Council of Gods on the Parthenon Frieze at Hammerwood Park
Illustrated guided tour of the Parthenon Frieze with groundbreaking research deriving from computer analysis of the classical literature and reference to the complete copy of the Parthenon Frieze at Hammerwood Park.



I have tried to determine the interpretation of the Frieze, which is not adequately explained elsewhere. As an integral part of the building it has to be read not as mere decoration but as potent and sacred symbolism. I have tried to enter the mindset of the ancient Greeks and I beleive the result is capable of great educational value. Were I an ancient Greek in the Panatheic Procession, what would I be thinking as we visited first the temple of Hephaestus on our way to the temple on the Acropolis of Athena herself, passing through the eastern doorway surmounted by the East Frieze depicting the Gods sitting on stools except Zeus on a chair, and finding within the respendant Athena facing the rising sun atop a podium depicting the birth of Pandora?

When we read the Iliad, we find our heroes of the book really not in determination of their own lives but at the will and bidding of the Gods. It was against this background that Plato and Aristotle were revolutionary in rational thinking and the frieze may start to reflect thinking from which their ideas developed.

In summary, I deduce that the Parthenon was built in celebration of the creation of mankind through Pandora, into whom all the Gods had contrinuted a component. The frieze depicts the Assembly of Gods, with Zeus as it's Chair Man. A debate appears and their disposition indicates a contrast between those who promote mankind and those who provide temptations, as if to say to the Chairman that mankind can be shown to fall for temptations and is therefore worthless. It's a hung Council and so the Chairman carries the decision as to wehether mankind is good enough. In terms of the Homeric tradition, our thoughts and lives being directed at the whim of the Gods, we carry the components of the Gods in our heads through our common descent from Pandora and within us, we are responsible as the Chairman within us for the directions that we choose.

The frieze is therefore to the Greeks as the First Judgment, in the same way as is the Last Judgment to the Christian tradition. It teaches concepts of temptation, corrosive thoughts in terms of desire, deceipt and hate, morality compatible with the Mystery schools, Buddhism, Old Testament Judaism and its derivatives.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The following research was written before visiting Athens and walking the Panathenaic Way. Since writing what follows, a deeper meaning and understanding has emerged, which confirms and enhances the original analysis.

The Parthenon appears to have been built as a celebration of the Creation of Mankind. The Frieze depicts the Council of the Gods in the course of debating whether the creation of mankind was good. It is a hung council, but the cause of mankind wins the Chairman's vote - and the religion becomes monotheistic. Upon entering the Parthenon, the splendid statue of Athena celebrates the Goddess by whom with the God Hephaestus the first woman was created. She stands upon a podium decorated with a frieze celebrating the act of the birth of the first woman and through whom makind was licensed to multiply and populate the earth. The Parthenon and its Frieze in particular represents one of the most primary of documents universally sacred to mankind.

The debate of the Gods on the frieze relates to our own psyche: the legend is that each of them provided a component of Pandora, the first woman as Eve in the Christian tradition, from whom we are all descended. Thus, we all carry these components in each one of us. This has a curious similarity with Dannion Brinkley's meeting with 13 "beings of light" and contemplations upon the contributions of each of the Gods of the Parthenon Frieze into Pandora as our ancestor may bear examination.

It is apparent that there cannot be proper wider public or scholarly appreciation of the meaning of the Parthenon and significance of the Frieze until at least the East section of the Frieze is restored by reunification with a section in Athens, perhaps for the 2004 Olympics.

The Council of Gods on the Parthenon Frieze

The East frieze depicts all the gods sitting on stools, except the central figure who sits on a chair - a Chairman. The Homeric tradition is rich with textual imagery of a Council of the Gods and the connexion has been ignored by all scholarly analysis of the Parthenon and the Frieze. The reason for this is a severe inadequacy of the display of this section in the British Museum, because it is missing 1/3 of the seated figures, the paucity masked by the apparent necessity of interruption by a doorway.

doorway in the British Museum masking missing section of Frieze
and the majesty of the Homeric council simply is not apparent

other than in the full copy at Hammerwood Park

(and cannot be apparent elsewhere until this section of frieze is reunited with the panel depicting Posiedon, Apollo and Artemis in Athens).
Poseidon Apollo and Artemis on the Parthenon Frieze in Athens. Copyright DJP 2002

Having recognised the Homeric Council of Gods, one has to ask the question "What are they deciding?".
The Council of Gods on the Parthenon Frieze

Perhaps it is the answer to this question that is the clue to the Parthenon and the significance of the Acropolis itself.

