ARTH Courses | ARTH 209 Assignments

Mid-Term Project

The Parthenon

Our first seminar class is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, October 15, and will be devoted to an examination of the Parthenon. Since the Parthenon is such a central monument in the study of Greek art, we need to gain a good understanding of its historical and artistic contexts.

List of Topics
1) The Early History of the Acropolis to 480 B.C.
2) Periclean Athens and its position in the Greek world.
3) The Architecture of the Parthenon
4) The statue of Athena Parthenos by Phidias
5) The Metopes of the Parthenon
6) The Panathenaic Festival
7) The Ionic Frieze of the Panathenaic Procession
8) The Pedimental Sculptures of the Parthenon

Short Paper:
Each student is required to submit a three to five page paper responding to the seminar class. It would be impossible to summarize the whole class in the context of a paper of this scope, so instead you should pick an aspect or general theme which interests you to be the focus of your paper. Papers can be devoted to discussions of an individual work or a comparison of works. The papers will be due the week following the completion of the seminar (tentatively that would be October 26, but this is subject to change). The paper should be typed, and will be evaluated principally on the basis of the quality of the thinking presented in the paper.


What follows just skims the surface of the material available on the Parthenon. You are encouraged to explore your topic more extensively through the footnote and bibliographic sources found in these preliminary sources.

Required Reading

Web-page material:Gallery of Images related to the Parthenon & Parthenon Texts. You are also encouraged to review the page dedicated to the Parthenon I created for the ARTH 200 class.

Pedley, pp 249-265.

Other Web Links:

The Greeks: the Crucible of Civilization.

The Ancient City of Athens

The Parthenon Marbles

Secrets of the Parthenon (show on NOVA)

Suggested Reading:

John Boardman and David Finn, The Parthenon and its Sculpture.

John Boardman, Greek Sculpture: The Classical Period, pp. 90-145.

Paul Cartledge, "The Greek Religious Festivals," in Greek Religion and Society, P.E. Easterling and J.V. Muir eds., pp. 98-127.

David Castriota, Myth, Ethos and Actuality: Official Art in Fifth-Century Athens, University of Wisconsin, 1992, especially pp. 134-229.

William Bell Dinsmoor, The Architecture of Ancient Greece, pp. 159-178.

Simon Hornblower, "Greece: The History of the Classical Period," in The Oxford History of the Classical World, pp. 124-141.

Jeffrey M. Hurwit, The Art and Culture of Early Greece, 1100-480 B.C., pp. 234-253 (for the early history of the Acropolis).

Jennifer Neils ed., Goddess and Polis: The Panathenaic Festival in Ancient Athens, Princeton, 1992. (Available in the Hartwick Library).

J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Classical Greece, pp. 64-110.

Martin Robertson, A Shorter History of Greek Art, pp. 90-106.


areté: bravery, courage, personal excellence; later moral virtue.

hybris (hubris): arrogance, insolence, violence, injury, rape.

sophrosyné: self-restraint engendered by self-knowledge.

Athena Promachos or Polias: Athena a protector and champion of the city, and as the patroness of the urban arts and handicrafts.

Athena Nike: Athena of victory.

Athena Parthenos: Athena as warrior maiden.