|© Copyright 2003 : Amir Sobati|
490 BCRight after the historic battle of Marathon in 490 BC against the Persians, Athenians commence the building of the predecessor of the Parthenon (Pre-Parthenon) in order to honor the goddess Athena who defended and brought victory to their city. But the Persians in 480 BC sacked that temple, which was under construction and it was never completed. It is also said that there was a Parthenon in the archaic times, but many scholars question its existence.
447 - 438 BCThe building of Parthenon begins in 447 BC and finishes in 438 BC. In 432 BC the sculptural ornamentation is completed.
426 BCAfter a strong earthquake in 426 BC, which according to Thucydides was one of the strongest in antiquity, extensive damages were caused to the building, since a large part of both its façades shifted by 2 cm.
334 BCAlexander the Great hangs at the east architrave Persians shields, spoils from the battle of Granicus. During the Hellenistic period
295 BCLaharis, who was deputy of the Macedonian king Cassander in Athens, brutally removes the precious metal offerings from the temple, among them the priceless veil (peplos) of Athena Parthenos, covered with sheets of gold. The temple loses forever its previous riches. According to Pausanias, around 290 BC they replaced the stolen golden sheets with gold-plated copper sheets.
267 ADA fire destroys the interior of the temple, causing the large beams holding the marble ceiling weighting almost 350 tons, to collapse. Also seriously damaged were the interior columns and the two enormous doors, which weighted almost 30 tons.
4th - 6th cent. ADChristianity takes a firm hold in Greece, and the Parthenon’s pagan use is abolished in 5th AD. During Justinian’s reign, the temple hosts Christian rituals. Parthenon’s conversion to a Christian church had serious negative effects; many of the metopes on the west, east and north sides were chiseled off. In addition, the bigger pediment statues, located in the middle of the east pediment, were taken down and 6 Blocks of the frieze were removed to create windows. Also an apse was added, new entrances on the west side were opened, and a staircase was placed in the NW corner of the cella. The Christian Parthenon is dedicated to St. Sophia and later to Virgin Mary, for many centuries, its common name is “Our Lady of Athens”.
1204 - 1456 ADAcropolis is under the control of the Franks, of the 4th crusade and the Parthenon is used as their cathedral. Later, with Papal permission, it became the Archbishop seat of Virgin Mary.
1456 - 1460 ADIn 1456, Ottomans besiege Athens and throw away the Franks. In 1458, Mehmed II the Conqueror, who also sacked Constantinople, visits Athens and admires its monuments. On his return from Peloponnese, he stops once more in Athens and shortly afterwards the Parthenon is converted into a mosque.
1687 ADVenetians besiege Ottomans on the Acropolis, who had stored large quantities of gunpowder inside the Parthenon. Knowing this, Francesco Morosini, the general commander of the Venetians, in the evening of September 26th fired at the Parthenon. One of the shells penetrated the roof, causing ignition of the gunpowder and explosion at the middle part of the temple.
1801 - 1804 ADLord Elgin’s crews detach by force 56 slabs of the frieze, 15 of its metopes and 19 out of 28 pediment statues. They also attain architectural fragments from the Parthenon. From the Propylea, the temple of Athena Nike and the Erechthium, they take architectural parts and sculptures. From the Erechthium, in particular, they take one of Caryatids and an ionic column. This painful process of desecration stopped in 1804, after the intervention of the Sublime Port of Constantinople.
1826 - 1833 ADIn 1826 the Turks, under Kioutachi Pasha, besiege Greeks on the Acropolis, who after heroic resistance, surrender in March 1827. A few years later, in 1833, Greeks are liberated from the Turkish yoke and their monument finds again its freedom.