Upon this hangs the answer to the question of where the frieze should be. If the reunification of the East Frieze is necessary for the proper understanding of the site, then putting back together the portions in London with the slabs in Athens becomes of paramount importance to the integrity and curatorship of the site.

No-one can deny that the streams of horsemen in the British Museum are not excellently displayed, analysed and presented to visitors. But a comparable attention to the East Frieze is incapacitated by its present display and incompleteness. The British Museum would lose nothing and gain everything were it to allow the East Frieze to be reunited with slabs elsewhere and displayed in Athens.

So why is the East Frieze of any more importance than a random array of pagan idols? The Council depicted by the frieze is likely to be deciding something. What is it deciding?

  1. The grouping of the Gods is likely to be significant
  2. Council members are usually polarised and two opposing views are debated
  3. Any interpretation of the frieze in this light should demonstrate political grouping and evidence of voting
  4. A marked contrast of the direction in which the gods are facing is seen in the group on the right, absent from the British Museum.
  5. The analysis below indicates that the frieze depicts a hung council. In this, of course, the Chairman has the casting vote. Thus, under the overall control of the Father Zeus the frieze ceases to be pantheistic or pagan, and accords with Renaissance view of the biblical traditions of Genesis 6 and Job 1. (The stigma of pantheism has historically been a major disincentive to the preservation of the frieze by muslim and christian occupants of Athens as well as an impediment to consideration and scholarship)
  6. The analysis below shows a distinction between those deities who are legendarily associated with the creation and promotion of mankind and those who are associated with forces that trip us up at every move. It appears to be a debate about whether the creation of mankind is good or whether man is capable of being good. (Just as in Christian churches we find depictions of the last judgment, we appear to be looking here at the First Judgment)
  7. The Panathenaic Procession which took place every Olympiad (four years) passed along

    the Panathenaic Way.
    View from the acropolis of the Panathenaic Way

    The first temple encountered on the procession was dedicated to Hephaestos
    Temple of VulcanTemple of Hephaestos

    who, according to tradition, made the first man. From here one looks up in awe at the Acropolis
    The Acropolis from the temple of Hephaestos (Vulcan)

    to the temples of Athena - with whom Hephaestos had been engaged to make the first woman, Pandora.

  8. One enters the Parthenon beneath the Frieze upon which Zeus holds the future of mankind in his vote, to see the glorious statue of Athena inside, potent with the creation symbolism of the snake and standing upon a podium with a frieze depicting the birth of Pandora.
  9. According to tradition, before Pandora, there were only men. As mankind still exists, we conclude that we continue to do so by the grace of Zeus' vote on the frieze, and as we see the birth of Pandora inside we conlude that He approved of mankind enough to authorise the creation of the first woman and thereby granted licence to the human race to flourish and multiply.

The Parthenon Frieze therefore achieves pre-eminent status in the legendary history of mankind and in the biblical story from differing traditions, the similarity of which was the powder keg behind the original Renaissance scholars in Toledo.

For this creation story expressed by the Parthenon to be popularly understood again, it is imperative that the East Frieze be returned to Athens and reunited with the neighbouring slabs still there.

In a world where religious diversity has caused so many problems and perceptions of differences have overcome perceptions of common origins, we have everything to gain by the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles and their better understanding and appreciation that will result. May the new Renaissance begin!

Copyright David Pinnegar BSc ARCS 2002

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Former research and conclusions

The symbolism of the Parthenon with the Athena statue on the Acropolis of Athens suggests that stories told by Plato were (1) common knowledge among the Athenian intelligensia (2) universally held to be true and (3) resulted in the building of the greatest temple ever built.

The Greek Gods

The Frieze contains all the elements of Plato's Atlantis texts and suggests that the Parthenon was built to commemorate Athena and Hephaestus having championed the Athenians in the epic War between Athens and Atlantis. The construction of the Parthenon for this purpose proves that the stories told by Plato were common knowledge and were considered by all to be true history. The frieze identifies the nature of the debate to which Plato referred at the end of the Critias text.

