The Parthenon is built in Doric peristyle with 8 columns by 17 columns. Many optical refinements were incorporated to give the Parthenon the illusion of greater balance and proportion. The space between columns and thickness of the columns vary to create this effect. The columns are also convex to make them appear more straight from a distance. The flat base and steps of the Parthenon are actually a curve and the columns tilt inward slightly. These, and many more subtle techniques, combat the natural illusion of a square building being top heavy and its columns unproportioned.

It is important to remember that many of the exterior surfaces on the Parthenon would have been painted to increase the temple's eye-pleasing effect. The frieze was highly decorated and the thick cornice supported the pediments with their sculptures. The architrave was adorned with gilded bronze shields bearing the names of their donors. A marble tiled roof diverted the rain without gutters.

Of the 92 original metopes most have been battered or worn away beyond recognition or have been completely destroyed. The few remaining Metopes are from the south side, which depicted the Lapiths battling the Centaurs. The Gigantomachy was on the east and the Amazonomachy on the west.

Parthenon - West Parthenon - West Parthenon - North East
Reproduction of Parthenon - Nashville West Porch from the South Parthenon - West