National Gallery of Art The Meaning of the Parthenon Frieze Author(s):

National Gallery of Art

The Meaning of the Parthenon Frieze Author(s): JEROME J. POLLITT Source: Studies in the History of Art, Vol. 49, Symposium Papers XXIX: The Interpretation of Architectural Sculpture in Greece and Rome (1997), pp. 50-65 Published by: National Gallery of Art Stable URL: Accessed: 23-09-2018 22:17 UTC

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JEROME J. POLLITT Yale University

The Meaning of the Parthenon Frieze

In views have this discussed to paper those I of the would a vexed long like line question to of add scholars of my what who own is views to those of a long line of scholars who have discussed the vexed question of what is represented on the frieze of the Parthenon. What did its designers intend it to represent, and is there a unifying theme, or idea, that brings together its diverse elements?

The most widely held opinion about the subject of the frieze (442-438 b.c.) is that it represents the procession that took place at the time of the Greater Panathenaia. As has

long been recognized, however, what we see represented on the frieze does not correlate very well with what ancient authors tell us about the components of the procession. The figures who bear hydriai, for example, should be women (not men, as they are on the frieze) (fig. 1); the kanephoroi (basket bearers) are omitted; and most troubling of all, there is no trace of the Athenian infantry, the hoplites, even though a contemporary source, Thucydides (6.58), implies that they should be there.1 One could argue that the literary sources, many of which are late lexicogra- phers, are either inaccurate or reflect the procession of post-Periklean times. Even late sources, however, seem to be dependent on the sober scholarship of Attic Attidographers, and there is no obvious reason to dismiss

them out of hand simply because they do not support our own preconceptions.

To explain or resolve the disparity between the literary sources and what is actually on the frieze, those who would like to see it as

the Panathenaic procession have put forward a variety of speculative proposals. The frieze has been held to depict a procession belong- ing to mythical or earlier historical times when the details preserved in the literary sources would not necessarily be applicable. It has been interpreted, for example, as a depiction of the first Panathenaia in the time of Erechtheus,2 or as an evocation of the van- ished monuments of the archaic acropolis,3 destroyed by the Persians, or as an expres- sion of the heroization of the Athenian sol- diers who fell at Marathon.4 Another line of

approach has been to resolve the discrepan- cies with the literary sources by the use of topography rather than chronology. It has been proposed, for example, that the frieze shows us the procession before it has begun, either in the Agora5 or spread out from the Acropolis to the Dipylon Gate,6 or alterna- tively, after its participants have reached the Acropolis, disbanded, and regrouped.7

Rather than juggle or ignore existing evi- dence in order to salvage the idea that the frieze represents the, or at least a, Panathenaic procession, I would like to ponder the mean- ing of the imagery of the frieze without assuming, a priori , that it has any special connection at all with the Panathenaia. This, I should confess at the beginning, is not diffi- cult for me to do, because my research has led me to the conclusion that the frieze has

little or nothing to do with the procession. I acknowledge the possibility that it might be


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i . Parthenon, north frieze, slab vi, figures 16-19 Acropolis Museum, Athens; photograph: Alison Frantz

connected in a general and somewhat loose way with the Panathenaic festival, but even that conclusion seems to me open to some doubt.

I begin with the largest single component of the frieze, one that takes up about 47 per- cent of its surface, the cavalcade. Because horsemen are so prominent on the Parthenon frieze, and because the view that the frieze depicts the Panathenaic procession is so widely accepted, almost all modern writers on the Parthenon sculptures have been inclined to assume that horsemen must have

taken part in the procession, and, if they have examined the literary evidence at all, they have usually accepted two passages in the speeches of Demosthenes as convincing evi- dence that this was the case.8 Both of these

passages, however, are at best inconclusive. The first is in Against Meidias (171), where Demosthenes condemns the hipparch Meidias for being in such sad physical shape that he

could not remain mounted on a horse during processions (note the plural) in the Agora. There is no mention of the Panathenaia in

this passage, and since Xenophon and others tell us that cavalry processions took place frequently in Athens, there is no reason to conclude that Demosthenes was thinking of the Panathenaic procession. The second pas- sage occurs in the First Philippic (26), where Demosthenes castigates the Athenians for allowing various military officers, including the two hipparchs (the chief commanders of the cavalry) and the phylarchs (the com- manders of tribal squadrons), to remain in Athens helping the hieropoioi to organize pro- cessions rather than sending them out to fight against the Macedonians. Once again, however, Demosthenes refers only in a very general way to processions (Tàs iro^irás), as Xenophon does in the third chapter of the Hipparchikos when he refers to the role of the cavalry in Athenian ceremonial life,