© David Pinnegar BSc ARCS
1st July 1998

It was a condition of the Duveen bequest to the British Museum that no copies of missing sections of the Parthenon frieze were to be displayed adjacent the originals. With some of the frieze in London and fragments in Athens, the frieze has not been seen complete in years.

The focus of the frieze depicts all the Gods apparently attending a ceremony. Whilst the panel depicting Poseidon, Apollo and Artemis remains in Athens the majesty of the scene cannot be comprehended in the British Museum.

I am aware of a handful of copies of the frieze which show the missing deities to a varying degree of accuracy. Of the others I have only seen the one around the Athenaeum Club in London and this is inaccurate in the vital section which is missing in the British Museum. In 1984 Hammerwood Park was fortunate enough to have been given one of these copies, formerly at Charterhouse School which, although only about 30% of the total, is complete in the most important section, the central section of the East Frieze.

The Greek Gods on the East Frieze

The value of Lord Elgin's "rescue" of the frieze could be better appreciated: on the far right, the figure of Eros and of Aphrodite's legs is on the Hammerwood copy but has been erased from the surface of the originals in the British Museum. Between Lord Elgin making casts and bringing them home, the marbles were being hideously vandalised.

Only in its complete display is the frieze is to be seen, not only as a singularly important work of architectural art but also as the most profound document to mankind. One of the reasons for the deliberate defacement of the frieze was that by Muslims and Christians alike it was considered to be Pagan, with the associated taboo of viewing idols of God made in our image. As I was to discover, nothing could be farther from the truth: it is compatible with monotheism and gives clues to wider multifaith understanding. The frieze is more than merely of outstanding artistic merit: it is actually one of the primary documents surviving from ancient times.

Historians make the mistake that history is not history if it is not written. Accordingly, ancient items become "pre-historic" and stories handed down to us are dismissed as myths. However, as in this case, we find that information from a multiplicity of sources builds to confirm certain stories as true history. Central to the understanding of this is the concept that history repeats itself and is cyclical. It is, of course the logic that justifies the teaching of history: history teaches us either safe paths to follow in certain circumstances or enables us to break the cycle where mistakes have been made. History gives us an eye to the future. Rarely do historians look at the future, by the same logic in reverse, as a research tool to the past. This approach confirms the interpretation of the frieze briefly outlined below from existing aural/documentary sources.

The reason for the lack of appreciation of the importance frieze is that extant copies of slabs missing or in Athens have not been allowed to be displayed adjacent the originals in the British Museum. Looking at the far right of the illustration above, next to Eros leftwards is Aphrodite. Aphrodite and ErosCasts of her head and right shoulder (left of head on frieze) are in the Louvre. To the left of her is a slab (included in the Hammerwood copy) with Aphrodite's right elbow, Artemis, Apollo and Poseidon. This slab is in Athens (photograph above).

The portion showing the Greek Gods in the British Museum from the display at Hammerwood

Accordingly only the section on the left is visible to the Scholars on a daily basis in the British Museum .

In this section, temple servants lift down stools from the attendants heads as invitations for the Gods on the frieze. The Gods are depicted at twice the size of the mortals.

The Greek Gods on the East Frieze

Having been given a copy of the frieze complete in this section, one begins to appreciate the majesty of the Gods sitting there together on the wall and since 1994 I have been pondering and researching.

Whilst the position of each of the deities is well researched and documented, it appeared useful to research from first principles. Accordingly, I used a computer to search all of the ancient texts for the word "Gods" in the plural. It was of no surprise that the texts of both Homer and Plato featured the word most frequently.

What was startling was the most common context: "Council of Gods". Upon looking at the frieze again, one finds that all but one of the Gods sit on stools, whilst Zeus sits on a chair - a Chairman . . . the Council!

Zeus sitting on a chair

The concept that the frieze depicts the Council has the consequences of a presumed motion, a debate, some politics, some voting and a decision. The position of the Gods yields to analysis which accords with the implied question at the end of Plato's Critias: "Was it a good idea to make the men of Atlantis in our image"?

