parthenon

The most characteristic feature in the architecture and decoration of the temple is the Ionic frieze running around the exterior walls of the cella, which is the inside structure of the Parthenon. The bas-relief frieze was carved in situ; it is dated in 442 BC-438 BC. One interpretation is that it depicts an idealized version of the Panathenaic procession from the Dipylon Gate in the Kerameikos to the Acropolis. In this procession held every year, with a special procession taking place every four years, Athenians and foreigners were participating to honour the goddess Athena, offering sacrifices and a new peplos (dress woven by selected noble Athenian girls called ergastines). Joan Breton Connelly has recently argued for another interpretation of the frieze, in which she attempts to prove that the iconography of the frieze is based on Greek mythology. This interpretation postulates that the scenes depict the sacrifice of Pandora, youngest daughter of Erechtheus, to Athena. This human sacrifice was demanded by Athena to save the city from Eumolpus, king of Eleusis, who had gathered an army to attack Athens.