parthenon

Although the Parthenon is architecturally a temple and is usually called so, it is not really one in the conventional sense of the word. A small shrine has been excavated within the building, on the site of an older sanctuary probably dedicated to Athena as a way to get closer to the god, but the Parthenon never hosted the cult of Athena Polias, patron of Athens: the cult image, which was bathed in the sea and to which was presented the peplos, was an olivewood xoanon, located at an older altar on the northern side of the Acropolis. The colossal statue of Athena by Phidias was not related to any cult and never inspired any recorded religious fervour. It did not seem to have any priestess, altar nor cult name. According to Thucydides, Pericles once referred to the statue as a gold reserve, stressing that it "contained forty talents of pure gold and it was all removable". The Athenian statesman thus implies that the metal, obtained from contemporary coinage, could be used again without any impiety.[45] The Parthenon should then be viewed as a grand setting for the votive statue of Phidias rather than a cult site. It is said in many writings of the Greeks that there were many treasures stored inside, such as Persian swords, and small statue figures made of precious metals. One theory has said that the Parthenon was actually a wonderful storehouse, which led to its destruction when war supplies were stored inside, and a way-ward cannon during the Peloponnese War blew the Parthenon up.