"Is it a good idea to make mankind in our image" is the concept throughout Genesis and Job where the "Sons of God" come down "with Satan" to torment Job to prove that mankind is not worthy of the Father's support. Eden, Sodom and Gomorra, Noah's Flood, Babel - the heavenly decision depends on the same debate. Genesis 6 makes the connection between the biblical "Sons of God" and the Greek Gods and heroes, the "men of renown". There is confusion as to the exact correspondence between these and the biblical Nephilim, giants and fallen angels but the ambiguities are of no consequence.

The Council of the Immortals

The myth of Hephaestus is that he spilled his seed on the dust of the earth, mixed it with the dust and from this mixture sprang mankind - life in made in his image. He was an engineer who was known to have fallen out of heaven and bumped his foot. On the frieze he is depicted with a club foot for this reason. We are not far off doing exactly this again: our genetic engineers will take their own DNA and get it - akin to a computer program - to run on a different hardware - a different chemistry - whether for mere academic purposes here or a different dust of a different earth to inhabit another planet. To the life that we create there that genetic engineer will have fallen out of heaven.

The Greek Gods on the East Frieze

On the frieze, Hephaestos and Athena - Goddess of Science, Wisdom and Knowledge - who made the first woman, Pandora sit centrally

Athena and Hephaestus

- to the right of the temple servants.
The Acropolis Temple servants of Athena

To the left

Nike, Hera and Zeus
are the Chairman himself Zeus (Jeus, Jove, Jehovah, Yehowa, Yahweh) and his wife Hera and their daughter Nike. Hera was goddess of marriage and encourages procreation - so this couple too are central to the promotion of mankind. Nike, Hera and ZeusAthena and Hephaestus Both Hephaestus and Athena were intimately connected with Athens, as Plato records, and Zeus was their father.

Nike, Hera and ZeusAthena and Hephaestus Only Apollo Apollolooks towards them and they form a group of five.

All of the others look away.

Demeter and DionysusThe two on the left here are in senses ambiguous - by the attitude of the legs, Dionysus, left, God of mind altering substances, appears to be facing away from us with a somewhat independent air. Demeter, mother Earth, has her hand on her chin looking sad. Both give the impression of not having a direct say in the Council's deliberations. Both are Titans. the rest are Olympians. One might conjecture that these two either have some reason to abstain or are co-opted members and have no vote in an Olympian Council.

Nearly all the others, want to put obstacles in our path which they wish to see us overcome.

HermesAres, MarsPosiedon Neptune Greek God of the SeaArtemis, Diana, Greek Goddess of hunting, Aphrodite Venus and Eros CupidHermes, left, deceit, lying and thieving; Ares, next, hate and war; Poseidon, left on right-hand group, sea, storms, moves mountains - earthquakes - responds to mother Demeter whispering in his ear to give mankind a jolt; Artemis (centre of missing section), huntress, desire, greed, money and power (manifested in the temple of Artemis at Theseus); and Aphrodite, lustful desires, sexual intrigue and jealousy. Other than Poseidon, who we see to be the political fruit of Demeter, this group represents the "satan" forces of society and cynically don't believe that we can overcome their temptations. These elements are identified as having to be excluded in the Buddhist aspiration to Nirvana.

Upon counting the voting, we have five for the motion and five against: it is only the Chairman's vote that counts.

Nike, Hera and ZeusAthena and HephaestusApollo
HermesAres, MarsPosiedon Neptune Greek God of the SeaArtemis, Diana, Greek Goddess of hunting, Aphrodite Venus and Eros Cupid
Chairman has casting vote
Zeus Jove

Whilst rabid Christian fundamentalists maintain that the word for God in the first chapter of Genesis, Elohim instead of Yahweh, is plural on account of the concept of the holy trinity, the trinity concept is entirely lacking for some thousands of years before the writings of the New Testament.

Through the Parthenon Frieze, it is much easier to see the unity between religions, the Hindu, Jain, Zoroastrian, Mithraic, Buddhist, Judaic, Christian, Muslim as a function of the process of Babel. Through the frieze, the plurality of the Hindu and of the Genesis Elohim become singular: it is only the Chairman's vote that we have to attain.

The Snake

The myths abound with the symbolism of the snake and it often carries connotations of life and health. Apollo used a silver arrow to kill a snake which was life threatening to his mother. Nowadays, looking down microscopes to see life threatening snakes (Anthrax bacteria and viruses) is commonplace.

