Acropolis (Athens, 5th century B.C.)

Acropolis (Athens, 5th century B.C.)

The world's most famous citadel, the Acropolis of Athens was built in the 5th century B.C., during the Age of Pericles.

History

Keywords

Acropolis, citadel, Pheidias, Pericles, Hellas, World Heritage, Pallas Athena, Parthenon, building, city-state, Zeus, Greeks, Greek, Greece, Athens, Ictinus, Callicrates, edifice, polis, deities, Doric, tympanum, pedestal, portico, Ionic, religion, caryatid, sanctuary, Caryatids, age of peace, church, column, pediment detail, antiquity, history, defense

Related items

Questions

  • In which part of the Greek city-states\nwere the acropolises usually located?
  • When was the citadel of Athens built?
  • Who was the chief god in the\nGreek religion?
  • Which goddess was worshipped in the temple built next to the gateway?
  • When was the last Athenian tyrant expelled?
  • Which of these is the synonym of city-state?
  • Which of these was a function of the Acropolis?
  • Which of these was a function of the Acropolis?
  • Who was the chief designer of the religious works of the Athenian citadel?
  • What is the first letter in the\nGreek alphabet?
  • What is the last letter in the\nGreek alphabet?
  • Who was the patron goddess of Athens?
  • How was Pallas Athena born,\n according to Greek mythology?
  • Who was the goddess of science and crafts, according to Greek mythology?
  • What is the name of the gateway of the Acropolis of Athens?
  • In which Greek architectural style was the Temple of Athena Nike built?
  • What is the name of the largest temple of the Acropolis of Athens?
  • How do we call a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support, taking the place of\na column?
  • In which building of the Acropolis of Athens are the caryatids?
  • Which building of the Acropolis of Athens is the "bronze store"?
  • Which one of the following was not an Athenian statesman?
  • Who was a tyrant?
  • Who/what held the most power in the Athenian democracy?
  • What was the serving time of officers in the Athenian democracy?

Scenes

Acropolis

  • Parthenon - The largest, Doric style temple of the ancient world, the central building of the Acropolis.
  • Erechtheion - Ionian style temple, with female figures serving as columns (Caryatids) on its side.
  • Chalkotheke - A hall created for the storage of ritual gifts dedicated to Pallas Athena ("bronze store").
  • statue of Athena Promachos - Goddess of science and wisdom who protected the city, which was named after her ("Athena who fights in the front line").
  • Brauroneion - A shrine erected as a place of worship of Artemis, the virgin goddess of hunting.
  • Propylaia - Ancient Greek gate building. In the Acropolis it consisted of two halls and five passageways.
  • Temple of Athena Nike - The shrine was built in the Ionian order for the worship of Athena ("Athena the victorious").
  • Athens - The centre of one of the most important poleis of ancient Greece. It was named after the goddess Athena.
  • Aegean Sea - It is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea. It has a surface area of 214,000 km2.
  • Piraeus - A town on the Aegean coast, lying southwest of Athens. It was the port of ancient Athens.
  • road - A road bordered by walls connecting Athens to Piraeus. Most of the merchandise was transported from the port to the city on this road.

The citadel of Athens

Acropolises (citadels) were building complexes, used primarily for religious purposes, in ancient Greece. They were generally located in the city centers, on top of hills.

The most famous example is in Athens, atop a blue-gray limestone rock that rises 150 m (492 ft) above sea level.

In the golden age of Athenian democracy, in the 5th century B.C., Pericles commissioned one of the most famous artists of the ancient times, Pheidias to draw up the plans. The constructions were managed by Ictinus and Kallikrates. Magnificent buildings were constructed one after the other on the infertile rock. The Archeological Society organized large-scale excavations at the Acropolis in the second half of the 19th century, but the restoration is still not over. The Acropolis became a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site in 1987.

Bust of Pheidias

Propylaia

The gateway

The term Propylaea generally refers to ancient Greek gateway. The gateway of the Acropolis of Athens was built between 437 and 432 B.C., based on the plans by Mnesicles. (The original plans have never been totally implemented, for several reasons.)

The gateway was composed of a central hall and side wings. The central hall was carried by columns; the six Doric columns of the façade formed five passageways.

The grandiose stairs leading to the gate were only constructed later, during the Roman era.

Out of the five gates and two halls of Propylaia, today only remnants of the boarded ceiling and the outer columns are still standing.

The gateway today

Parthenon

Temple of the virgin goddess

The Parthenon was the most impressive, central building of the Acropolis. One of the largest temples of the antique world, it was built between 447 and 432 B.C., based on the plans of Pheidias. The constructions were managed by Ictinus and Kallikrates. It was named after the epithet of the patron of the city, Pallas Athena (Athena Parthenos, Virgin Athena).

