Parthenon. ATHENS. 2. Route. 53
followed, in somewhat closer order, by a number of bearded men,
ten (?) quadrigae, and youthful warriors with helmets, shields, and
(in a few cases) armour. The second half of this side is devoted to
a brilliant train of Athenian youths on horseback, and at the W.
end we find others still engaged in bridling and saddling their
steeds. The frieze on the S. side, beginning at Hermes on the E.
front, corresponds in its main features to the one just described. —
The figures in this frieze are executed in very low relief, l^-^in.
in depth, in order to avoid the deep shadows which would otherwise
have been cast through the light reaching them from below. The
background and parts of the figures were painted in different col¬
ours, and the horse-bridles, the staves of the heralds, and the
wreaths of the horsemen were of gold or some other metal. Traces
of different hands reveal themselves in the execution of the frieze,
but one spirit breathes throughout the whole and the design was
certainly conceived by Phidias himself. The finishing touches were
evidently put to the frieze after its erection.
As the 'ancient temple of Athena' (p. 58) was at all times the most
intimate and holiest seat of the religious worship of the Athenians, there
has been much difference of opinion among scholars as to the purpose
and significance of the Parthenon. The name, according to Th. Beinach,
means a temple in which virgins worshipped. The greater Panathen.sa, a
festival celebrated by the entire population with games and chariot races,
with musical and oratorical displays, once every four years in memory of
the Synoekismos of Theseus (p. 18), were in all probability solemnly con¬
cluded by a ceremonial in the Parthenon. A long procession ascended
from the town to the sanctuary of its patron deity on the Acropolis, where
the richly-embroidered, saffron-coloured peplos (uiitXo?), woven by Athenian
virgins, was consecrated as the robe of the ancient statue of the Goddess,
and where the victors in the games received their wreaths of laurel. The
splendid Parthenon of Perikles was first opened to the public at the
Panathensean Festival of B.C. 438, and it remained sacred to the virgin
goddess for over six centuries.
The Parthenon seems to have been converted into a Christian church
about the 5th cent, of our era, and was consecrated to the Mother of
God (Oeoxoxoc). The principal entrance was transferred from the E.
to the W. end and the inner cella was turned into a vestibule (nar-
thex), from which one large and two small doors led to the principal
part of the church. The pulpit was erected on the N., and the episcopal
throne on the S. side of this space, while the altar occupied an apse
thrown into the Pronaos. The columns in the interior were re-arrangcd
and a gallery added for the women, while a barrel-vaulted ceiling
was also introduced. The walls were adorned with Christian paint¬
ings, of which some traces still remain. In 1204 the 'great church of
Athens' was handed over by the Franks to the Romish church. In 1460
the Parthenon became a Turkish mosque and a minaret was erected
at the S.W. angle. The next we hear of the Parthenon is in a letter
of 1672 and in a paper communicated by the mathematician Vernon
in 1676 to the London Philosophical Transactions. The drawings made
in 1674 by a Flemish artist in the suite of the Marquis de Nointel, French
ambassador at the Porte, have been of the utmost importance in enabling
us to form an idea of the condition of the sculptures at that date. The
marquis obtained the consent of the Turkish governor by costly presents.
The drawings were 400 in number, embracing 32 of the metopes on the S.
side, almost the whole of the frieze at the E. and W. ends, and a great
part of those on the N. and S. In 1675 the Acropolis was visited by
Messrs. Spon and Wheler (p. 44), two .English travellers, whose published