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and there is no specific mention of the Panathenaia. Furthermore, even if one chose to assume that Demosthenes must have

been thinking of the Panathenaic procession despite the fact that he does not specifically refer to it, the passage would still not com- pel us to conclude that the whole corps of cavalry participated in the Panathenaia. All Demosthenes says is that various military officers who had a lot of time on their hands

provided organizational assistance to the official organizers of religious festivals.

It has also sometimes been assumed that

because a corps of mounted ephebes accom- panied the procession from Athens to Eleusis at the beginning of the Eleusinian mysteries, and that the ephebes similarly accompanied a procession to Phaleron in the festival called the Plynteria, that an escort of ephebes must also have accompanied the Panathenaic pro- cession.9 Once again, however, there is no direct evidence for this, and it is perhaps doubtful that such an escort would have

been necessary for the Panathenaic proces- sion. The processions to Eleusis and Phaleron were relatively long and involved passing outside the gates of the city with sacred objects. This was not the case with the Panathenaia. It is noteworthy that the one inscription (dating from 100/99 b.c.) some- times cited as evidence for the fact that the

ephebes rode in the Panathenaic procession does not mention that procession, although it does mention pompai of Artemis Agrotera and Iacchos.10 Furthermore, it is not clear that these pompai were equestrian proces- sions,- they may have been processions on foot. In any case, even if one assumes that the cavalcade of the Parthenon frieze does

represent the corps of ephebes, one would still have to ask why the designers of the Parthenon frieze would have devoted about

47 percent of it to what is assumed to have been simply an escort.

The fact is, then, that no source, literary or epigraphical, confirms that horsemen par- ticipated in the Panathenaic procession. We ought to feel free, therefore, to put aside the idea that this large section of the frieze must be connected with the Panathenaia and sim-

ply to ask what it is likely to have called to mind among the Athenians who first saw it. To me it seems quite plausible, even proba- ble, that what the cavalcade alludes to is

not simply an escort for a procession but a force that was arguably the most important single innovation in Athenian military life in the Classical period and one that was par- ticularly associated with the government of Perikles: the regular, standing corps of Athenian combat cavalry. The importance of the cavalry in the military and cultural life of Athens in the mid-fifth century has recently been laid out for us with admirable vividness in Glen Bugh’s The Horsemen of Athens .n In the Archaic period it seems that, although the Athenians may have used a sort of pick-up cavalry from time to time – that is, soldiers who thought of themselves primarily as hoplites may at times have mounted their horses as part of a limited maneuver or for reconnaissance – they had no regular cavalry corps. At the battle of Marathon, it will be remembered, the Athenian army had no cavalry at all. After the Persian Wars the Athenians at first relied

for cavalry support on their Thessalian allies, who had long been famed for their skill as cavalrymen. At the battle of Tanagra in 458/457 b.c., however, the Thessalian cav- alry had deserted the Athenians in favor of the Spartans and perfidiously attacked an Athenian supply train (Diodoros 11. 80. 1-6).

It was probably the shock of this betrayal, as Bugh has proposed, and the realization that a reliable force of cavalry was necessary to discourage Spartan and Boeotian incur- sions into Attica, that led the Athenians to create a regular standing, year-round cavalry corps.12 The size of this new corps was at first set at three hundred men, but after what seems to have been a short time, it was expanded to one thousand! It was, in other words, a major administrative and financial undertaking for the Athenian government, and that government, of course, was under the overall direction of Perikles. There can

be no doubt that Perikles endorsed and put his personal prestige behind the creation of this new, prominent, and probably contro- versial military unit. There is some evi- dence, moreover, that the expansion of the cavalry from three hundred to one thousand men might have taken place after the Athenian campaign in Euboea in 446 b.c., the strategos for which was none other than Perikles himself (Thucydides 1.114). By this time, of course, Pheidias, at Perikles’ behest


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2. Parthenon, south frieze, slabs X and xi, figures 26-31 British Museum, London

3. Parthenon, north frieze, slabs XXXVII and xxxvin, figures 1 1 4-1 19 British Museum, London


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and presumably sensitive to Perikles’ con- cerns, was already at work overseeing the design of the sculptures of the Parthenon. En- listing citizens into a large corps of cavalry organized to protect the land, the shrines, and the institutions of Athens was, in short, an undertaking that must have had an impact on the Athenian population which rivaled Perikles’ steps to enhance Athenian cultural life.

