The capital city of Greece is Athens, which was founded in 508 B.C. and made the capital city later on. It is the home of the Parthenon, the temple dedicated to Athena.
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(Parthenon itself means the chamber of an unwedded virgin) Although not a wonder of the world, it is considered a world heritage site by UNESCO. The city and the temple were named after Athena after discovering that an olive tree was there, and that tree, according to Grecian myth, was a gift directly from Athena herself to humanity. The temple was made on an acropolis, which means high city. It was created after the Persians has destroyed the city that was there before Athens was created and named. The city of Athens owes most of its’ success to Athena (and probably really good luck) and how devoted they were to her.
Originally, the residents were deciding on whether to name this new city after Poseidon or Athena. However, where they were deciding to make the temple dedicated to whichever god that was going to be chosen, there was an olive tree, that in a Grecian myth, was a gift from Athena to humanity, or the humans descended directly from the earth as the Greeks believed that they were. Before this, Poseidon had made water come from the earth, but because of how salty it was it would not be of use to humans.
Once that was decided, the powerful statesman of Athens: Pericles, had to get the architect to make the temple, and it had to be perfect in honor of Athena since only the best would be acceptable. Pericles was a very powerful and influential man during his time, so much so that a friend of his, Thucydides who was a historian, named him the first citizen of Athens As stated before, they held Athena in high esteem because of the gift that she had bestowed upon them, and everything needed to be of the utmost quality. Phidias was chosen to be the architect because he was a friend of Pericles and had also created the awe-inspiring statue of Zeus in Olympia. The Parthenon was made out of twenty-two thousand tons of marble and is seventy meters long by thirty meters wide, or two hundred and thirty feet long by one hundred feet wide for non-metric users, as well as not having any straight lines because the human eye is faulty and cannot detect all errors that are done.
The special thing about this temple was in how they would hold a special festival in honor of Athena every four years. Unlike the temple of Apollo in Delphi, which had an Oracle people would go to, to ask about their future, the Parthenon focused more on this festival that happened every four years. Well, actually it would hold a festival every year on Athena’s birthday, but the really spectacular one was held every four years. The procession, the Panathenaia, that would happen every four years was carved into the Parthenon, depicting what would happen during this time, which to typical Greek tradition, were competitions.
There were chariots racers competing against one another, and whoever won that race would be given a jar full of olive oil, which was fitting because again, the olive tree that Athena had gifted them would be represented through the olive oil that was won. Along with the chariot racers, there were men that might have participated in beauty contests and could have been the winners of said contests, musicians playing their instruments, men with animals that were about to be sacrificed to Athena and held snacks in their hands.
In conclusion, the Parthenon and Athens were the most powerful city-state of Greece not only because of its influencers but because of the devotion the people of this city had to Athena. Without having that olive tree there, Athena might not have ever become the patron deity of the city, and the Parthenon would not have even been named the Parthenon. The question that remains is that had this city been named after Poseidon, as it had the possibility of such a thing happening, would this city have been as powerful or as successful as it was being named after Athena. There are so many what-ifs’ or maybes to be had. However, that is all they will be because Athens continues to be called Athens to this day, and still remains the capital city of Greece even after all these years.
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