imagination in Greece. Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 42(2), pp.261-274.
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