Who destroyed the Parthenon? Who sadly bombed it?

Who destroyed the Parthenon

Who destroyed the Parthenon? – When you visit the Parthenon for the first time you may feel disappointed because it doesn’t be well preserved. This is especially true if you don’t know all the things that has happend to the Parthenon.

The temple has endured many vicissitudes. Not only the time has ruined the Parthenon but also some people, in the course of history, did their part in taking off works of art from the Parthenon. Furthermore it was also bombed! Who destroyed the Parthenon? Who bombed it?

Who destroyed the Parthenon?

The First destruction: the fire

The first major destruction occured in 267 AD due to arson. In the late 3rd or late 4th cent A.D., the interior of the temple was destroyed by fire either by Germanic tribe of the Heruli (267 A.D.) or by Alaric’s Visigoths (396 A.D.)

The early Christian period

During the early Christian period (6th cent A.D.), the new perceptions on art led the destruction of many works of art around Greece. This included many of Parthenon’s sculptures.

The Parthenon became the church of the Holy Virgin of Athens, the largest in the city. During the construction of the Christian apse at the east porch, the central scene of the east pediment with the birth of Athena was lost. After 1205, it felt into hands of the Franks of the 4th Crusade, becoming a church of the Latin faith.

The Parthenon becomes a Minaret

When Athens was surrendered to the Ottoman Turks in 1458, the temple became a mosque with a minaret.

In 1687, during the siege of the Acropolis by the troops of Venetian general Francesco Morosini a cannoball made a direct hit in the interior of the temple, which the Turks used as powder magazine. The terrible explosion blew up the roof and destroyed the long sides of the temple as well as parts of its sculptures.

1456 The Ottomans conquer Athens. The site of the Acropolis is used for habitation while the Parthenon is converted in a mosque.

Who bombed it?

Who destroyed the Parthenon? In 1687, during the siege of the Acropolis by the troops of Venetian general Francesco Morosini a cannoball made a direct hit in the interior of the temple, which the Turks used as powder magazine. The terrible explosion blew up the roof ond destroyed the long sides of the temple as well as parts of its sculptures.

1687 The Venetians siege the Acropolis which is under Turkish occupation. An artillery shell hits the Parthenon, which is being used by the Turks as a powder magazine and ignites a colossal explosion. The monument shakes and is widely damaged. The east frieze collapses.

1688 Francesco Morosini, the commanding Admiral of the Venetians, tries to remove the horses and Poseidon statues from the west pediment to transport them to Venice. The operation is unsuccessful, the statues fall dawn to the ground and shatter.

Who destroyed the Parthenon Who bombed the Parthenon

Who destroyed the Parthenon? Elgin

Who destroyed the Parthenon? The most severe damage to the monument was caused in 1801-1802, when the Scotch ambassador of England to Constantinople Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, removed the gretest part of the sculptures that also compromised structural members of the temple.

By bribing the Turkish garrison of the Acropolis and employng teams of the Italian artist G.B. Lusieri, Elgin removed and transported to England 19 pedimental sculptures, 15 metopes and the reliefs of 56 sawn blocks of the frieze, today exhibited in the British Museum in London.

1799 Thomas Bruce, 7th Lord of Elgin, is appointed Ambassador of His Brittanic Majesty in Constantinople in order to reinforce the relationships between the Ottoman Empire and Britain.

1800 Elgin organize a mission to Athens in order to, as it was officially stated, study, sketch and make casts of the sculptures of the Parthenon. The group includes architects, moulders and the painter Feodor Ivanovitch. The court’s painter Don Giovanni Battista Luisieri is chosen to led the mission.

Elgin’s fervent desire to obtain the original scupltures emerges very soon and results in the uncontrollable plundering of the Acropolis. Using his political influence and by generously bribing the officils he secures the authorities concession. The removal and transportation of the inscriptions, sculptures and architectural members from the Acropolis begins in July of 1801 and last 4 years.

1802 September. Block V of the eastern frieze, which lays on the ground is sawed off to diminish weight from approximately becomes less than during the transportation it breakes in two pieces.

1802 September 16th The block is packed and loaded on the brig Mentor. During the voyage the ship is hit by a storm and sinks.

1804 – 1805 The cargo’s retrieval is completed. The artifacts from the shipwreck are loaded onboard ship and continue their jouney to England. Block V arrived in London throught Malta.

1801, July 31st. Elgin begins to detach the metopes of the southern side of the Pathenon. Metope 27 is the first one to be removed. The procedure is depicted ans documented by the English painter E. Dodwell, an Eye witness.

“I saw several metopae at the south-east extremity of the temple taken down. They were fixed in between the triglyphs as in a groove; and in order to lift the up it was necessary to throw to the ground the magnificent cornice by which they were covered.”

After its removal from the Parthenon the metope ends up in England in 1802.

