A219 Exploring the Classical World
A219 Exploring the Classical World Essay PART ONE Look at the Illustrations Book, Plate 16: Athens: Parthenon. South metopeXXXI. Lapith and centaur. 447–439 BCE (1. 3 x 1. 3 m). In no more than 500 words: (i) briefly provide the context of this sculpture (ii) discuss the ways in which its subject matter conveyed a political message to Athenian viewers Metopes were situated on the outside of the Parthenon building they are high reliefs carved into rectangular slabs placed over the columns. There are 92 Metopes on the Parthenon building, which relate to four different myths.
The Parthenon itself is a Temple dedicated to the Goddess Athena built on the Acropolis in Athens. Metope XXXI found on the southern side of the Parthenon believed to depict the Centauromachy the mythical battle between Centaurs and Lapiths. The mythical Lapith king invited the Centaurs to his wedding. Where the Centaurs got drunk and tried to abduct the bride as well as the other Lapith women. The Lapiths fought off the Centaurs and were victorious. (Art the Parthenon http://www. ancientgreece. com/s/Parthenon/)
The Parthenon erected during the 440s- 430s’BCE was the largest of the temples on the Acropolis it was a classic Doric design which incorporated some Ionic architectural features. Even though a very impressive structure it housed the equally impressive Statue of Athena Pathenos made with Ivory and Gold, and had a separate room housing a treasury. It did not hold the most sacred image of Athena, which was a statue made of olivewood, which was within the Athena Polias Temple. This is where the Panathenaic procession ended in the early fifth century.
Before the Erecthion was completed in 406 BCE (A219, DVD 2, Section3, Tracks 2-3) The other subjects of the metopes are The Trojan War, Greeks verses Amazons and The Gods verses Giants. An overall theme of order that the Greeks would prevail against non-Greeks (block2 part 2 p79) The Parthenon dominated the Acropolis and seen from afar it showed off the power of Athens their military prowess and the dominance of Athens over the rest of the Greek-speaking world and beyond. (Art the Parthenon http://www. ancientgreece. om/s/Parthenon/) The Parthenon was part of Pericles’ building program funded by the treasury of the Delian League, which it housed when it was completed. The political message conveyed by the subject matter of metope XXXI and the Parthenon, as a whole was one of superiority over their barbarous enemies. It portrayed barbarians non Athenians/Greeks as not having any morals, self-restraint or the ability to have reasoned rational thoughts or discussions. (OCC, p111-112) Centaurs and Amazons had become the epitome of barbarian forces who opposed the cultural and political ethos, which was predominant in Athens at that time. OCC, P148-149). The housing of the treasury of the Delian League within the Parthenon cannot be ignored either, It made it into a civic as well as religious building. The Delian League formed in 478 BCE against the constant threat of Persian attack. Athens did not control the funds from the formation of the league in 478 BCE they seized the opportunity to do so soon after. (BHAG, p139-140). . Athens then transferred the funds from Delos in approximately 454BCE to Athens. Athens showing its prominence to the world was also a nationalistic exercise, forging a common link among Athenians and other Greek speaking states.
Bibliography Art the Parthenon, (2012 January 10) Retrieved January, 10, 2012 http://www. ancientgreece. com/s/Parthenon/) Hornblower, S. and Spawforth, A. (eds) (1998) The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization, Oxford: Oxford University Press. (A219, DVD 2, Section3, Tracks 2-3) Pomeroy, S. B. , Burstein S. M. , Donlan W. and Roberts, J. T. (2004) A Brief History of Ancient Greece: Politics, Society and Culture, Oxford: Oxford University Press Part Two “The Athenian artistic performances and displays of the fifth century BCE were firstly and foremost a form of propaganda. Do you agree or disagree with this Statement? Answer with references to at least two of the following: the art and architecture of the Acropolis, the Ephitaphios Logos, Persians and Lysistrata Propaganda is a subjective term so for the purposes of this essay I will be using the definition provided by the (OCC, p573. ) Using Persians, Art and architecture of the Acropolis, the Ephitaphios Logos and Aristophanes Lysistrata to explore the different forms propaganda takes and whether it makes a text or piece of architecture more about propaganda than any other purpose it may serve.
Before discussing these texts and architecture, it is worth noting that Pericles is closely connected to the first three items under discussion. Although Strategos at the outbreak of the Peloponnesian war he died within approx in the first two and a half years of the outbreak in429 BCE. Pericles a democratic aristocrat born in 495BCE was very successful. He was the (choregos) Chorus leader responsible for the training and paying of the festival chorus for Aeschylus’ Persians in 472BCE; he initiated the building program on the Acropolis in the 440s-430s BCE and gave the first Ephitaphios Logos of the Peloponnesian war.
