At one time the Parthenon was teaming with people coming to worship the gods. If you had been there during that time you would have been awed by the sacred objects, the candles and the smells. I the area between the temple of Athena and the Erechteum would have stood a small shrine of the seed bearing earth paying homage to Zeus for rain. You see at that point in time drought was a major problem for Greece.
Sacrifices of Oxen for Celebrations in Athens of Old
On the Northeastern side of the Parthenon there would have been a large altar and sanctuary dedicated to Zeus Polieas who was a very ancient god. In June the ritual of the Bouphonia was celebrated here, with the sacrifice fo an ox. The offering would first be made to the go of fruits in thanks to the previous year’s harvest. The ox would eat from the sacred fruit and then a priest would slaughter it with an axe. After this the priest would leave, and because the blood of the ox would spill on the floor it was considered a sacrilege. The people would punish the axe by throwing it from the walls, especially since the perpetrator was no longer there. This way good luck would come upon the city.
The Beautiful Sculptures of Ancient Athens
If you had been there at that time you would have seen the bronze statues of Apollo and even Artemis as was described by Pausanias. Apollo was nicknamed “he who destroyed locusts.” Artemis would have been there to and he had the same name as a divinity in Asia minor. The 34 ft marble statue of Athena would have been there and on the south side near the entrance to the Parthenon would have been the bronze replicas of the poet Anakreaon, Pericles and Xanthippus, the great politicians.
Today, none of these statues or sculptures remain. There are a few broken pedestals, some inscriptions, and still important friezes, even so the structure is amazing and awe inspiring, so imagine what it must have been like back then.
Overlooking the Theater of Dionysus you would have seen other bronze statues, each standing about a meter high, constituting a votive offering made by Attalus Pergamum. Even today as you approach the edge for the way you come to the beautiful view of the theatre of Dionysus in all its glory.
Before actually visiting the Parthenon you should study up a bit on the history of ancient Greece.
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