In 1996 Joan Connelly published an article in the American Journal of Archaeology in which she argued that the frieze of the Parthenon represented the sacrifice of the daughters of Erechtheus and Praxithea (the king and queen of primeval Athens) and its ritual consequences.1 This sacrifice, Connelly argues, became a symbol of the kind of unwavering devotion to the welfare of the city that later political leaders, like Pericles, wanted to instill into the Athenian citizenry. Hence, it was not simply an appropriate subject for the Parthenon frieze; it was an essential one. Although this reading of the frieze has its adherents among Classical scholars, doubters seem to outnumber the believers, and in the present book Connelly’s intention is clearly to reopen the battle by expanding and...


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