We are starting to unravel the snake-like DNA from which all life is derived and analyse it to treat and cure life threatening genetic conditions. With X-Ray lasers, it is possible to engineer computer chips and nano-machines, assembling them atom by atom. DNA was first discovered with an X-Ray laser. How would you describe an X-Ray laser to an untechnological child? Might Apollo's silver arrow have been an X-Ray manipulative laser?

Apollo's son was Asclepius, the first god of medicine, from whom derived the traditions of Hippocrates, whose legacy to us was the symbol of the double intertwined snake, reminiscent of images, now familiar, of the strands of DNA.

Talk of creating humans is now commonplace. Indeed we may yet discover how to change the sex of a clone and thereby be able to reproduce the creation of Eve from a bone of Adam.

When our Genetic Engineer flies off to another planet to populate it with genetically engineered life in his image, will he fly off alone or with colleagues?

What would you vote on the Council of life creators, the genetic engineering ethics committee?

The new Hephaestus will stand there before you having created life in his image of a different chemistry. He will have done it contrary to the general injunction not to experiment with human life. What would you say? To which political party will you give your allegiance?

Will you ask for the experiment to be terminated and the new being made in your image killed? Or will you say "Yes - he and his Pandoras and Eves and children can be quite as good as us?" Or will you say that our technology in the hands of a technologically young people (India and Pakistan for instance in the past months) can be too dangerous for themselves and us.

What will the Chairman say? He won't want to annoy anyone and will want to find a solution. "Heffy . . . just go and do it somewhere else . . ."

And so Hephaestus will be required to go away and find another place in the heavens to find another mother Earth, another Demeter, to bear the new creation. He will be banished there to go and look after the new colony. He will be accompanied by colleagues and observers who are representatives of both political parties.

So much of the Greek mythology now comes to life. In telling the story I feel like the receipt of Apollo's gift of prophecy to Cassandra who no-one would believe.

But ponder it if you will and the whole history falls into place.

Of course, banished to a distant land, we cannot support the new colony at such distance for the project to succeed. Nor should we, from our experience that teaching underdeveloped countries agriculture is more effective than merely shipping them food.

So Hephaestus will have to make ploughs when he gets there and will have to teach agriculture. The "Satan" party are very concerned by the use of technology as it can be so dangerous that the new beings will have to be taught obedience and generosity.

The story of Babel is worth a second look - the consequence of man getting too close to heaven was that we were to have our communications disrupted - Hermes, responsible for communications identified by the frieze to be in the "satan" party.

How do the colony leaders teach obedience? Every month the new beings are required to bring 10 % of the food which they have grown to share with their creators.

There are stories of such feasts in the mythology. Prometheus was a Titan, who is also credited with a creation story (there may have been different generations of creators), and he was responsible for carving the meat at just such a ceremony where the mortals and the immortals shared food. (The punishments resulting from the Prometheus legend are of themselves of no consequence in this regard - although they are of interest. The first was that he was tied to a rock and eagles ate his liver every day. The second was that the angry gods commissioned Pandora to be created - she was to be every trouble to mankind but without whom man could not do without and into whom, each deity inserted a component. The third was the bringing of winter to earth. ) After the immortals departed, the feasts continued in sacrificial ceremonies at which meat and drink were ceremoniously cooked and consumed, the spirit of the Gods having entered the offerings and by the eating of which communicated that spirit into the communicants. Today within a "New Covenant" we continue to eat the body and drink the blood.

I was prompted to look for textual references to such ceremonies which were attended by mortals and immortals by the figures on the Borgehese vase, reproduced in the 18th Century as plaques at Hammerwood Park.

The mortals are wearing robes whilst the immortals are wearing the animal skins from the sacrificial animals. The combination here of mortals and immortals here at the same ceremony at the same place at the same time and, on the right, we see one of the Gods, Dionysus, looking after an intoxicated mortal after some over-indulgence at the feast. My grandmother used an expression known to about 10% of the population "The gods look after children and drunken men".

Are these legends of immortals to be discounted? By 2020 it is predicted that, having now identified the sequence of DNA program which counts the number of times cells replicate, we will have mastered the code and be able to give ourselves unlimited lifetimes. Before Noah's flood, lifetimes approached those of the immortals, 600 - 900 years. It seems that one of the conditions imposed by the Council's "planning committee for the continuation of the mankind" experiment upon the saving of Noah was that the human lifetime be reduced to 70 years.

