Height: 1.2 m
Length: 1.227 m
Marble from Penteli
On metope 31 Zeus seated on a rock gives instructions to Iris, his winged messenger.
The thirty two metopes on the north side of the Parthenon represent the Fall of Troy to the allied armies of the Greek kings. The reason for the Greeks' campaign against Troy in Asia Minor was the abduction of Helen, wife of the Spartan king Menelaos, by Paris, prince of Troy. During the ten years that the besiegement of Troy lasted, in which the Athenians also took part, the Olympian gods divided their loyalties between the two camps.
The severe damage of the surface of the metopes has made the secure identification of the depicted figures and subjects very difficult. The absence of battle scenes indicates that the episodes take place at night, after the fall of Troy. The identification of scenes draws on mythological, literary and iconographic sources. The damages were provoked mainly by intentional hammering perhaps during the conversion of the Parthenon into a Christian church. The fact, that only metope 32 (Ακρ. 20706) was exempted from damage, most possibly means that the Christians gave their own religious interpretation to the goddesses.
Eighteen of the north metopes (nrs. 4, 7-22, 26) were lost during the bombardment of the Parthenon by Francesco Morosini in 1687, which damaged mainly the long sides of the temple. Metope 5 was found in 1840 in the pile of ruins along the north side of the Parthenon, whereas metope 23 was retrieved later in the same area. The rest twelve metopes were removed from the monument gradually in 1987 and between 2007-2012 with the aim to be protected from air pollution and bad weather conditions.
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