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THE METOPES OF THE NORTH, EAST, AND
F the thirty-two metopes originally on the north side of
the Parthenon, only eleven are now recognisablenine remain on the building at the two extreme ends, seven on the right and two on the left. With so enormous a gap in the middle it may seem hazardous to offer an opinion as to what had been the subject represented in the whole series. We have no drawings by Carrey from the missing metopes to help us. On the other hand, this poor array of existing metopes is supplemented by certain drawings made in 1686 for D’Ortières by a French artist. These include three metopes of Centaurs careering along, two from the left and one from the right (Pl. XII., Figs. a, b, c, d). If these drawings and the statement appended to them are correct,' there can be no question but that there had been a Centauromachia on the north side as well as the south. It does not, of course, follow that the whole series of northern metopes had been included in this subject, and that, therefore, the north were
1 Laborde, Athènes, ii. p. 63, note 43, speaking of the drawings made for D'Ortières in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, says: “Le dessin fixé
au verso du feuillet 126 comprend dix metopes de la face septentrionale du Parthenon."
But we may
in substance a duplicate of the south series. assume thus much to begin with on the analogy of the two corresponding long sides of the frieze which, as we shall see, were practically duplicates. From the evidence of the existing metopes and from the Centaurs in D'Ortières' drawings, we argue further that the place of the Centaurs had been inverted in the north series, they occupying the centre, while the marriage party occupied the two ends. On the north side the stormy element would be in the middle, and the placid element at the two ends.
Let us now see how far this view is corroborated by the existing metopes of the north side—that is to say, how far they represent groups of Lapith women such as Carrey drew in the middle of the south series. No. I on the extreme left represents a biga with female charioteer (Pl. XII.), precisely as metope 15 towards the middle of the south side. As we have before said, the presence of a chariot in the Centauromachia is attested by the Phigaleian frieze. On the north side 25 (Pl. XII.), with two women beside an archaic image or xoanon, corresponds to 21 on the south with two women beside a xoanon. The grouping is not the same in both instances. Yet in each case one of the women places her hand on the head of the image. There is a similar archaic xoanon in the Centauromachia of the Phigaleian frieze, with one woman clasping it and another turning away. Apparently this had been an essential feature of the legend. Again, in the north metopes we
1 Michaelis, Parthenon, p. 138, says : “Probably in the middle were a number of Centaur scenes which had inter
rupted the order of the other representations, similarly as on the south side do the metopes 13–20 in the centre."
have three separate instances of a man and a woman, he expressing alarm and bent on protecting her, 3, 27, 28. Answering to this, we have in the south metopes a group of a young man similarly alarmed beside a young woman 14, and something nearly approaching the same subject in 13
We cannot, of course, claim that the whole of the nine central metopes as drawn by Carrey on the south side reappear at the ends of the north side, as we might expect. But in at least two of the cases of identity which we have pointed out it will be allowed that the subjects represented are remarkably characteristic of a Centauromachia. We are not obliged to assume that the same stage of the Centauromachia was presented on the two sides. On the contrary, we can well imagine an earlier stage of the incident on the north side than on the south. That would involve a certain number of differences in the action and in the grouping. It might explain why there are more groups consisting of a young man and young woman in the north than in the south metopes. Above all, it gives a reason why the three Centaurs drawn for D'Ortières have no Lapith opponents. These Centaurs would be rushing into the fray. In a word, our argument is that the coincidences between the north and south metopes are sufficient to justify the opinion that the same subject of a Centauromachia had covered both, but that the scheme of arrangement was in the one case an inversion of the other. In these matters no one has shown greater discrimination than Professor Petersen, who says 1 :—"If, therefore, on both long sides (north
1 Kunst des Pheidias, p. 230.