Pictures, images & photos of The Parthenon Marbles, known as The Elgin Marbles exhibited in the British Museum, London. Dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, the construction of the Parthenon Temple began in 447 BC with its decorations being completed in 432 BC. The Parthenon has become the great iconic symbol of Ancient Greece and the Athenian democracy being the high point in the development of the Doric Order. The friezes, Metopes and sculptures of the Parthenon are also considered to be one of the high points of Greek art.
Between 1801 and 1812 Lord Elgin, British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, paid for the removal and shipping to London of 75 m of the original frieze, 15 of the Metope panels and 17 of the pediment figures. These were bought by the British Government and a purpose built gallery was built in the British Museum.
The pediment is the triangular end of the Parthenon in which sculptures were set. Below the ledge of the pediment is a lintel that runs over the top of the Doric columns on which were placed sculpted marble panels known as Metopes. The Parthenon had a double row of columns and on the lintel above the inner row of columns was a sculpted frieze.
The Pediment sculptures in the British Museum show scenes from the life, including her birth, of the goddess Athena accompanied by her father Zeus and her brother Hephaistos. Athena was the goddess of goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilisation, law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill.
The metope panels of the Parthenon in the British Museum show scenes of the Lapiths, a pre-Hellenic mythological people from Thessaly, battling with the Centaurs, a mythological creature half man half horse. The scene is probably from the wedding of the king of the Lapiths, Perithoos. The story tells that the Centaurs, who were guests at the wedding, became drunk and a fight broke out during which they tried to carry off the Lapith women. The Centaurs would have represented the Persians to the Athenian viewer of the time. Athens had a long and bitter struggle against the Persian Empire and the Parthenon was built on an earlier unfinished temple that had been destroyed when the Persian sacked Athens in 480 BC.
The Parthenon Ionic frieze sculptures show bas-relief carvings of the Panathenaic procession. This annual procession of Athenians and foreigners ended in the ritual sacrifice of cattle at the Parthenon to honour the goddess Athena. The north and south frieze both show a procession of sixty riders in ranks of 10 men. The south frieze also shows cattle being led to be sacrificed and the east frieze shows Athena watching the procession with her father Zeus. The West frieze shows the preparation of the riders for the procession and, apart from two blocks, these are moulds made for Lord Elgin in 1802 of the blocks that would remain in Athens.