This block shows the two leading riders of the North frieze cavalcade. The lead horseman himself is missing, but the effect his reining in has on his horse is visible. The horse is brought to a sudden stop in anticipation of the chariot that is carved on the next block (Block XXVIII). A trailing arm, circular shield and part of flying drapery is carved to the left of the lead horseman. This is part of the foot soldier, who climbs into the chariot on Block XXVIII.
Figure 74 is carved partly on this and partly on the adjoining block, this figure forms a pictorial link between the cavalcade and the chariots ahead.
At this point the cavalcade gives way to a procesion of horse-drawn chariots. The leading horse is pulled up sharply by its rider (now lost). Overlapping with the front hoof can be seen the trailing left arm and round shield of a soldier on foot.
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 great variation among the riders of the North frieze 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. An attaching fragment of the block, the head of a rider, 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.
|Dimension||L 160.0 m, H 1.0 m|
|Period||High Classical Greek style of Attic sculpture|
|Credit||Purchased from Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin in 1816|