The west pediment of the Parthenon


British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

The central feature of the west pediment of the Parthenon was the colossal statues of Athena and Poseidon in contest for Athens and the land of Attica (the country around the city).

The reclining figures in the corners of the triangular composition perhaps represent the rivers of Attica. This figure, from the left-hand corner, is thought to personify the river Ilissos, by comparison with figures on the east pediment of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia; the Greek historian Pausanias names them as the local rivers there.

The naked youth's languid form is well adapted to the raking angle of the pediment that framed him. He appears as if caught in the action of raising himself onto a rock. A piece of drapery hangs wet and clinging to his left arm.


  • Title: The west pediment of the Parthenon
  • Date Created: -438/-432
  • Physical Dimensions: Depth: 56.00cm; Height: 81.28cm (max)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Subject: allegory/personification; classical deity
  • Registration number: 1816,0610.99
  • Production place: Made in Athens
  • Producer: Designed by Pheidias
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Parthenon
  • Period/culture: Classical Greek
  • Material: marble
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Elgin

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