THE METOPES

WEST
The metopes on the west side depict the Amazonian battle. The Greeks, led by their hero Theseus, are shown fighting against the Amazons who according to legend, were female warriors living across from Pontos. The Greeks are depicted naked while the Amazons are shown wearing short dresses and sometimes on horseback. Their queen Antiope, is depicted in the first metope on the left, sitting on horseback.


NORTH
The Metopes on the north side depict scenes from the Trojan War, mainly from the sacking of Troy by the Greeks. The only metope that differentiates thematically is the last one from the right, which depicts Athena standing in front of the seated Hera. Adjacent to this is the metope showing Iris next to Zeus.


SOUTH
The basic theme depicted on the Metopes of the south side is the Centaur battle. Centaurs, a barbaric race having the body of a horse and the head and torso of a human, were invited by their neighbors the Lapiths, to the wedding of their king Peirithus. At the wedding, they got drunk and attempted to abduct the Lapith women, the event which sparked off the battle. According to legend, one of the guests at the wedding was the hero Theseus. The battle with the Centaurs symbolizes the struggle of civilization against barbarity.


EAST
The Metopes of the east side depict the “Gigantomachy,” the struggle of the Olympian gods against the giants for the establishment of the cosmic order which the giants had tried to overturn. Thirteen out of fourteen metopes on the eastern “divine” side show a god, on foot or in a chariot, battling against a giant. The final metope, on the right hand side, shows the chariot of Helios, the sun god.

© Copyright 2003 : Amir Sobati