The Parthenon, a Doric
temple dedicated to
Athena, dominates the
Acropolis. It was built in
the period 447-432 BCE.
The name Parthenon
derives from “parthenos”
(virgin). Athena was the
virgin goddess who
The Parthenon is a Doric temple. There are three Greek architectural orders: the Doric, Ionic, and
Corinthian. Doric is the simplest or plainest of these three orders. You can identify these orders
by looking at the capital (i.e. the top of the column). A Doric capital is plain, an Ionic capital has
a curve or “volute”, and Corinthian capital has leaves
This is what the
shape) of the
like. The figures
in the middle
are Athena and
her father Zeus.
This is all that remains today. The figures of Athena and her father Zeus are missing. Notice the
horses’ heads at either end, representing the rising and the setting of the sun. The other figures
are various Greek gods and goddesses. The running figure, for instance, is probably Iris, the
messenger goddess, who is announcing the birth of Athena. These marble figures are called the
These figures, still part of the Elgin Marbles, occupied the right-
hand side of the east pediment (triangle) of the Parthenon .
Inside the Parthenon were a series of carvings or reliefs showing a procession of
Athenian citizens. This quadrennial (i.e. every four years) procession presented a new
dress or peplos to a statue of Athena. This part of the frieze shows Athenian horseman
taking part in procession.