We know that the new Athenian cavalry was divided into ten squadrons, each of which was recruited from one of the ten

tribes of Classical Athens and commanded by a tribal officer, the phylarch. In her impor- tant article on the Parthenon frieze in the

proceedings of the Basel Parthenon congress, Evelyn B. Harrison has made a convincing case that the cavalrymen on the south frieze of the Parthenon are depicted in ten separate groups, each distinguished by a particular assemblage of apparel or equipment, that can be correlated with the ten tribes (fig. 2); this valuable observation reinforces the view that

what we have represented on the Parthenon frieze is the new Athenian cavalry.13 The arrangement of the riders on the north frieze of the Parthenon is more difficult to read.

Harrison has detected a tendency in the design of the north frieze to arrange figures in groups of four, or in larger numbers divisi- ble by four, and suggests a possible connec- tion with the four Ionian tribes, and twelve phratries, into which the Athenian citizenry had been divided before the creation of the

ten Kleisthenean tribes; her idea has been enthusiastically embraced by Luigi Beschi, who detects a factor of four everywhere in the north frieze.14 While the factor of four

may have some significance in the sacrificial procession at the east end of the north frieze, its applicability to the cavalcade or the char- iots of the north frieze is beset, it seems to me, with grave difficulties. Beschi counts twelve chariots, but much of this part of the frieze is lost, and to get this number he has to assume that there were chariots in what

are now absolute lacunae. Combining the evidence of the drawings made by Jacques Carrey with what survives, it seems more probable that there were eleven chariots, as Harrison has suggested. Beschi also identi- fies twelve groups of riders in the combined cavalcades of the north and west sides, but

to make the figure come out, he has to count two figures from the north side as if they were on the west, and since he really gets a total of fourteen groups, he has to discount two of the groups on the west as recapitula- tions. As much as I admire Beschi’s work

and agree with his overall assessment of the frieze’s meaning, I do find that in the case of the north cavalcade the evidence that he

adduces simply does not support the theory that he attempts to demonstrate. In fact, Beschi’s analysis suggests that on the north frieze there were, once again, ten groups of cavalrymen. The attributes of these groups – long-sleeved chitons, for example, and the combination of crested helmets with body armor – are admittedly different from those that we encountered in the groups on the south side (fig. 3). There is no obvious expla- nation for this, but I wonder if we might not have, throughout the frieze, the ten tribal squadrons of the Periklean cavalry arrayed in the varieties of armor and apparel (or the lack of it) that were appropriate for the dif- ferent sorts of cavalry displays, reviews, and parades that Xenophon ( Hipparchikos 3) describes.

The west frieze shows groups of cavalry- men, punctuated by figures of marshals, preparing to form a procession. Some are already mounted and in the process of falling into formation, while others are still don- ning equipment and preparing to mount. It may be that we are supposed to understand this part of the frieze as immediately preced- ing in time the cavalcades that we see fully launched on the north and south sides, but I can see no compelling reason for interpreting it as belonging to a completely different con- ceptual dimension, such as mythological time. Two of the cavalrymen on the west frieze (iv.8 and vm.15) (figs. 4, 5) are bearded, the only two such figures in the entire caval- cade, and this certainly must be an indica- tion of seniority and important status. Figure 15, the man who restrains a magnificent rearing horse, is such an impressive creation that some have been inclined to interpret him as one of the great mythical kings or heroes of Athens such as Theseus.15 He has, however, no distinguishing attributes that would make such an identity obvious, and splendid though he is, I see no reason not to assume that he belongs to the same world as

pollitt 55

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4- Parthenon, west frieze, slab IV, figure 8 Until recently in situ, now in the Acropolis Museum, Athens,- photograph: Alison Frantz

5 . Parthenon, west frieze, slab vili, figure 1 5 Until recently in situ, now in the Acropolis Museum, Athens; photograph: Alison Frantz


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6. Parthenon, west frieze, slab XII, figures 22-24 Until recently in situ, now in the Acropolis Museum, Athens; photograph: Alison Frantz

the riders on the south and north cavalcades.

