Article

Erechtheus and the Apobates Race on the Parthenon Frieze (North XI–XII)

116.2
Attic red-figure pyxis lid depicting chariot race, by the potter Nikosthenes.
Attic red-figure pyxis lid depicting chariot race, by the potter Nikosthenes.

A reexamination of the north frieze of the Parthenon, blocks XI–XII in particular, indicates that the leading apobates contestant is the winner in this Panathenaic contest. Evidence from James Stuart’s 1751–1753 drawing and his brief commentary support a reading of the so-called marshal beyond the horses as the judge bestowing the victor’s wreath, and comparanda for this figure can be found in other art forms. The emphasis of this scene then shifts from the race to the victory and reinforces the presence of nike in the iconographic program of the Parthenon. Because of his distinctive costume, this apobates contestant may be identified as belonging to the foremost Athenian tribe, Erechtheis.

Related Articles: 
DOI: 
10.3764/aja.116.2.0195