In 1888, architect and historian
Francis Penrose published exacting measurements of the Parthenon with
an error margin of 0.03% (roughly 1/3300) that researchers have relied
upon ever since.
that the stylobate, the platform upon which the temple stands, measured
69.54 x 30.89m. As for height,
the temple stands 13.72m from the corner of the stylobate up to
the cornice. This is the primary
height because it is the final horizontal of the temple, from which
the sloping pediment reaches its way to the peak.
One of the Parthenon's more aesthetic aspects
is that its face fits neatly inside a Golden Rectangle. But there
are other aesthetic features. Many ancient writers
attest that the stylobate measured 225 x 100 Greek feet.
But measurements in feet can be restated in cubits: the Egyptians,
Hebrews, Greeks, and Babylonians all used both forms of measurement.
Generally, one cubit is equal to one-and-a-half feet. While the exact
length of the foot and cubit may differ from culture to culture, in
principle the relationship holds true across cultures. So the stylobate
side lengths can be restated as 150 x 66.66 Greek cubits.
Interestingly, the surface area of the stylobate is a "clean" figure
when calculated as cubits: 150 x 66.66 = 10,000 square Greek cubits,
or in other words one hundred Greek cubits square (100 x 100 = 10,000).
But the most elegant equation embodied in the Parthenon is the volume
of the temple proper, i.e. excluding the steps and the pediment. If
we solve for the volume of this parallelipid (L x W x H) then 225 x
100 x 44.44 = 100,000 Greek feet, or in other words, 100 cubic Greek
feet (the .44 decimal just keeps repeating because we are converting
the "Parthenon foot" into
regular Greek feet.)
This means that just as the foundation of Zoser's
a conceptual cube of 60 x 60 x 60 Egyptian Royal Cubits, here the Parthenon
embodies a conceptual cube of 100 x 100 x 100 Greek feet.
This is a Greek instance of a "divine plan" or "celestial blueprint".
While there was no mythological story stating that its plans originated
with the Greek deities, still its temple measurements
can be represented by a repeating mathematical equation that symbolizes
unity (drop the zeroes: 1 x 1 x 1). This alone is proof that its design
has a "celestial" counterpart, or in other words that the symbolic
cube is the heavenly and idealized form of the Parthenon.