1962 The British Museum opens a new room the Duveen Gallery, which houses the sculptures from the Parthenon.

YouTube Channel

Have you already Subscribed to our YouTube Channel? Subscribe here!

Related Posts

Who destroyed the Parthenon? Related content:

Athens Acropolis: 4 Authentic Ancient Greek Temples

Authentic Ancient Greek Acropolis

Athens Acropolis – Are you going to visit the Acropolis of Athens? The Acropolis of Athens is very famous for its Authentic Ancient Greek Temples.

In order to appreciate more your visit it’s useful to read this post to have more information about the ancient Greek Temples in the Acropolis.

The Erechtheion: ancient Greek Temple of the Ionic order

The Erechtheion is one of the most famous Ancient Greek Temples in the Athens Acropolis because of the Caryatids. It is one of the ancient Greek temples of the Ionic order. Its name comes from the name of Erechtheus, the mythical king of Athens.

The construction probably started before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War (431 B.C) or after the conclusion of the “peace of Nicias” (421 B C. and was finished in 406 B C.).

Authentic Ancient Greek Temples in Athens Acropolis Erechtheion

The Erechtheion consists of two sections divided by an interior wall. The eastern section was 3 m higher than the western. It was dedicated to Athena and housed the Xoanon, the ancient wooden cult statue of the goddess. 

The western section was also divided into three parts dedicated to the cult of Poseidon, Hephaestus and the hero Butes.

Authentic Ancient Greek Temples in Athens Acropolis Erechtheion

At the south side there is the Porch of the Maidens. The roof of the porch is supported by six statues of young women. At the north side there is instead a porch with 6 Ionic columns.

Today the figures of white marble, that were attached on the decoration of the upper part of the building are preserved in the Acropolis Museum.

Also the original Caryatids are preserved in the Acropolis Museum. Infact the ones in the temple are only copies.

Authentic Ancient Greek Temples in Athens Acropolis Caryatids

The Temple of Athena Nike: a small Greek Temple

The Temple of Athena Nike is a small ancient greek temple on the Acropolis of Athens. It was dedicated to Athena Nike, the goddess of war and protectress of the city. It was built in the classical era, around 420 B.C. 

The classical temple was built over an earlier small temple, which housed the Xoanon. 

Authentic Ancient Greek Temples in Athens Atena nike

The architect Kallikrates built the classical temple in the Ionic order, with four columns at the front and as well as the rear. It’s made with the native Pentelic marble.

In the temple rich sculptural decoration praises the victorious battles of the Athenians.

Gold-plated bronze Nike decorated the corners of the gables. The Ionic frieze, which runs along the upper part of the temple depicts Greek wars and on the east side the assembly of the Olympian gods. 

The Old Temple of Athena

The Old Temple of Athena on the Athens Acropolis was an Archaic temple situated to the south of the Erechtheion.

Today only the foundations are still visible. This ancient Greek temple was built in 525-500 BC. It was destroyed in 480 BC, during the Persian invasion. Many of its parts are now incorporated in the wall of the Acropolis. 

It was dedicated to Athena Polias and it housed the xoanon, as well as the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. The western section was divided into three parts. It was possibly dedicated to the cult of Poseidon, Hephaestus and the hero Boutes.

The Old Temple of Athena is a Doric peripteral building. It has 6 columns at the front, as well as at the rear, and 12 at the sides. It was built of poros, while marble was used for some upper parts, such as the metopes, pedimental sculptures and tiles. 

One pediment was adorned with a sculpted group illustrating the Gigantomachy, while other featured a partially preserved group of lions devouring a bull.

The altar located to the east of the temple is no longer preserved.

The Parthenon

Last but not least on the Athens Acropolis there is the famous Parthenon. There is a lot to say about this temple. If you want to know more about this Ancient Greek Temple visit the following page: Why is the Parthenon so special? Why is it famous?

View from Athens Acropolis

Watch the following video of the view from Athens Acropolis and Subscribe to our YouTube Channel if you aren’t already subscrided! Subscribe here!

Athens Acropolis – Related posts:

Is the Parthenon open to the public? How much is it?

Is the Parthenon open to the public

Yes, it is. You can visit the Parthenon when you visit the Acropolis.

How much does it cost to visit the Parthenon in Greece?

When you by the ticket you pay not only for the Parthenon but for all the Acropolis. The entrance ticket is 20 euros but during the winter season between the 1st November and 31th March the ticket is reduced to 10 euros.

You can also buy a combined ticket for 30 Euros that includes:

  • the Acropolis and its Slopes
  • the Ancient Agora
  • The Roman Agora
  • Hadrians’s library
  • Olympieion
  • Kerameikos
  • Aristotele’s Lykeion

The combined ticket is valid for 5 days.

Is the Parthenon open to the public? How much is it? 1

Can you go inside the Parthenon?

