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Parthenon

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Parthenon

(Above is a much simplified drawing of the reconstruction of the west pediment of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, Height of Apollo at center: 10' 2") The importance of this quiet face is shown very clearly in another work, the pediment sculpture of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia (ca. 460 BC) -a pediment is the triangular space on the upper part of the short sides of a Greek temple:he space under the ends of the low peaked roof the theme of this energetic composition is the battle of the Lapiths + the Centaurs at the

wedding feast of the Lapith king, Perithoos-- one of Zeus's sons The centaurs--mythical creatures with a human head and torso and a horse's body--had been invited but they drank too much + tried to kidnap the bride + her young women The general theme of the sculpture is the victory of the civilized over the barbaric And in particular the reference is to the recent Greek victory in the Persian Wars (first half or 5th century): Twice the Persians invaded Greece with forces that greatly outnumbered the Greeks, and

Twice the Greeks defeated them, with great valor . . at the Battle of Marathon (490 BC), for example, the Greeks prevailed, tho they were outnumbered an estimated 9 to 1 So: this pediment sculpture speaks of the victory of the civilized over the barbaric And the choice of centaurs to represent barbarism is very apt, for the horse-loving Persians seem to have described themselves as being like centaurs

For the Persians, this likeness to centaurs was a positive

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