Parthenon Frieze

Parthenon Frieze

Date ca. 440 BCE

Movement Greek | Classical

Medium Marble

Dimensions 525′ x 43″

Provenance Parthenon, Akropolis, Athens

Housed at The British Museum, London


Though Doric in style, the Parthenon includes Ionic influences like the frieze that wraps around the inner cella. Depicted in the frieze are crowds of Athenians, musicians, water-carriers and sacrificial beasts make their way up to the Akropolis. Traditionally thought to depict the annual Parthenaic procession; however, this view is faulty, as entablature space had always been reserved for deities or legends, not commonfolk. A more recent interpretation of the frieze holds that one of Erechtheus’ daughters was ordered by the oracle at Delphi to be sacrificed as a way of warding off city enemies. Here, she receives the ceremonial garment in which she will be sacrificed.