The PBS Nova video, Secrets of the Parthenon, brings into focus ongoing efforts to rehabilitate the Parthenon, an ancient Greek temple. The restoration program for 2011-2015 focuses on rehabilitation of both the two corners on the west side of the building. Architects have removed 111 blocks from the building but will reset them on the building after they complete the structural reconstruction of the building(Beard, 2010). They have also removed seven metopes and taken them to Acropolis Museum where they will be protected and displayed to the public. Architects have also taken measurements of the original marble stones and used them to manufacture artificial stones that will be used to replace the corroded original marble. The architects have also used optical fiber sensors to ensure that they monitor the extent of the shift that has occurred in the columns. Monitoring will ensure that architects will be in a position to reset the dismantled structural members in their original positions in the building. The ongoing rehabilitation of Parthenon also encompasses finishing the curving of the flutes to be put on the new marble additions (Beard, 2010).
The current meticulous rehabilitation of the Parthenon is a response to the damages that rampaged the building for the past 2,500 years. The most recent of the damages was the looting of the precious sculptures in Parthenon doing the 19th century and the attempt to salvage the building between 1898 and 1902 which went wrong. During the restorations, the architects then rested iron clamps on the marble stones creating even more cracks. They also put whole drums and sections of columns back into the wrong place. The use of these inappropriate technologies did more harm to the building and threatened to put it to an end sooner than it should have been (Connelly, 2014).
The video delivers a rich scholarship on the Parthenon restoration with a light touch in order to strip away the myths of those centuries to the current limelight of the restored building. Literature analysis, poets and writers believe that, like the works of Shakespeare, the Parthenon structure acts as an umbrella for the Western heritage. The Greeks used Parthenon as the treasury the same way they had used many other temples. It housed the treasury for the Athenian empire till the 5th century ad when the Greek converted it to a church dedicated to Virgin Mary (Connelly, 2014). It goes without doubt, therefore, that Parthenon had a rich history and would leave a rich heritage. In 1687, unfortunately, a Venetian bombardment of the building ignited an ottoman ammunition inside the building. Ignition of the ammunition resulted in an explosion that damaged the building and its sculptures severely. Documented records indicate that the current white marble temple an object of 20th- century restoration that most of the Athenians of 5th- century B.C may not recognize(Beard, 2010).
Documentary analysis indicates that the f ire, wars and earthquakes have threatened to ruin Parthenon. One of the most recognized vandalism to the building was the seventh Earl of Elgin. In the year 1801, the better part of the Parthenon`s frieze and other scores of statues were taken to England (Beard, 2010). Today, most of these parts are displayed as the Elgin Marbles in London Museum. This rescue operation is regarded as the latest effort to preserve the most cherished building in Greece. The video indicates that after Greece had gained its independence in the year 1829, they started the restoration of the Acropolis. By the early 20th century, a good number of significant monuments had already been rebuilt. The estimated cost of rebuilding the physical Parthenon is approximately $23 million. This expense was shared between the Greek government and the European community (Connelly, 2014).
In their quest to reconstruct Parthenon, the architects were particularly careful in order to produce a unique document. They made changes in the building in order to restore its luster. The same 72 foot module west porches, as well as the east propylaia, were used throughout the periklean building. The ability of the building to occupy the physical location of its predecessor made it easier for utilization of the former materials and enabled the architects to continue using the sacred topography of the area (Connelly, 2014). Thus, the temple was expanded and renewed as the old cults were maintained. The new temple managed to deliver the temple metaphoric connection with the past as a war between the Persians, and the Athens were reconfigured and retold. These complementary approaches of reconstructing the building helped to create a contrasting balance between the opposing tensional forces and a highly recognized reconciliation (Beard, 2010).
The current approach to restoring the Parthenon is better than earlier attempts. The current approach does not only seek to restore the beauty of the building, but its structural integrity as well. Time, money and manpower have been spent in an attempt to understand the original plan of the building. An example of this is the extent that architects have gone in measuring the physical properties of marble blocks like length, volume and angles and accounting for such factors as corrosion in order to correctly reconstruct Parthenon(Connelly, 2014).
The Greek claim for the restoration of the Parthenon had several setbacks. At the cultural levels, there was no convincing evidence that the Greeks regarded the Parthenon itself or the marbles as a cultural property by the time they were being destroyed. Hichens in his work, points out that some of the Greece liberal movement groups had protested, but lacked to deliver a public outcry to denote their rights upon the removal of these monuments (Garval, 2004). As revealed by several scholars, the glory of these monuments was irrelevant for the Greeks who were struggling for their independence from the Turkey's rule. The Greeks were oppressed, thus lacked the virtue of self-satisfaction and determination of cultural property ownership. The mythology that the nation is a primeval community, and artifacts are communal properties continues to confuse the conscious of the Greeks. Bearing these facts, they took a lot of time to regard artifact or relic with a positive attitude as national treasures (Garval, 2004).
It is evident that the colossal statue of the Athena has been restored. The stature is currently represented both in still statue and a series of full digital copies. This restoration success indicates that the Parthenon was not only created to satisfy the pride or delight the eyes but also to create the most desired balance on socio-cultural issues as well as for generative function.
Beard, Mary. 2010. The Parthenon. London: Profile Books. Acceses on 2rd Oct 2014. Retrieved form http://www.worldcat.org/title/parthenon/oclc/845692936
Connelly, Joan Breton. 2014. The Parthenon Enigma a Journey Into Legend. New York: Head of Zeus. Accesed on 2rd Oct 2014. Retrieved from: http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=1634936
Garval, Michael D. 2004. "A dream of stone": fame, vision, and monumentality in nineteenth-century French literary culture. Newark: University of Delaware Press . Accessed on 2rd Oct 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.worldcat.org/title/dream-of-stone-fame-vision-and-monumentality-in-nineteenth-century-french-literary-culture/oclc/186235203
Images of the Parthenon
Figure 1 The ancient Parenthenon before destruction Copyright ©1998-2003 Roy George
Figure 2 The Parnthenon after destruction Copyright ©1998-2003 Roy George
Figure 3 The modern restored Parenthenon Copyright ©1998-2003 Roy George