This block shows parts of three riders. The lead rider is bare-headed, wears a chlamys over a short tunic and is without boots. To his right another rider wears only a tunic, belted at the waist and with long sleeves. A third figure is largely lost at the junction of this block and an adjacent one (Block XXXVIII). The horsemen of the cavalcade on the North frieze are composed of a series of phalanxes overlapping one on another in an unequal division. There is among the riders of the North frieze great variation in composition and in dress. Some are heavily draped in mantle and tunic, while others are all but naked. Some ride bareheaded, while others wear a distinctive form of cap. Metal reins, which are now lost, were inserted in drill-holes.
The head of the horse and rider’s arm, the fragment joined to the top right corner, was added in 1850. It was discovered by George Scharf in the Smith Barry Collection of Marbury hall in Cheshire.
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.