Most probably, as a number of scholars have suggested, these two men are the hipparchs, the two elected commanders-in-chief of the

Athenian cavalry.16 It is possible that other officials of the “real” world of Periklean

Athens were also depicted here. Figure xii.23 has, for example, been interpreted by Beschi as the keryx, the state herald, on the assumption that a herald’s wand was painted in his left hand (fig. 6). 17 Others, however, have seen this figure as an ordinary cavalry- man who is raising his hand in protest because he or his horse has been found defi-

cient during the official inspection, the doki- masia of the cavalry, and the adjacent figure (xii.22) is in the process of recording this fact on a tablet.18 In any case, far from arguing for a mythological interpretation, it seems to me that the imagery of the west frieze rein- forces the view that the riders on the

Parthenon frieze are intended to depict the newly formed Athenian cavalry.19

Although there is no evidence that the cavalrymen on the frieze took part in the Panathenaic procession, it is possible that they were intended to call to mind, among other things, one of the equestrian contests of the Panathenaic festival, the Anthippasia. Xenophon ( Hipparchikos 3.1 1) describes this event as a mock battle in which two rival

units drawn from the ten squadrons of Athenian cavalry charged each other and rode through each other’s ranks. Modern writers sometimes give the impression that there is a substantial body of evidence to connect this contest with the Panathenaia, but the connection rests, in fact, on the evi- dence of one inscription, a list of winners dat- ing from c. 280 b.c.20 Xenophon, it should be noted, does not mention a particular festival in his description of the Anthippasia, nor do the inscriptions on votive reliefs connected with the event, such as the well-known Bryaxis base.21 Furthermore, we know from the inscription just mentioned that the


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7- Parthenon, north frieze, slab XVII, figures 5 6-5 8 Acropolis Museum, Athens; photograph: Alison Frantz

Anthippasia also took place at another festi- val, the Olympieia, held in honor of Zeus. So, even if the cavalcade on the frieze does allude to the Anthippasia, we could still rea- sonably conclude that it was intended to evoke, in a general way, the entire ceremo- nial and festival life of Periklean Athens and not the Panathenaia alone.

Let us now turn for a moment to the pro- cession of chariots that precedes the caval- cade on the north and south sides of the frieze. Most commentators on the frieze

agree that this section of it depicts the apo- batai, armed warriors who competed in a contest in which they leaped from a moving chariot and engaged in a footrace (fig. 7). As in the case of the cavalcade, many modern writers have assumed that the apobatai, their chariots, and their charioteers formed part of the Panathenaic procession, but once again, there is no evidence outside of the

Parthenon frieze itself to support this claim. There is evidence that the contest of the

apobatai formed part of the Panathenaic games, but the documentation even for this conclusion is surprisingly scanty: one brief sentence in Plutarch’s Life of Phocion and three Hellenistic inscriptions from the sec- ond century b.c. that record the award of prizes to victorious apobatai and their chari- oteers.22 Dionysios of Halikarnassos, who gives the most explicit description of the contest ( Roman Antiquities 77.73.3), does not mention the Panathenaia, nor do our other literary sources. Other writers, especially Theophrastos as quoted by Harpokration, make it clear that apobatai contests were also held at other times and in other places, at Oropos, for example, and also in Boeotia.23 So, although there is no reason to doubt that the apobatai played a role in the Panathenaic games, we are not obliged to conclude that


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this was the sole association that they would have had in the minds of the Athenians who viewed the frieze of the Parthenon.

