Around 570 BC
Height: 1.44 m
Length: 14.1 m
Width: 0.66 m
Central group: 1.44 x 5.25 m
Herakles and Triton: 0.8 x 3.55 m
Three-bodied Daemon: 0.76 x 3.23 m
Archaic Acropolis Gallery
Parts of sculptures, most likely attributed to the west pediment of the Hekatompedon. Most were discovered in 1888 east and southeast of the Parthenon, were reassembled and restored. Herakles' head was found in 1938 on the northern slope of the Acropolis.
The pediment's preserved sculptures comprise three distinct groups that depict different mythical conflicts. In the central group, two enormous lions have seized a bull with their claws and are devouring it. This is a beloved motif for the decoration of early archaic temples that originated in the Near Eastern art. On the left group, we see Herakles, wrestling with Triton, while on the right, part of a standing figure wearing a red himation stands before the "Three-bodied Daemon", a winged creature consisting of three bearded, male figures, whose lower bodies are intertwined snakes. The figures clasp in their hands the symbols of the three elements of nature: a wave for water, a thunder bolt for fire and a bird for air. The snake bodies, which slither on the ground, would symbolise the fourth element: earth. Small holes with lead stems on the chest and arms of these figures were probably used to attach snakes like the Ακρ. 41. The identity of the "Three-bodied Daemon" remains unknown. Some say it is the sea-god Nereus, while others believe it is Typhon, son of Gaia (Earth) and Tartarus. If this creature is indeed Typhon, then the standing figure in front of him has to be Zeus, who according to myth destroyed him with his thunder bolt.
The composition of this pediment comes to life with engraved and relief details as well as the addition of colourful painted decoration with black, red, blue and ochre. It was the work of an important sculptor, who could easily manipulate the volume of the figures. It is believed that the conflicts represented on this pediment signify the attempt people made to overcome nature's elements while simultaneously inspiring awe towards the greatness and the power of the gods.
The pediment is crowned by a poros limestone cornice (Ακρ. 4572, Ακρ. 22, Ακρ. 22 α, Ακρ. 22 β, Ακρ. 22 γ) and a marble rain-gutter (Ακρ. 126, Ακρ. 3902, Ακρ. 3949, Ακρ. 3958, Ακρ. 3965, Ακρ. 4067).
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