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Lecture 18

CLAS 364 Lecture 18: March 6 notes, classical archaeology

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CLAS 364
Jane Francis

March 6 Parthenon East frieze The pelops scene, directly over main entrance. Adult and smaller child with piece of cloth. Could be archon basileus, was in charge in all state religion. The problem with this figure, its not a fully grown adult, children were simply shorter, groups of young girls were important for the peplos for the procession. Could be a girl chosen to handle the peplos, but we dont know who puts the peplos on the statue. Here the garment of the person falls down to the feet and back up to the shoulder and the butt is visible, which is not usual for girls so maybe a young boy. But we dont know, dont know if its male of female, all we know his they are handing over the peplos. o is it a peplos? Is it a used peplos or new one? o Maybe its showing the ritual about to start. Most scholars think its the new one but there is no indication. o If the folded cloth is in fact the peplos of Athena, used or not, then we must take all of this as the panathenaic procession, but nothing in the frieze is as specific as the peplos. Theres a disconnect between literary sources on the procession and what we see on the frieze. Sources never talk about horses but the frieze has it. sources mention foot soldiers, not on the frieze though. Tribute bearers arent shown on the frieze, source note a wheeled ship as an impressive part of the procession, which isnt on the frieze. Water bearers are supposed to be females but on the frieze theyre male. We dont know why there is more than two divergences between the literary and artistic representations on the frieze. But must think that festivals werent static, they changed over time. These rituals under go changes to keep up with the needs of the deity. Like maybe the wheeled ship was phased out. The frieze could show the very first procession, in 556 BC. Pesistratos revived the honoring of Athena, designed to be a tourist attraction, to come and spend money and spread the word of Athens. The frieze could be the basic, generic first version of the procession but we dont know for sure. 4 main elements of the panathenaic festivals. o Have the peplos and the weavers o Animal sacrifice, somewhere on the acropolis. o Often have athletic games: the chariot contests o Riders (athletic games) The games shouldnt be part of the procession, and yet theyre all here as part of the festival. So the frieze could be a culmination of both parts of the honoring of Athena. So he games, and rituals. theres no reason the frieze needs to be a perfect rendering of the literary accounts. The riders o Dominant figures (34 of figures), on horses to small for the riders. See a lot of heroic nudity. We dont know who they are, maybe ideal representations of Athenians, maybe historical reference to perikles expansion of the cavalry, from 300 to 1000. A pertinent increase in the number of riders in Athens. 1000 is important, they were divided in 10 groups of 100 each, the 10 voting (tribes) of Athens.
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