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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This handsomely mounted, comprehensive, and persuasively argued book is a joy to read."
-Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"Neils has done us a great service by collating the vast body of material on the frieze thus far, and by providing new and stimulating ways to think about the frieze in its visual and historical context. All this is achieved in an inviting format, which is a pleasure to read and to which I will return again and again."
-CAA Reviews

"A superb presentation of a subject central to classical archaeology...All the chapters will be of great interest to scholars, and particularly to students, as they represent up-to-date treatments of enduring problems."
-William R. Biers, University of Missouri-Columbia

"[Hartwick recommends] The Parthenon Frieze as a substantial contribution to the never-ending debate on this enigmatic and, therefore, all-the-more-fascinating artistic creation of the Classical period."
-Classical Bulletin

"Jenifer Neils' Parthenon Frieze provides an excellent survey of its subject...Neils admirably controls the scholarship on the frieze and the pertinent comparative material. She presents often-conflicting scholarly opinions with balance and clarity and frequently offers her own, fresh point of view. The questions the book ponders and its elegant and jargon-free writing make it both an easy read and a welcome journey...I recommend the book as a must-have for anyone with any interest in the Parthenon."
-Marjorie Venit, University of Maryland, The Classical Outlook

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521684026
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2006
  • Edition description: Book & CD-ROM
  • Pages: 316
  • Product dimensions: 6.97 (w) x 9.96 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Jenifer Neils is Ruth Coutler Heede Professor of Art History at Case Western Reserve University, where she has taught since 1980. A scholar of Greek art and archaeology, she organized the exhibition “Goddess and Polis: The Panathenaic Festival in Ancient Athens” and edited the exhibition catalogue. Neils is also author of The Youthful Deeds of Theseus, the second Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum of the Cleveland Museum of Art, and The Parthenon: From Antiquity to the Present.
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Table of Contents

Preface; Introduction; Polis: the context of ritual; Paradeigma: designing the frieze; Techne: carving the frieze; Mimesis: the high classical style; Iconographia: identifying the players; Iconologia: interpreting the frieze; Kleos: the impact of the frieze; Thauma: whose heritage?
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