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Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases

Parthenon, six metopes from the south side

Metopes XXXII, XXX, V, XXVIII, VII & III. Depict battles of Lapiths and Centaurs. The image shows one metope.

On a Greek temple metopes are the square slabs immediately above the thick masonry band, the architrave, which runs horizontally above the pillars. On Doric buildings like the Parthenon the metopes were spaced apart from each other by grooved rectangular projections called triglyphs.

The Parthenon had fourteen metopes on each shorter side and thirty two on each longer side, the north and south. Most on the south side were decorated with mythical battle scenes featuring centaurs, such as these, always with two figures in the frame. The sculptures are almost standing free of their backgrounds, and being high up on the temple would have been seen at a steep angle

Pentelic marble
Location of Original: 

London British Museum, and Copenhagen Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

0.73 x 0.73m

Two metopes purchased 26 Nov 1881 by the Fitzwilliam Museum from Brucciani and transferred to the Museum in 1884. The other four purchased from Brucciani in 1884


Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 148-
Richter: Sculpture & Sculptors of the Greeks (1950), 128-, figs.105, 131, 192, 415, 416
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 40-1, nos.144-9
Lawrence: Classical Sculpture (1928), 191-
Richter: Three Critical Periods in Greek Sculpture, 12
Smith, AH: Sculpture of the Parthenon (1950), 36, pl. 24; 36, pl. 23.2; 30, pl. 17.2; 36, pl. 22.2; 30, pl. 19.1; 30, pl. 17.1
Schweitzer: Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts LV (1940), 170-
Schweitzer: Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts LIV (1939), 1-
Schweitzer: Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts LIII (1938), 1-
Smith: Catalogue of British Museum Sculpture I (1892), 133-, nos.305, 307, 310, 317, 319, 321

c.447-443 BCE
Pheidias (school of)

Removed from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin, except for the two heads and the right arm of the Centaur in Slab V, which were removed earlier in 1688

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