Adding these chariot sections to the cav- alcade of the west, north, and south friezes, we find that we have already traversed 68 percent of the space of the frieze, more than two-thirds of it, without finding any certifi- able connection with the Panathenaic pro- cession and only a tenuous connection with the games that followed it. The procession of figures on foot, which precedes the chariots, completes the north and south sides, and culminates on the east, looks, however, much more promising. For convenience I refer to this portion of the frieze as the sacrificial pro- cession. On the north and south sides, reading from west to east, we come first to a group of bearded men, who, although endowed with that idealized youthfulness that per- vades all the figures of the Parthenon frieze, are intended to represent mature citizens, probably various state officials such as piy- tanes and hieropoioi (fig. 8). They have some- times been identified as the thallophoroi,

men who carried branches in the Panathenaic

procession, but, as Erika Simon has rightly emphasized, there is no trace of these objects on the frieze, and on some of the figures it would have been impossible to paint them in.24 After these, on the north side, we have, in succession, kitharists and flutists, youths bearing pitchers of water (fig. i), tray bearers, and sacrificial victims, here heifers and sheep (figs. 9, 10). Because the sacrificial pro- cession on the south side was badly damaged in the explosion of 1687, it has gaps and is more difficult to reconstruct. Carrey’s draw- ings show a group of men carrying squarish objects that may have been musical instru- ments, although some identify them as pinakes (writing tablets) and interpret these figures as more officials.25 One fragment (xxxvii*) seems to preserve a tray bearer, and there is again a full complement of sacrifi- cial animals and their attendants, although here only heifers and not sheep are shown.

How closely do these figures correlate with what we know about the Panathenaic

procession? Kitharists and flutists, we know,

8. Parthenon, north frieze, slab X, figures 38-43 Acropolis Museum, Athens; photograph: Alison Frantz


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9- Parthenon, north frieze, slab II, figures 3-5 Acropolis Museum, Athens; photograph: Alison Frantz

10. Parthenon, north frieze, slab IV, figures 10-12 Acropolis Museum, Athens; photograph: Alison Frantz


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competed in the Panathenaic games, but whether or not contestants marched in the

procession is not known. It is clear from Athenian vase painting, however, that musi- cians were participants in a wide variety of sacrificial rites.26 The water bearers in the

Panathenaic procession, as already noted, should be women according to our sources, not men as they are here. Simon has sug- gested that the four figures shown here are the winners of the torch race that preceded the procession and that they are carrying their prize hydriai.27 If this is the case, how- ever, it is surprising that they do not wear victors’ garlands. It is also possible that there were water bearers on the lost sections of the

south frieze. The tray bearers could be the skaphephoroi of the Panathenaic procession, metic youths who carried cakes and honey, but Harpokration’s definition of skaphe- phoroi implies that they marched in other processions as well.28 Perhaps the most appealing argument for a close connection between this part of the frieze and the Panathenaic procession is the suggestion of Simon, following Ludwig Deubner, that the difference between the sacrificial animals on the north and south sides is an allusion to

two separate sacrifices that took place after the Panathenaic procession reached the Acropolis: sheep were offered, according to an ancient custom, to Pandrossos in the “old temple/7 that is, the site of the later Erechtheion, while cattle were offered to Athena.29 This was, however, not the only occasion on which sheep were offered in Athens as sacrificial victims in Athenian

religion. So, although there are possibly some allusions to the Panathenaia in the

sacrificial procession on the north and south sides of the frieze, it is equally possible, and in some respects less problematical, to inter- pret them as general images of the sacrificial components of all Athenian religious festi- vals and not the Panathenaia alone, as a composite image, in other words, designed to evoke the spirit of the city’s religious life.

On the east frieze, the reader may be relieved to hear, I do not doubt that the pep- los scene in the center alludes to one of the

culminating rites of the Panathenaic proces- sion. I would point out, however, that in the overall design of the frieze this scene occurs as an isolated semantic unit, quite distinct

in form and conception from the rest of the composition. Its figures are not part of a pro- cessional scheme, and the gods turn their back to it as if it is not a part of the matter at hand. It functions more like an independent emblem or symbol than as a part of the pro- cession (fig. 1 1 ).

Aside from the peplos scene, however, the figures of the east frieze again seem to point to a general, eclectic vision of Athenian reli- gion, one that subsumes the Panathenaia but is not limited to it. The procession here approaches all the major gods and goddesses of Athens. Athena is among them, but she is given no special prominence. Whether the male figures who flank the gods are the eponymous heroes, or the archons, or athlo- thetai, or some other officials, they would seem to be appropriate for all Athenian reli- gious rites; and the same can be said, I think, for the figures of women who carry phialai, oinochoai, and thymiateria. Some of them may have been intended to represent the arrephoroi or the ergastinai, but it is unlikely that all of them were.