The temple was built in the Doric order. A staged substructure holds the outer columns (altogether 46) and the walls. The saddle roof and the two triangular façades ornamented with reliefs were held by the columns. The central cella of the temple was divided into two parts by a wall. The ivory sculpture of Athena, 11-12 m (36-39 ft) tall, designed by Pheidias- was in the bigger part, while the smaller cella was used as a treasury.

The Parthenon today

Erechteion

The building of the Caryatids

The plateau of the Acropolis is dominated by two temples: the Parthenon and the Erechtheion. The latter one was built in Ionian style. The specialty of this temple is the six female figures carved from stone holding the terrace-like hall (Erechtheion).

Caryatids are female statues used as columns (the male counterparts are called atlas figures). Caryatids were not only used by the ancient Greek architecture later styles also used them. The column hall of Erechtheion is an outstanding example even among other antique Caryatids.

The caryatids

Athena Promachos

The patron

City patron Pallas Athena became an Olympian as the child of Zeus and Metis. She was worshiped by the ancient Greeks as the goddess of wisdom, justice, crafts and arts. (Although she was born out of Zeus' head as a result of a hit by Hephaestus' hammer, she was still the favorite child of her father.)

Athena was also the protector of cities. She had to compete with Poseidon for a city in Attica. The competition was won by the goddess, so the city was named Athens after her. Naturally the most important buildings of the Acropolis were constructed in honor of the protector goddess (Athena Polias). However, Pheidias expressed his honor for Athena with another grand work as well. He made a colossal bronze statue, standing at an open part of the citadel, this way being visible from far in clear weather.

City patron Pallas Athena

Animation

  • Parthenon - The largest, Doric style temple of the ancient world, the central building of the Acropolis.
  • Erechtheion - Ionian style temple, with female figures serving as columns (Caryatids) on its side.
  • Chalkotheke - A hall created for the storage of ritual gifts dedicated to Pallas Athena ("bronze store").
  • statue of Athena Promachos - Goddess of science and wisdom who protected the city, which was named after her ("Athena who fights in the front line").
  • Brauroneion - A shrine erected as a place of worship of Artemis, the virgin goddess of hunting.
  • Propylaia - Ancient Greek gate building. In the Acropolis it consisted of two halls and five passageways.
  • Temple of Athena Nike - The shrine was built in the Ionian order for the worship of Athena ("Athena the victorious").
  • statue of Athena Parthenos - The 12-m-tall (39-ft-tall) sculpture was designed by Phidias. Ivory was used to represent the fair complexion of the goddess ("Athena the virgin").
  • helmet - It was adorned with a sphinx flanked by two winged horses.
  • goddess of victory - Pallas Athena holds the statue of Nike in her right hand.
  • Doric column - Inside the cella ten of them stood along the longer side walls and five along the rear wall.
  • shield - It is decorated with scenes of the battle between the Greeks and the Amazons.
  • cella (naos) - The inner chamber of Greek and Roman temples, enclosed with walls, where the cult statue stood.

Walk

Time travel

Parthenon (cutaway)

  • pediment
  • cornice
  • tympanum - A semi-circular or triangular area within the pediment, defined by the horizontal cornice along the bottom and the raking (sloping) cornice along the sides. It was commonly decorated with reliefs and statues.
  • pedestal
  • 31 m (102 ft)
  • opisthonaos - Rear portico.
  • 70 m (230 ft)
  • opisthodomos - The word originally referred to a chamber in the temple that had no connection with the cella.
  • external portico
  • Doric column - Eight columns stood at the front and back, and seventeen along the sides.
  • metope - A rectangular architectural element that fills the space between two triglyphs in a Doric frieze.
  • acroterion - Architectural ornament.
  • Parthenon - The largest temple on the Acropolis of Athens that was dedicated to the goddess Pallas Athena. Based on designs by Phidias, Iktinos and Kallikrates led the construction work, which lasted 10 years. The building was completed by 438 B.C.
  • roof structure
  • cella (naos) - The inner chamber of Greek and Roman temples, enclosed with walls, where the cult statue stood.
  • Ionic column - The parthenon was decorated with four of them. This was the first time that Doric and Ionic elements were blended to decorate the interior of a building.
  • west pediment detail - It depicts the fight between Pallas Athena and Poseidon for the land of Attica.