He was elected general (Strategos) for 29 years consecutively uncontested (OCC, p527) although democracy had been around for 50 years Pericles was the one who championed it that as well as Athenian imperialism. His peers held him in high regard. (Bhag, p145) Aeschylus’ Persians financed by Pericles is an excellent example of Integration propaganda it sought to reinforce the nature of the barbarian. Which were un-Athenian, barbarians were uneducated effeminate subject to the rule of one leader, which was anathema to the Athenian sense of superiority of mind, body and tongue.
Aeschylus set the play in Persia and detailed lots of the defeat that they have suffered it was a lesson in what happens if one man rather than the democratic process should gain power. Persians celebrates the Greek victories over Persia and is “patting itself on the back” for having such an excellent democratic government rather than a despotic leader like Xerxes who in his hubris ransacked the temples on the Acropolis. In the speech made by Dareios (Persians lines 824-832) it is clear that the play is a moral lesson to all including the Greeks and Athenians against hubris. As well as being very pro Athenian. Block 2, part one) The Parthenon itself was both a civic and religious building its many ornate features evoking pride and citizenship. The temple was much larger than others were and could be seen from afar being high up on the Acropolis. Its large selection of decorations was superbly created the pediment pieces were fully carved all around even though they could not be viewed. On the west pediment, the dispute between Athena and Poseidon was represented competing with their chariots for the city of Athens this faced the Propylaea and could be seen from the rest of the city.
The eastern pediment bore the tale of Athena’s birth from the head of Zeus. The inclusion of a second elaborate frieze, around the inside wall, that was usually viewed from afar between the outer columns. Was not a usual feature of Doric temples. The frieze believed by some scholars to evoke the Panathenaic festival is an extravagant addition to the temple. The festival is an annual event in honour of Goddess Athena’s Birthday.
On the frieze itself people are depicted as well as Gods women and horseman and possibly slaves giving rise to the possibility that Athens was a society that included everybody.. This is the first instance of people being represented on a temple decoration. This could be argued that it is defiantly more about civic pride than piety. The building program, which Pericles instigated also, included the Erecthion, the Propylaea and the Temple of Athena Nike (victory) they were to show that Athens had recovered from the Persian attack on the Acropolis in 480 BCE.
The whole program was funded by money from the Delian league (Block 2, Part 2) In The Ephitaphios Logos, a version of Pericles speech by Thucydides at the end of the first year of the Peloponnesian war, he presents a very nationalistic view of Athens and of the Athenians themselves he starts out by praising the ancestors for handing down the country free and makes it clear that they did this with valour. When he states in (Reading’s book “2. 37) that, their constitution does not copy others but that others are more likely to copy it.
He is saying we are the best. The speech goes on to expound the virtues of Athenian democracy and way of life and in doing so he manages to contrast it with that of life and rule in the undemocratic Greek states and non Greek lands. He seeks to instil national pride and remind the citizens of their civic duties to the state as well to fellow Athenians. As when a country is at war, patriotism is very important and how better to remind them of their greatness and accomplishments.
It was propaganda to reinforce Athenian pride in their state and to demonize the enemy by contrasting it yet again against the mighty and great Athens. (Block 2, Part 3) , Aritophanes’Lysistrata written and performed in the twentieth year of the Peloponnesian War 411BCE was written at a time when the war was not going well for Athens they had suffered heavy losses. Things were not going to get any better for them. Political satirist Aristophanes takes the universal and “turns it upon its head”. He uses a world where mere women can outwit the men.
To end a war that everybody was sick of apart from the government who had the funds to keep it going. Using all the satirist tricks of comedy, farce, parody, and a comic fool he manages to convey that the war has gone on long enough and even offers solutions with the analogy of women’s work (Lysistrata 575-587). Combining this with a good mix of the bawdy, song and dance he connects with his audience who know what the political position is at the time. In direct contrast to the above pro Athenian propaganda of Pericles’ achievements, Aristophanes Lysistrata is anti-war/Athenian propaganda. Block 2, Part Four) In conclusion, I find it hard it difficult to agree or disagree that any of the propaganda presented was the primary function of either the plays or architecture of the Acropolis. The Parthenon could very well have as much about piety as it was propaganda and the plays also had other functions Persians as a warning to all about the consequences of impiety and Lysistrata as a comedy that took the circumstances at the time so as to connect with the audience.
Bibliography Hornblower, S. and Spawforth, A. (eds) (1998) The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pomeroy, S. B. , Burstein S. M. , Donlan W. and Roberts, J. T. (2004) A Brief History of Ancient Greece: Politics, Society and Culture, Oxford: Oxford University Press Budelmann F, Hardwick L, Robson S, (2006) A219 Block 2: ‘Classical Athens’, Milton Keynes: The Open University A219 Readings Book 1, (2006) Milton Keynes: The Open University