The supreme architectural achievement of the Periclean age was the Parthenon, which crowned the Athenian Acropolis. It appears to have been begun in 447, and was roofed over and perhaps substantially finished by 438. Its sculptures were more extensive than those of any other Greek temple, comprising two pediment- groups, the whole set of metopes of the exterior frieze, ninety- two in number, and a continuous frieze of bas-relief, 522 feet 10 inches in total length, surrounding the cella and its vestibules. After serving its original purpose for nearly a thousand years, the building was converted into a Christian church and then, in the fifteenth century, into a Mohammedan mosque. In 1687 Athens was besieged by the forces of Venice. The Parthenon was used by the Turks as a powder-magazine, and was consequently made the target for the enemy's shells. The result was an explosion, which converted the building into a ruin. Of the sculptures which escaped from this catastrophe, many small pieces were carried off at the time or subsequently, while other pieces were used as building stone or thrown into the lime-kiln. Most of those which remained down to the beginning of this century were acquired by Lord Elgin, acting under a permission from the Turkish government (1801-3), and in 1816 were bought for the British Museum. The rest are in Athens, either in their original positions on the building, or in the Acropolis Museum.
Cf. A probable representation of Parthenon as it was colored * Davis' Parthenon
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