Athena Parthenos

  • statue of Athena Parthenos - The 12-m-tall (39-ft-tall) sculpture was designed by Phidias. Ivory was used to represent the fair complexion of the goddess ("Athena the virgin").
  • helmet - It was adorned with a sphinx flanked by two winged horses.
  • goddess of victory - Pallas Athena holds the statue of Nike in her right hand.
  • Doric column - Inside the cella ten of them stood along the longer side walls and five along the rear wall.
  • shield - It is decorated with scenes of the battle between the Greeks and the Amazons.
  • cella (naos) - The inner chamber of Greek and Roman temples, enclosed with walls, where the cult statue stood.

Athens

  • agricultural area
  • city gate
  • city wall
  • Acropolis - A citadel built on an easily defendable high hill. It was the religious centre of ancient Greek poleis.
  • Hill of Ares - Areopagus. It is a hill located northwest of the Acropolis, which used to be the meeting place of the Areopagite Council.
  • agora - Marketplace and sanctuary. One of the main commercial, political and religious centres of ancient Greek cities.
  • residential buildings

Narration

The Acropolises occupied a significant position in the Antique Greek city-states. These citadels were constructed in the center of the polis at a location that could be easily defended. Apart from serving defense purposes, they were also religious centers.

The citadel of Athens has a special place among the many acropolises. It is not only its size and the quality of its design and construction that raise it above similar buildings of Ancient Greece, but also its historical significance. Located on a limestone rock on the Attica plateau, the Acropolis was built in the 5th century B.C., during the peaceful Age of Pericles. The main designer of the religious art here was Phidias, one of the most famous Hellenistic sculptors in this area.

A complex, monumental gateway, the Propylaea, served as an entrance to the sacred area. The grand marble gate was designed by Mnesicles.

In the Roman era, a staircase was added to it, next to which stood one of the finest examples of Ionic architecture, the Temple of Athena Nike.

Most of the buildings located on the rock promontory above the city were erected in honor of Athena, the goddess that protected the city named after her. The magnificent bronze statue of Athena stood in the central, open-air space of the acropolis, safeguarding the city she favored above others.

The Chalkotheke ("bronze store") was the site for collecting ritual presents dedicated to the goddess.

Among the buildings of the Acropolis stands one of the largest, most famous and most significant temples of the antique world, the Parthenon. Based on designs by Phidias, Iktinos and Kallikrates led the construction of this work of art that blends a Doric architectural order with Ionic elements. The larger cella of the temple housed the handiwork of the most famous Hellenistic sculptor: the 12-meter-tall (39-feet-tall) sculpture of Athena.

Apart from the treasured daughter of Zeus, other gods also occupied a place on the Acropolis. The Erechteion was also one of the religious temples of the Acropolis. It became famous for its caryatids, the maiden figures that served as supporting columns. Unfortunately, only the ruins have remained from the sanctuary of Artemis (Brauroneion).

The Acropolis of Athens, which attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year, received its well-deserved place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1987.

Related items

Types of ancient Greek columns

The Doric, Ionic and Corinthian order of columns are different in size and ornamentation as well.

Ancient Athenian citizen with his wife

The Athenian democracy was built on the community of citizens with full rights.

Theater of Dionysus (Athens, 4th century B.C.)

The theater that has a distinctive shape and excellent acoustics was situated at the side of the Acropolis in Athens.

Ancient Greek merchant ship

Ancient Greeks became the ‘carters of the sea’ thanks to their advanced sailing ships.

Bastille (Paris, 18th century)

The Parisian prison became legendary after the Revolution of 1789.

Olympia (5th century B.C.)

The Olympic Games, held in the town every 4th year after 776 B.C. made it one of the centers of ancient Greece.

Trojan horse

According to Homer’s epic, Odysseus’ Stratagem caused the loss of Troy.

Wonders of the Ancient World

Today only one of the Wonders of the Ancient World is still intact: the Pyramids of Giza.

Ancient Greek house

The average house in Ancient Greece had a rectangular, geometrical floor plan and two stories.

Ancient Greek pottery

The masterpieces of ancient Greek potters are important archeological artifacts.

Apoxyomenos

The characteristic ancient Greek statue was found on the bottom of the Adriatic Sea.

Greek gods

The Olympian gods in ancient Greek mythology were as diverse as humans.

Knossos Palace (2nd millenium B.C.)

The largest bronze-age building complex of ancient Crete was probably the center of Minoan civilization.

Mycenae (2nd century B.C.)

The city with advanced culture was the first settlement in history to have a citadel.

Treasury of Atreus (Mycenae, 14th century BC)

A beehive tomb on the site of the ancient city of Mycenae, attributed to the legendary king.

Milestones of sculpture

The animation shows five outstanding works in the history of sculpture.

The city of Babylon (6th century B.C.)

The ancient city of Babylon was built on the banks of the Euphrates River in Mesopotamia.

Added to your cart.