No, you can’t go inside the Parthenon. The Parthenon area is surrounded by a division that doesn’t let you enter inside. Anyway you can walk all around the temple.

Related Posts:

Who was the Parthenon built for? Who built it and why?

visit the partheon athens

Who was the Parthenon built for?

The Parthenon is a temple of the Doric order and was dedicated to Athena Parthenos.

Who built it and why?

The ancient fortifications, buildings and statues on the Acropolis were destroyed during the Persian occupation of 480 BC. After that period the acropolis ceases to be a fortress.

After the Victory of Marathon in 490 BC, Pericles wanted to celebrate the victory over the Persians and the political, economic and cultural primacy of Athens. For this reason the reconstruction of the Acropolis began and the city began to build on the Acropolis a temple for Athena: the Parthenon itself.

The Parthenon is the most important building of the programme of Perikles for the re-establisment of the Acropolis sanctuary.

The architects of the temple were Iktinos and Kallikrates. The renowned sculptor Pheidas collaborated with other sculptors to design and execute the big sculptural work of the decoration of the temple. He created also the 13 metres tall statue of Athena made by gold and ivory which stood inside the temple. The Parthenon was built in 447-438 B.C. and its sculptural compositions were completed in 432 B.C.

The Parthenon is the temple that Perikles wanted to erect on the Acropolis as a symbol of the victory of the greek union. It was the symbol of the passage from the old religious traditions of the individual communities to what we could call the religious ideology of united Greece.

The construction of a monument of unprecedented splendor was a way to affirm the ideological and political supremacy of Athens.

The Parthenon is a lasting symbol of ancient Greece and Athenian democracy, and certainly represents one of the largest cultural monuments in the world.

Related posts:

Why is the Parthenon so special, extraordinary and famous?

Why is the Parthenon so special

Why is the Parthenon so special? The Parthenon is so special for 3 main reasons:

  • what it symbolized
  • how it was built
  • the many fine works of Art

Why is the Parthenon so special?

What the Partheon symbolized

Why is the Parthenon so special? The Parthenon is so special because first of all is the symbol of Athens democracy. It was built after the victory on the Persians who occupied Athens in 480 BC. It was built to celebrate the victory and Athens political, economic and cultural superiority.

How it was built

The Parthenon is unique for its proportion and for the way it was built.

The Parthenon is the final result of a long course of development of the Doric order, which had began at least 250 years earlier. It is built from Pentelic marble. The precision with which the marble was worked is astonishing.

It comprises around 16500 pieces that are joined together other perfectly. Yet most impressive of all is the indiscernible deviation from a strict geometric form to create the famous optical refinements. This was made to have the desired effect.

The lines of the crepisis of the entablature curve slightly upwards rather than being straight. The shaft of the columns also have a slight convex curve which becomes narrower at 2/5 of their height.

The corner columns of each side are a little wider than all the others. All the columns have a small inclination toward the cella. These and other alterations from strict symmetry and uniformity serve to instill an additional pulse into the building.

As you can well understand it wasn’t easy to get the exact best result and effect desired. This is a demostration of the skill the Athenians had in maths and geometry.

Parthenon works of art

The Parthenon is unique for the richness and quality of its sculptures.

The Statue of Athena

The most precious statue in the Parthenon was the statue of Athena. The central part of the temple was divided in 2 sections: the eastern and the western.

The great gold and ivory statue of the goddess Athena was guarded in the eastern section. This magnificent work of art was made by the sculptor Pheidias and it was very big because it was about 13 metres tall. For all these reasons the statue of Athena was considered a masterpiece in antiquity. Unfortunately this statue is now lost.

The frieze

The frieze encircled the cella externally 12 metres above its base. It has a total length of 160 metres and around a metre high. It was made by 115 bas-relief blocks with sculpture depictions of people and animals in motion represented, in a continuos way, all along the frieze.

The faces of the figures resemble each other but they have a great variety in their poses, movements and clothing. They are serious and calm, showing character, spirituality and pride. The horses of the procession are all shown in profile. Some walk quietly, others gallop, and others fight with each other. The head mane and tail give to each horse distinct individuality.

The frieze was not only well graven but also well painted with rich colours that embellished the figures.

The statues in the pediments

Really noteworthy were the statues in the pediments. The pediments are the triangular areas formed by the sloping and horizontal cornices of the roof over the two narrow ends of the temple. The colossal sculpures of the Parthenon followed a specific theme. The east pediment depicts the birth of the goddess Athena and the west part depicts the conflict between Athena and Poseidon for the possesion of Attica.

These statues were carved with the same care in the front side and on the back even if nobody would see the back of the statue. This was important because they were made as offering to the gods and they had to be perfect.

YouTube Channel

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel if you aren’t already subscrided! Subscribe here!

Related Posts

Why is the Parthenon so special? Related Posts:

————————- Why is the Parthenon so special ————————————-