Noah's flood and Atlantis

Plato recalls a set of circumstances similar to the Noah story in the legendary destruction of Atlantis:

Critias (extract) For many generations, as long as the divine nature lasted in them, they were obedient to the laws, and well-affectioned towards the god, whose seed they were; for they possessed true and in every way great spirits, uniting gentleness with wisdom in the various chances of life, and in their intercourse with one another. They despised everything but virtue, caring little for their present state of life, and thinking lightly of the possession of gold and other property, which seemed only a burden to them; neither were they intoxicated by luxury; nor did wealth deprive them of their self-control; but they were sober, and saw clearly that all these goods are increased by virtue and friendship with one another, whereas by too great regard and respect for them, they are lost and friendship with them. By such reflections and by the continuance in them of a divine nature, the qualities which we have described grew and increased among them; but when the divine portion began to fade away, and became diluted too often and too much with the mortal admixture, and the human nature got the upper hand, they then, being unable to bear their fortune, behaved unseemly, and to him who had an eye to see grew visibly debased, for they were losing the fairest of their precious gifts; but to those who had no eye to see the true happiness, they appeared glorious and blessed at the very time when they were full of avarice and unrighteous power.

Zeus, the god of gods, who rules according to law, and is able to see into such things, perceiving that an honourable race was in a woeful plight, and wanting to inflict punishment on them, that they might be chastened and improve, collected all the gods into their most holy habitation, which, being placed in the centre of the world, beholds all created things.

And when he had called them together, he spake as follows-*

* The rest of the Dialogue of Critias is missing.

All we know is that they decided to sink Atlantis into the sea. The decision making context coincides with that of Noah's flood and, to the residents of Atlantis, the effect was the same.

The story passed down from Solon who had been to Egypt and studied with the Egyptian priests. The events were said to have been around 9000 years before 600 BC. or so. This coincides with the melting of the ice age. The alignment of the Pyramids with the stars of Orion's belt, which are understood to be connected with Isis and Ra, coincides broadly on a date of 10,000 BC.

The Parthenon, Plato and Atlantis

The story recorded by Plato was learned by Critias as a child from his grandparents. It must have been a story current among the Athenian intelligensia. Critias was a child at the time the Parthenon was being built.

Critias records that there was rivalry and an epic war between the citizens of Athens and of Atlantis. There may have been an element in the building of the Parthenon in the demonstration of a certain pride in the feeling of having been intrinsically better and closer to the Gods than the Atlanteans who had suffered Zeus and Poseidon's wrath, and furthermore, as this extract from Plato's Timaeus demonstrates, was triumphantly defended by Athena, the Goddess of the Parthenon. Thanks to her the Athenians won the war against the Atlanteans:

Now in this island of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire which had rule over the whole island and several others, and over parts of the continent, and, furthermore, the men of Atlantis had subjected the parts of Libya within the columns of Hercules as far as Egypt, and of Europe as far as Tyrrhenia.

This vast power, gathered into one, endeavoured to subdue at a blow our country and yours and the whole of the region within the straits; and then, Solon, your country shone forth, in the excellence of her virtue and strength, among all mankind. She was pre-eminent in courage and military skill, and was the leader of the Hellenes. [This may explain the presence of the horsemen on the frieze which were previously attributed to the soldiers in the battle of Marathon, the Parthenon in this respect celebrating military prowess bestowed by Athena: ] And when the rest fell off from her, being compelled to stand alone, after having undergone the very extremity of danger, she defeated and triumphed over the invaders, and preserved from slavery those who were not yet subjugated, and generously liberated all the rest of us who dwell within the pillars. [i.e. within the Mediterranean sea] But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth [i.e. thus the soldiers who lost their lives are commemorated on the Parthenon Frieze] , and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea.

Plato's text Timaeus records Critias describing Solon being criticised by the Egyptian priests for thinking that he knew it all:

First, you remember a single deluge only, but there were many previous ones; in the next place, you do not know that there formerly dwelt in your land the fairest and noblest race of men which ever lived, and that you and your whole city are descended from a small seed or remnant of them which survived. And this was unknown to you, because, for many generations, the survivors of that destruction died, leaving no written word. For there was a time, Solon, before the great deluge of all, when the city which now is Athens was first in war and in every way the best governed of all cities, is said to have performed the noblest deeds and to have had the fairest constitution of any of which tradition tells, under the face of heaven.