If the Parthenon frieze does not simply represent the Panathenaic procession but portrays instead a more general and collec- tive picture of certain cultural institutions in Classical Athens, does it contain any uni- fying idea? Or is it an aggregate of essentially independent sections loosely linked together by the motif of a procession? I would like to propose that there is a unifying principle behind the organization of the frieze and that this principle may derive from the cul- tural ideology that is set forth in the public funeral oration of 430 b.c. that Thucydides (2.35-46) ascribes to Perikles. There is, it seems to me, a structural analogy between the components of the frieze and the distinc- tive features of Athenian society that Perikles delineates in this famous speech.

Perikles begins, rather remarkably, by say- ing that he is not going to dwell on his coun- trymen’s military exploits, which must have been what his audience was expecting, but that he will dwell instead on the emrriSe- wBis, the studies and practices that helped to develop the character of Athens’ citizens and were the source of the city’s greatness (section 36). The Athens of his time, as he describes it, was a free and open society in which anyone who clearly excelled in a par-


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1 1 . Parthenon, east frieze, restoration of total

composition From Bernhard Schweitzer, “Zur Kunst des Parthenon-Meisters, II, Der Entwurf und der Parthenon-

Meister,” fahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts 54 (1939), Beilage (foldout) 1

ticular form of endeavor would have a chance to demonstrate that excellence and

be recognized for it; moreover, the Athenians had a tradition of viewing the achievements of their fellow citizens with generosity and respect rather than with envy and suspicion. (Here he is clearly drawing a contrast with Spartan society.) Self-assertion and ambition among the Athenians were tempered, how- ever, by a sense of 8eos, reverence for just authority, which assured voluntary adher- ence to laws and moral standards, both writ- ten and unwritten (section 37). Perikles elaborates on this line of thought in the fol- lowing sections of the speech (38-39) by cit- ing three institutions in the life of the city in which this spirit of freedom, fellow feeling, self-restraint, and voluntary commitment

toward what is best for the community were most effectively expressed: crycovss, contests; 0wiai, sacrificial rites; and ttoXeixikoi |xe’8Tai, the systems of military training that made the Athenians superior to their adversaries.

It is a striking fact, at least to me, that the three institutions that Perikles praises as dis- tinctive of Athens are also the major compo- nents of the Parthenon frieze: processions connected with (hxriai occupy the east frieze and the eastern ends of the north and south

friezes,- beyond these come àyãves, embod- ied by the contest of the apobatai ; and after them we have a vivid, recent, and no doubt much discussed, example of Athenian TToXsixiKTj |xe’£TTi, the cavalry. All of the par- ticipants in these activities seem to be per-


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vaded by that sense of reverence, ôéos, here expressed as reverence for the gods, that Perikles saw as the underlying spirit of his ideal community.

It does not seem implausible to me that Pheidias designed the frieze to celebrate each of the cultural institutions that his patron liked to single out as distinctive of the Athenian democracy. If this is so, we should understand the frieze not as a kind of docu-

mentary picture of a single event but as an evocation of all the ceremonies, contests, and forms of training that made up the cul- tural and religious life of Classical Athens. Such an interpretation means, of course, that far from being a repository of ambiguous myth or a veiled vision of history, the Parthenon frieze represents contemporary Athenians and is one of the most explicit expressions that we have of the cultural ide- ology of Perikles.

I realize that there are objections to such an interpretation. For example, some scholars maintain that only myth, or at most, mythol- ogized history, could be represented in Greek architectural sculpture and find it “unthink- able” that the Parthenon frieze might repre-

sent living Athenians, the Athenians of the time when the Parthenon was being built.30 Others have insisted that the frieze ought to exhibit a unity of time and space.31 There are counterarguments to such objections, but a full discussion of them would carry us beyond the scope of this paper. I would like to conclude simply by stressing one point that often seems to become submerged when scholarly arguments of this sort are carried on. The Parthenon frieze is a unique monu- ment. In size and complexity it has no parallel in Archaic or Classical Greek relief sculp- ture. It was also created in one of the most

original and expansive periods in the entire history of European art. Does it make sense to conclude that its designers were incapable of representing something that had never been represented before? To say this is like saying that a drama of Sophokles could not contain anything that was not found in the early dramas of Thespis or Phrynichos. I pre- fer to believe that the frieze, like the dramas of Sophokles and the history of Thucydides, was a product of its time, and it explores the issues of that time with the same mixture of

idealism and originality.


