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The Parthenon frieze

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While the sculpted Ionic frieze of the Parthenon with its galloping horsemen and classically portrayed gods is reproduced in every art history text and has been much studied by scholars, no single book has yet been devoted to all its myriad aspects. This study by classical archaeologist and art historian Jenifer Neils breaks new ground by considering all aspects of this complex and controversial monument. Although the frieze has been studied for over two hundred years, most scholarship has sought an overall interpretation of the iconography rather than focusing on the sculpture's visual language, essential for a full understanding of the narrative. Neils' study not only decodes the language of the frieze, but also analyzes its conception and design, style and content, as well as its impact on later art. Unusual for its wide-ranging approach to the frieze, this book also brings ethical reasoning to bear on the issue of its possible repatriation as part of the on-going Elgin Marble debate. As one of the foremost examples of the high classical style and the finest expression of mid-fifth century Athenian ideology, the Parthenon frieze is without doubt one of the major monuments of western civilization, and as such deserves to be understood in all its dimensions. The accompanying CD-ROM contains a virtual reality Macromedia Director movie of the complete frieze, based on the plaster casts in the Skulpturhalle in Basel, Switzerland. Developed by Rachel Rosenzweig of the Department of Greek and Roman Art of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the casts are arranged in conformity with Neils' reconstruction and enable the user to view them in succession, as if walking around the Parthenon. The CD-ROM requires a computer running either MAC OS 8.01 or later, or Windows 95 or later.

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