The Nashville Parthenon

The Nashville Parthenon was the centerpiece of the 1897 World's Fair. The Fair was held in Nashville and being called the Athens of the South the Parthenon became the focal point of the fair. It was built as an exact reproduction and now serves as the centerpiece of Nashville Centennial Park just west of downtown Nashville.

The entry is at the base of the Parthenon where you go into the lower floor of the museum. Inside is a permanent collection of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists. The inner most part of the gallery is space allocated for temporary shows and exhibits.

There is a staircase that takes you up to the main floor where the statue Athena and the other Greek sculptures are located.

The Statue Athena above is the goddess of wisdom, peace, strategy, handicrafts, and reason, the virgin patron of Athens. Standing at 41 feet 10 inches tall and weighing about 12 tons, she is a full-scale replica of the one in Athens. She has a helmet on her head, the goddess Nike in her right hand, her shield on the floor to her left, a spear to her side, and a serpent at her feet.

The Greek goddess Nike, also called Victory is being held in the right hand of Athena. She stands 6 feet 4 inches tall and is preparing to crown Athena with a wreath of victory. Nike is one of the great surviving masterpieces of sculpture from the Hellenistic period.

A serpent often accompanies this goddess at the base of her lance. A serpent is to be regarded as the bearer of some very potent symbolic value, however here the snake is the people of Athens and the shield is protecting them.

The shield was a gift from Perseus to Athena and bearing the gorgon head of Medusa. It is 15 feet in diameter and has high relief carvings of Greek Heroes fighting a war over an unknown city.

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