The Social Context Of The Goddess Athena And The Athenians

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Three key features of the Parthenon that reflected the social context of the goddess Athena and the Athenians are the Pediments, the Internal Frieze and the Athena Parthenos. The Parthenon, meaning “of the virgin” referring to the goddess Athena, was built in 447 BC and opened to the public in 432 BC. It is located in the south side of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece and was built to house the cult statue of Athena.

There are two pediments on the Parthenon; one on the East side over the Naos (interior room), the other on the West side over the Opisthodomos (back porch). The East pediment shows the birth of Athena. Zeus had eaten Metis, who was pregnant with Athena at the time. She gave birth in Zeus’ stomach and Athena climbed into his head. It hurt so much that Zeus ordered Hephaestus to cut open his head with an axe. Athena then leaped from the wound in full battle armour. On this pediment, Zeus and Athena are portrayed as being the same size, which is unusual as men were seen as superior to women so were portrayed as larger. This is significant because it shows how highly the Athenians thought of their patron goddess; enough to be the equal of the king of the gods. The Athenians chose this myth to be shown on the pediment because it represents how highly Athena is thought of and it is also the story of her birth, which without there would be no Athens. This reflects the social context of the Parthenon because…

The West pediment shows the contest for Athens between

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