Page images

parison we must further recognise the olive tree between the deities as equally applicable to the centre of the pediment. Whether there were there also the serpent and the Nike must be left in suspense.

The chariot of Athenè we know from Carrey's drawings, but by his time the horses of Poseidon had disappeared. The heads of his two horses have, however, been recovered on the Acropolis. We give them as they were probably intended to be seen (Pl. V.), the nearer head sculptured in a large, grand manner; the farther head is only roughed out, and at the same time has been sliced off at the back to fit against the vertical wall of the pediment." Curiously enough, the ear of the farther horse had been pricked forward strongly, and most probably the ears of the nearer horse had been similarly rendered to indicate sudden surprise. The horses of Athenè were lost through Morosini's attempt to lower them, and we cannot now say from Carrey's drawings whether their ears also had been pricked forward. It would almost seem not.

The charioteer of Poseidon, O, exists still in marble in the British Museum as well as in Carrey's drawing, though in both cases fragmentary (Pl. V.). We are inclined to recognise in her attitude and in the violence with which her scarf is twisted up round her shoulders more action than is perceptible in the opposite charioteer of Athenė, G. The broad girdle round her waist and her bare leg, as shown in Carrey, seem to give her an air of distinction, but

Michaelis assigned these heads wrongly to the chariot of Athenè, as Sauer has already pointed out.

whether these features are sufficient to justify the name that has often been given her of Amphitritè, the spouse of Poseidon, we are not prepared to say. Carrey was in time to preserve also in his drawing a female figure, N, hasting to the centre. This figure corresponds to the Hermes on the farther side of the horses of Athenė. We shall see that on the frieze each chariot is accompanied by a man on foot, whose function was to assist the driver in keeping his team in order, and usually he is there also placed at the farther side of the horses. The divine chariots in the pediment may have been in no need of such help. But clearly this was an artistic device of the time, to counteract in a measure the long horizontal masses of the horses by a standing figure at the farther side. We may therefore regard both the Hermes and this female figure as artistic elements rather than as beings absolutely necessary to the myth.

Some have proposed to identify this female figure, N, behind the missing horses of Poseidon with the torso of Victory at present placed in the east pediment in the Elgin Room (Pl. VIII., Fig. 1). In action and costume both are much alike. But there is a marked difference in the left arms. In our torso of Victory the left arm has been raised high, showing the armpit, whereas in Carrey's drawing of the west pediment the left arm falls downwards with a scarf over it, of which there is no trace on the Victory. Carrey was too observant a draughtsman to make an error of that kind. Besides, our Victory had wings, which had been fitted into deep sockets in the back of her shoulders, but are now lost. It is possible, no doubt, that Carrey's figure had wings originally, which


[ocr errors]

had been lost before his time, but in that case the figure would obviously not have responded as she otherwise does to the Hermes, H, beside Athene's chariot. Nor can a Victory on the side of Poseidon be reconciled with the situation. He was defeated.

Great as has been the wreck of the central group, we can still in a measure realise the composition from Carrey's drawing, and the style from the torsos and fragments that remain (Pl. V.). The fragmentary body of Poseidon, M, which we possess is not only grand and true, but without it we have no means of judging how the sculptor of the Parthenon had treated the colossal figures in the very centre of his two pediments. The fragment of the breast of Athenė, L, is similarly grand and simple. The torso of the Hermes is much defaced in front, but the back has been fairly well preserved, and is, indeed, one of the best examples of the care bestowed on the invisible backs of the figures. Nature has prescribed that in man the front view shall display most fully the vital organs, and in that respect the sculptor of the Parthenon has taken her lead. He has, perhaps, gone a little further sometimes, though not in the Hermes. We have already noticed the existing torso of Poseidon's charioteer, and need only add that in Carrey's drawing there is a seamonster under her feet corresponding to the dolphins on the St. Petersburg vase. Creatures of that kind were, doubtless, impossible on the Acropolis, but how otherwise was the sculptor to indicate the pool of brackish water which Poseidon had just struck ?

In our view the two contending deities were conceived as invisibly present on the Acropolis beside the actual olive tree

and pool which they had created. Their charioteers were equally invisible and present on the Acropolis. But the figures in the two wings, consisting of interested spectators in the form of local heroes or local personifications, were not necessarily there also. To assume that they were present on the Acropolis seems a far too narrow and literal interpretation of a divine incident which affected the whole land of Attica. It is true that, according to a late version of the myth, Cecrops was present as judge, and gave his decision in favour of Athenė. That, however, does not imply that he was on the Acropolis at the moment. As we have said, there is in the artistic composition of the pediment as a whole a strong demarcation between the great central group and the wings. No doubt this demarcation may only be meant to indicate a separation between the divine beings, by nature invisible, and the local beings. But it may mean also a separation in space.

It is now agreed that the figures B, C, D, E, F, in the left wing are Cecrops and his three daughters with the boy Erichthonios. We recognise Cecrops from the serpent, on whose coils his left hand rests. He was a being of a double nature—a man with the legs of a serpent. But the sculptor has here been content to indicate this by a serpent at his side. One of his daughters has rushed to him in alarm, casting herself on her knees, and throwing her arm round his neck. Her mantle, twisted among her feet, suggests that in her haste it had fallen and helped to throw her forward. The cause of her alarm is obvious. It was the violent contention of the two deities. Her sisters and the boy Erichthonios share her excitement, especially the sister nearest the centre, who in Carrey's drawing corresponds singularly with the so-called Iris, G, of the east pediment, both in the slightness of her figure and in her action of turning away from the centre. When we see on the east frieze a mortal standing with his back deliberately turned towards deities apparently close beside him, we know that he is unconscious of their presence, and similarly we may assume that this daughter of Cecrops was conscious only of some mysterious sound or sight. These daughters of Cecrops recall a passage of Euripides (Ion, 1163), where he mentions a curtain at Delphi-the gift of an Athenian-on which was embroidered Cecrops and his daughters, he ending in the coils of a serpent, the whole scene apparently having been much the same as on a vase in the British Museum. It was a subject intimately associated with the rocks of the Acropolis.

1 The olive tree was destroyed during 2 tov dipun Kékpona. Anth. Gr. the Persian sack of the Acropolis, but App. 14 (ed. Jacobs). This group of on the second day thereafter sent forth Cecrops and his daughters (B, C) rea shoot, says Herodotus viii. 55. Pau- mains on the Parthenon, except a sanias tells that on the same day a shoot fragment of the serpent which is in the two cubits long appeared (I. 26, 6, and British Museum. 1. 27, 2).

Between this family group of Cecrops and the reclining figure in the angle, A, is a gap in the composition, but there is no proof of any figure ever having been there. Besides, there is a corresponding gap in the right wing, equally with no trace of any figure. In our judgment these two gaps are an essential part of the composition. So far as the left wing

"E 788, a vase in the form of a sphinx surmounted by a cup, on which the design is painted, Cecrops ending

in a serpent, his three daughters, and the boy Erichthonios (Hellenic Journal, viii. p. 1, pl. 73).

« PreviousContinue »