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The Parthenon Frieze. Block E II
At the head of the south procession which comes to an end at this point, sixteen young girls move slowly forward to the right, some of them in pairs. They are clad in chiton and himation and some wear a peplos over the chiton as well. The peploi are arranged with overfold and kolpos. These peplos-clad figures of the east frieze are the earliest classical examples of peplophoroi in a stance with the free leg modelled below the drapery and the weight leg (that carrying the weight of the figure) hidden by vertical folds resembling the flutes of a column. Some have long hair hanging down their shoulders. Some are shown in profile, others in 3/4 view. All have a space between them. On some, the free leg is toward the viewer, while on others it is the opposite. The maidens on block II (2-6) hold each a phiale with omphalos. These are for offerings. Next, on block III, come eleven female and two male figures. The maidens (7-11) are carrying oinochoai (jugs). Ahead of them are two pairs of maidens (12 and 13) and (14 and 15) who hold each a high base bedecked with ribbons and thongs. The bases have been interpreted variously as taper-stands, spits, even as loom-legs. It is uncertain whether they could be incense-burners comparable to those shown on a smaller scale, carried by the maidens VII (56) and VIII (57). The procession is led by two maidens (16 and 17) carrying nothing and most likely to be identified as the ergastinai who wove the peplos and presented it. To the right, two himation-clad men in sandals (18 and 19) carry on a conversation. They are thought to be eponymous heroes, that is the first ancestors (who gave their names to the tribes) of two of the ten tribes, into which Kleisthenes divided the Athenian citizens for administrative and political purposes. The first (18) held a metal staff, once attached, now lost. Some have identified him as the teletarches (priest in charge of the rites) who led the procession of maidens. In this case, the identification of the six male figures to the south and the four to the north between the procession of maidens and the gods is thrown into doubt, as there would then be only nine eponymous heroes. In any case the identification of figure (18) as Theseus, the mythical founder of the Panathenaia, could solve the problem, since Theseus may be considered as representing one of the tribes that took its name either from his father or from his son. The second male figure (19) is leaning on a cudgel, with his legs crossed, in a stance well-known and popular from archaic times on. The figures on blocks II and III may be divided stylistically into two groups, evidently the work of two different sculptors. One group comprises the figures (2-11) characterised by the deep folds of the himatia and fine folds of the chitons, the other figures (12-19) with shallower folds and undifferentiated lines. Neither display the monumentality and simplicity of the great artist who made the figures on the corresponding blocks VII and VIII of the right part of the east side.

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Frieze Side
East Frieze
Subject Category
Sacrificial procession
Acropolis Restoration Service
Pentelic marble
E 2, E 3, E 4, E 5, E 6
Acropolis Museum

British Museum
Stone Number