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i . The sources are given by L. Ziehen in Pauly- Wissowa, Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Alter- tumswissenschaft, rev. ed. (Stuttgart, 1893-) (hereafter RE), 18.3 (1949), under Panathenaia, 463-470. Texts for some of the more obscure lexical references are

given in Ludwig Deubner, Attische Feste (Berlin, 1932), 25-30.

2. Chrysoula Kardara, TXauKcoms, 4 O ‘Apxcãos vacs Kai tò 0TÍ|xa tt¡<s £ax|>ópov tou Ilapôevâjvoç, ‘ ApxaioXoyiKri ‘E</>rniepí<; 1961, 61-158. A more recent mythological interpretation of the frieze sees it not as the Panathenaia but as a procession in connec- tion with the sacrifice of the daughters of Erechtheus and Praxithea; see Joan B. Connelly, “Parthenon and Parthenoi: A Mythological Interpretation of the Parthenon Frieze/’ American Journal of Archaeology 100 (1996), 53-80.

3. R. Ross Holloway, “The Archaic Acropolis and the Parthenon Frieze/7 Art Bulletin 48 (1966), 223-227.

4. John Boardman, “The Parthenon Frieze – Another View/’ in Festschrift für Frank Brommer, ed. U. Höckmann and A. Krug (Mainz, 1977), 39-49.

5. For example, page 212 in John Boardman, “The Parthenon Frieze,” in Parthenon-Kongress Basel, ed. Ernst Berger (Mainz, 1984), 210-215; page 107 in Margaret Cool Root, “The Parthenon Frieze and the Apadana Reliefs at Persepolis: Reassessing a Program- matic Relationship,” American Journal of Archaeology 89 (1985), 103-120.

6. For example, pages 8-9 in Philipp Fehl, “Rocks on the Parthenon Frieze,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 24 (1961), 1-44.

7. Susan Rotroff, “The Parthenon Frieze and the Sacrifice to Athena,” American Journal of Archaeology 81 (1977), 379-382.

8. For example, page 187 in Luigi Beschi, “Il fregio del Partenone: Una proposta di lettura,” Atti dell’Ac- cademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rendiconti, series 8.39 (1984), 173-195; Ziehen 1949, 468.

9. Erika Simon, Festivals of Attica (Madison, Wise., 1983), 59-

10. Inscriptiones Graecae (Berlin, 1873-) (hereafter IG) IF1028, lines 5-14. Lines 49 and 100 do mention ephebic participation in gymnastic competitions at the Panathenaic games as well as at Eleusinian and Ptolemaic games, but these lines do not mention processions.

h. Glen Richard Bugh, The Horsemen of Athens (Princeton, 1988).

12. Bugh 1988, 41-52.

13. Evelyn B. Harrison, “Time in the Parthenon Frieze,” in Parthenon-Kongress 1984, 230-234.

14. Beschi 1984.

15. Harrison 1984, 234; Kardara 1961 identifies w xv.29 as Theseus.

16. Martin Robertson and Alison Frantz, The Parthenon Frieze (New York, 1975), commentary on w vra.15. Beschi 1984, 187-188; Bugh 1988, 78 note 135 speculates that they might be phylarchs.

17. Beschi 1984, 187.

18. Robertson and Frantz 1975, pl. 9, caption,- Bugh 1988, 18.

19. Except for w vi.12, who definitely has a sword, and w m.4, who possibly has one, the riders on the frieze do not carry weapons. This might seem to con- tradict the idea that the riders on the frieze are caval-

rymen, but I would note that weapons are also absent on Athenian votive reliefs that depict, and were dedi- cated by, cavalrymen (see note 21 below). It is true that Xenophon, Hipparchikos 3.3, proposes a proces- sion in which riders equipped with spears would gal- lop through the center of Athens at high speed, but it is not clear that he is describing a normal practice (and, in fact, in 3.5 he seems to imply that he is not). Contests like the Anthippasia would certainly have been dangerous if conducted with weapons, and it may be that spears and javelins were not normally carried in parades and displays within the city.

