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Parthenon East Metope XI, one of two metopes with three figures in the composition, has been one of the most problematic in the east series. C. Praschniker, in his study of the east metopes in 1928, was the first to propose Herakles as the central figure. Subsequent scholars have challenged this identification, suggesting instead Apollo, Ares, or Hephaistos. A comparison with representations of the Gigantomachy on vases of the fifth century B.C. supports Herakles for the central figure in East XI. An examination of plaster casts of the metope in Basel and in Athens provides evidence to reconstruct the figure equipped with a large bow in his outstretched left hand and the position of his right foot. The new evidence for the pose and attributes further supports the identification of the central figure as Herakles. Correlations to another three-figure composition in the east metopes, as well as placement on the facade and alignment with the ground plan of the temple, underscore the important role given to Herakles in this representation of the battle of the gods and giants.*


Originally appears in American Journal of Archaeology. Copyright 1996 Archaeological Institute of America.

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American Journal of Archaeology

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Schwab, Katherine. 1996. "Parthenon East Metope XI: Herakles and the Gigantomachy." AJA 100(1):81-90.



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