This chariot scene echoes the action of the cavalcade: the chariot immediately ahead of the horsemen is stationary, but those in front build up speed into a head long dash until the lead chariot is pulled up short to avoid collision with the pedestrian figures ahead. This part of the frieze was badly damaged in the explosion of 1687. The head of a team of horses stands a groom, shown on the previous block (Block XXVII). The lower part of this same group is preserved on a fragment in the Acropolis Museum, Athens.
This block shows the same chariot group as is represented on Block XXVII. We see the rear parts of two horses, their tails arched, the chariot carriage, part of a foot soldier and standing above and behind him, the charioteer. The mood of the group is one of anticipation for the chariot race that lies ahead. The foot soldier grasps the hand rail of the chariot carriage and raises his right leg as he mounts the carriage. We also see, above the left shoulder of the charioteer, the remains of the crest of his helmet. This shows that he looked back. The foot soldier’s left leg and left arm were carved on Block XXIX. The charioteer stands in his long robe with his arms bent at the elbow and with his hands extended to hold the reins. An attaching fragment of the block, the head of the foot soldier, is in the Acropolis Museum, Athens.
Half of the North frieze is in the British Museum and the other half in the Acropolis museum. The total length of the north frieze was 58.70 m. The scenes begin at the northwest corner of the opisthonaos as a continuation of the procession which has already started on the west side, thus running from block N XLVII to block N I. The action develops gradually and from quiet preparation accelerates to a gallop. Ignoring the divisions of the blocks, the horsemen are depicted proceeding in groups of seven or eight, the horses partly overlapping each other. The continuous flow of horses and riders is interrupted only by the marshal (90) on block XXXIV. Yet with variety of garment, of stance and gesture of the most beautiful of the horsemen and with the occasional depiction of a man turning his head to look back, monotony is avoided.
The frieze of the Parthenon forms a continuous band with scenes in low relief that encircles the upper part of the cella, the main temple, within the outer colonnade. The theme represented was the procession toward the Acropolis that took place during the Great Panathenaia, the commemoration of the birthday of the goddess Athena.
Numbering taken from I. Jenkins, The Parthenon Frieze, 1994. Frieze slabs are marked in Roman numerals, People are marked in arabic numerals.