What Does Parthenon Mean in Ancient Greece?

The Parthenon is one of the most iconic structures in ancient Greece. Built in the 5th century BCE, this temple stands on the Acropolis hill in Athens.

It was dedicated to the goddess Athena, who was considered the patron deity of the city. The word “Parthenon” itself has an interesting meaning and is derived from the Greek word “parthenos,” which translates to “virgin.”

The Purpose of the Parthenon
The Parthenon served as a symbol of Athenian power and wealth during a time when Athens was at its peak. It was not only a place of worship but also housed various treasures and artifacts dedicated to Athena. The temple’s primary function was to house a colossal statue of Athena made of gold and ivory, known as Athena Parthenos.

The Architectural Beauty
One cannot discuss the Parthenon without mentioning its architectural brilliance. It is an excellent example of Doric architecture, characterized by its sturdy columns and simple design. The temple’s facade features eight columns at each end and seventeen on each side, creating an illusion of perfect symmetry.

The Elgin Marbles

One notable aspect of the Parthenon’s history is its unfortunate state today. Many sculptures that adorned the temple, including friezes depicting mythical battles, were removed in the early 19th century by Lord Elgin, a British diplomat. These sculptures are now commonly referred to as the Elgin Marbles and are housed in the British Museum.

Symbolism within

Inside the Parthenon, there were several rooms dedicated to storing valuable offerings and treasures from worshippers. The main area housed Athena’s massive statue but also contained smaller statues representing other deities such as Nike and Poseidon.

The Legacy
Despite suffering damage over centuries due to wars and natural disasters, including an explosion in the 17th century, the Parthenon remains a symbol of ancient Greek civilization’s grandeur. Its architectural style has influenced many buildings worldwide, demonstrating the lasting impact of Greek culture on Western civilizations.


In conclusion, the Parthenon holds immense historical and cultural significance. Its name itself, derived from “parthenos,” meaning “virgin,” emphasizes its dedication to Athena.

Along with its architectural splendor, it represents the pinnacle of Athenian power and continues to inspire awe in visitors from all around the world.