20. IG IP3079.

21 .IG IF3130; well illustrated in John Travlos, Pic- torial Dictionary of Ancient Athens (London, 1971),


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1 8; for other reliefs and inscriptions, see T. Leslie Shear, “The Athenian Agora: Excavations of 1970/’ Hesperia 40 (197 1), 272, pl. 57c; Eugene Vanderpool, “Victories in the Anthippasia, ” Hesperia 43 (1974), 3 1 1-3 1 3; andTravlos 1971, 19.

22. Life of Phocion, 20, • IG U/HL2 2314, lines 36, 67-70; 2316, lines 17-20 and 40; and 2317, line 48 (aiToßctTTis is restored, but the fact that a chario- teer’s name follows makes the restoration probable).

23. Harpokration, under apobates. In general on the sources, see Reisch, in RE, under apobates-, Roberto Patrucco, Lo sport nella Grecia antica (Florence, 1972), 382-385; Donald Kyle, Athletics in Ancient Athens (Leiden, 1987), 188-189. N. B. Crowther, “The Apobates Reconsidered (Demosthenes lxi 23-9)/’ Journal of Hellenic Studies in (1991), 174-176, makes a useful contribution to the subject, but his reason for concluding that the apobates was “limited to (Athenian) citizens” is not clear.

24. Simon 1983, 62.

25. For references see Frank Brammer, Der Parthenon- Fries (Mainz, 1977), 220; Nikolaus Himmelmann, “Planung und Verdingung der Parthenon-Skulpturen,” Bathron: Beiträge zur Architektur und verwandten Künsten für Heinrich Drerup (Saarbrücken, 1988), 213-224.

26. Some examples are illustrated in Jean-Louis Durand, Sacrifice et labour en grèce ancienne (Paris and Rome, 1986), 129, 132; N. Alfieri and Paolo E. Arias, Spina (Munich, 1958), pl. 75 ; Simon 1983, pls. 16.2 and 17.2 and page 63; and citations in T.B.L. Webster, Potter and Patron in Classical Athens (London, 1972), 50 and 147-148.

27. Simon 1983, 64.

28. He refers to “processions” in general: èv Taís 7TO|xirai<; oùtoùs |xèv aKác|>a<; <|)8peiv.

29. Simon 1983, 6i; Deubner 1932, 26-27.

30. Boardman 1977, 43 and Boardman 1984, 214.

31. Holloway 1966, 223 and Root 1985, 105 and 107; against this view see Brammer 1977, 148.


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  • Contents
    • p. [50]
    • p. 51
    • p. 52
    • p. 53
    • p. 54
    • p. 55
    • p. 56
    • p. 57
    • p. 58
    • p. 59
    • p. 60
    • p. 61
    • p. 62
    • p. 63
    • p. 64
    • p. 65
  • Issue Table of Contents
    • Studies in the History of Art, Vol. 49 (1997) pp. 1-222
      • Front Matter
      • Preface [pp. 7-7]
      • Introduction [pp. 9-11]
        • Zeus and Pelops in the East Pediment of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia [pp. 12-27]
        • First among Equals: Athena in the East Pediment of the Parthenon [pp. 28-49]
        • The Meaning of the Parthenon Frieze [pp. 50-65]
        • Parthenon Central South Metopes: New Evidence [pp. 66-81]
        • The Sculpted Decoration of the So-Called Theseion: Old Answers, New Questions [pp. 82-107]
        • The Glories of the Athenians: Observations on the Program of the Frieze of the Temple of Athena Nike [pp. 108-125, 2]
        • An Interpretation of the Nike Temple Parapet [pp. 126-143]
        • “Ex his castra, ex his tribus replebuntur”: The Marble Panegyric on the Arch of Trajan at Beneventum [pp. 144-177]
        • In Search of the Roman Viewer [pp. 178-191]
        • The Traianeum in Italica (Spain) and the Library of Hadrian in Athens [pp. 192-217]
      • Contributors [pp. 219-220]
      • Back Matter

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