In 1687, September 26 was also on a Friday.
It was also the day that the Parthenon in Athens was completely changed forever.
The Parthenon was mainly believed to be a temple, and after recent investigation, it is now known that it was more than likely used as a bank...so to speak. The Parthenon housed a grand statue of Athena.
This is the Parthenon that stands today in Nashville, Tenn. Complete with the 42 foot statue of Athena inside.
Work began in 1982 and was finished 8 years later. It is the largest indoor statue in the world. In her right hand is a statue of Nike, the goddess of Victory. On her helmet was a Sphinx and her breast, an ivory Medusa.
It was later learned that the Parthenon had doors that could be locked and grates that were inbetween the columns. The Parthenon was protecting something.
Upon further investigation, scientist discovered what exactly the Parthenon was keeping protected. It was the statue itself. Athena's clothing was of gold-plate, made removable in case of emergency. Athena's face, hands, and feet were of ivory, her eyes of precious jewels.
In the A.D. 500s, Christianization of the Roman Empire led to the rededication of temples, including the Parthenon, as Christian churches. By then the statue of Athena had disappeared. After the Turkish conquest of Greece, the Parthenon became a mosque. During a war the Turks used the Parthenon as an ammunition dump. On Friday, September 26, 1687, Venetian forces led by Morozini fired a single cannon shot. It was a direct hit on the Parthenon. A massive explosion followed resulting in partial damage to the structure. It was never repaired.
The Parthenon, as it stands today, in Athens.
There are three sets of sculptures - the metopes, the frieze and the pediments - created to adorn the Parthenon when it was built between 447BC and 432BC. Of these, the metopes and the frieze were part of the structure of the Parthenon itself. They were not carved first and then put in place, high up on the Parthenon, but were carved on the sides of the Parthenon itself after it had been constructed.
The metopes were individual sculptures in high relief. There were 92 metopes, 32 on each side and 14 at each end. The metopes were placed around the building, above the outside row of columns and showed various mythical battles. The north side showed scenes from the Trojan war; the south side showed a battle between the Greeks and the Centaurs; the east side showed the Olympian gods fighting giants and the west side showed a battle between Greeks and Amazons.
The frieze was placed above the inner row of columns, so it was not so prominently displayed. It is one long, continuous sculpture in low relief, showing the procession to the temple at the Panathenaic festival.
At either end of the temple, in the large triangular space, the pediment statues in the round were placed. These were designed to fill the space so that those at the highest point of the triangle are enormous. The pediment sculptures have been so badly damaged that we only know what they represent because of the writings of the Greek writer and traveller Pausanias. According to him, the sculptures in the east pediment represent the birth of Athena from the head of Zeus and the sculptures in the west pediment represent the struggle between Athena and Poseidon for the land of Attica.
By 1800 the romantic revival of European interest in its material past led to the looting of what remained of the Parthenon sculptures. Most notably, Lord Elgin, British ambassador to the Turkish court, obtained permission to carry off the pedimental fragments, now known as the Elgin Marbles, which then became the artistic nucleus of the British Museum in London.
Not all of the Parthenon Marbles, however, survive down to the present day. There were originally 115 panels in the frieze. Of these, ninety-four still exist, either intact or broken. Thirty six are in Athens, fifty-six are in the British Museum and one is in the Louvre. Of the original ninety-two metopes, thirty-nine are in Athens and fifteen are in London.
For many years the Greek government has requested the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum so that they can be reunited in one collection, in a museum to be built at the foot of the Acropolis Hill on which the remains of the Parthenon temple stand.