Throughout history, monuments have been built to show power, wealth, and even conquest. Depending on a cultures value and tradition, the types of monuments can vary from era to era. However, the construction of sacred monuments has predated from the times of the start of civilization in Mesopotamia to even modern day. People have always created buildings to show their faith, and to honor their gods. In Ashokan India and ancient Greece, the creation of sacred spaces was very common. The creation of the Great Stupa in India and the Parthenon in Greece both were built for the honor and worship for the respective god and goddess for both nation
In India during the rule of the Buddhist ruler Ashoka, the Great Stupa of Sanchi was commissioned. The Great Stupa was considered to be one of the greatest monasteries patriotisms to Buddhism. Even though it can be dated back to Ashoka’s reign, its consists of many buildings and parts that was made overtime and well beyond the time period of Ashoka. The dome of the stupa is roughly fifty feet high and is filled with earth and rubble. The stupa would hold relics of the Buddha himself where the people of india would come to as a pilgrimage.
The people of India would enter through the gateways of the stupa, walk down a path called the lower circumambulation, and climb up the stairs to the secon level to walk the second circumambulation of the stupa. Buddhist ventured the relics of Buddha through circumambulations, which was walking around the stupa in a clockwise manner, following the path of the sun and brining the worshiper into harmony with the universe. The Great Stupa itself had more than six hundred inscriptions showing the donations of hundreds of individuals that made the building of the stupa possible.
Ancient Greece was also known for extravagant temples honoring their Gods. The Acropolis found in Athens is another example of elevation in attempt to get closer to the divinity. The Parthenon was built for Athena, the city’s patron goddess and also the goddess of War. The Greeks built this large temple to thank Athena for the Salvation of Athens after their victory in the Persian War. Inside, there once stood a thirty-eight foot high statue of Athena with a winged Nike in her hand. On her sandal, there was a depiction of the centauromachy. On her shield were scenes of both the amazonomachy and he gigantomachy. All of these were battles the Gods fought in during the Persian War. The columns of the temple surrounded the statue in a symmetrical way that emphasized Athena’s importance as the centerpiece. On the outside of the temple were about ninety different metopes depicting gods and goddesses and a 590 foot frieze on the inside. Greeks were proud of the Parthenon, not only because it was considered a piece of art, but because it was also significant of their victory over Persia. They worshipped to Athena all over the Acropolis and also sacrificed animals such as oxen, goats and sheep.
Sometimes worship was held in the form of social festivities honoring Athena. Sacred sites were greatly influenced by the cultures of each era, and had a impact on the lives of the people. The Great Stupa, which was open to all of India, attracted many buddhists and was a center for prayer. In ancient Greece, the Parthenon was used to worship athens main deity, Athena, and served as a place of worship to other gods as well. It was placed on a higher surface to show its importance, and the Great Stupa engraved inscriptions of the people who donated to the construction of the temple to show appreciation.
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