An intriguing claim was recently published in the American Journal of Archaeology and the Dutch version of the National Geographic magazine in regard to Greece’s iconic temple of the Parthenon.
According to a Dutch researcher who published this theory, the temple of the Parthenon, the ultimate symbol of the nation of Greece, was actually never called ”Parthenon” in ancient Greece.
Utrecht University archaeologist Janric van Rookhuijzen claims that the building was known in ancient Greek times as the ”Hekatompedon” rather than the ”Parthenon.”
”Hekatompedon” was the name Greeks used to refer to temples which had a length of a hundred feet, since the name derives its etymology from the Greek words for ”a hundred” (hekaton) and foot (pous).
Van Rookhuijzen also claims that there was indeed a Parthenon temple on the Acropolis, but it was a different, smaller one than the structure which has survived from ancient times.
The Dutch archaeologist claims that this original temple must have taken its name from the Caryatids, who were ”parthenes” (virgins) in the temple of the Erechthium, just to the side of the Parthenon.
Thus, his rationale is that since that was the temple where the ”parthenes” were placed, the Erechthium must have been the temple named after them, bearing the name ”Parthenon.”
Of course, there is the wider belief that the Parthenon was named after the goddess Athena, who was also referred to as a virgin (Parthenos) by the ancient Greeks.