Another example of the pride of Athens originating from their Athena descent:

All this order and arrangement the goddess first imparted to you when establishing your city; and she chose the spot of earth in which you were born, because she saw that the happy temperament of the seasons in that land would produce the wisest of men. Wherefore the goddess, who was a lover both of war and of wisdom, selected and first of all settled that spot which was the most likely to produce men likest herself. And there you dwelt, having such laws as these and still better ones, and excelled all mankind in all virtue, as became the children and disciples of the gods.

Plato outlines a scenario with which we, as potential immortals and colonisers of another planet can identify:

In the days of old the gods had the whole earth distributed among them by allotment. There was no quarrelling; for you cannot rightly suppose that the gods did not know what was proper for each of them to have, or, knowing this, that they would seek to procure for themselves by contention that which more properly belonged to others. They all of them by just apportionment obtained what they wanted, and peopled their own districts; and when they had peopled them they tended us, their nurselings and possessions, as shepherds tend their flocks, excepting only that they did not use blows or bodily force, as shepherds do, but governed us like pilots from the stern of the vessel, which is an easy way of guiding animals, holding our souls by the rudder of persuasion according to their own pleasure;-thus did they guide all mortal creatures.

Now different gods had their allotments in different places which they set in order.

Hephaestus and Athene, who were brother and sister, and sprang from the same father [Zeus - the Chairman on the Frieze] , having a common nature, and being united also in the love of philosophy and art, both obtained as their common portion this land, which was naturally adapted for wisdom and virtue; and there they implanted brave children of the soil, and put into their minds the order of government; their names are preserved, but their actions have

disappeared by reason of the destruction of those who received the tradition, and the lapse of ages. [The Babel effect] For when there were any survivors, as I have already said, they were men who dwelt in the mountains; and they were ignorant of the art of writing, and had heard only the names of the chiefs of the land, but very little about their actions. The names they were willing enough to give to their children; but the virtues and the laws of their predecessors, they knew only by obscure traditions; and as they themselves and their children

lacked for many generations the necessaries of life, they directed their attention to the supply of their wants, and of them they conversed, to the neglect of events that had happened in times long past; for mythology and the enquiry into antiquity [The circumstances which gave Athens the luxury of being able to build the Parthenon] are first introduced into cities when they begin to have leisure, and when they see that the necessaries of life have already been provided, but not before.

And this is reason why the names of the ancients have been preserved to us and not their actions. This I infer because Solon said that the priests in their narrative of that war mentioned most of the names which are recorded prior to the time of Theseus, such as Cecrops, and Erechtheus, and Erichthonius, and Erysichthon, and the names of the women in like manner. Moreover, since military pursuits were then common to men and women, the men of those days in accordance with the custom of the time [as recreated and erected in the new Parthenon] set up a figure and image of the goddess in full armour, to be a testimony that all animals which associate together, male as well as female, may, if they please, practise in common the virtue which belongs to them without distinction of sex.

Platos Critias continues with the connexion of this pride in Athena and the erection of a goddess in full armour with the Acropolis itself:

Now the country was inhabited in those days by various classes of citizens;-there were artisans, and there were husbandmen, and there was also a warrior class originally set apart by divine men. The latter dwelt by themselves, and had all things suitable for nurture and education; neither had any of them anything of their own, but they regarded all that they had as common property; nor did they claim to receive of the other citizens anything more than their necessary food. And they practised all the pursuits which we yesterday described as those of our imaginary guardians. Concerning the country the Egyptian priests said what is not only probable but manifestly true, that the boundaries were in those days fixed by the Isthmus, and that in the direction of the continent they extended as far as the abundant fountains and rivers, of which there may still be observed sacred memorials in places where fountains once existed; and this proves the truth of what I am saying.

Such was the natural state of the country, which was cultivated, as we may well believe, by true husbandmen, who made husbandry their business, and were lovers of honour, and of a noble nature, and had a soil the best in the world, and abundance of water, and in the heaven above an excellently attempered climate. Now the city in those days was arranged on this wise. In the first place the Acropolis was not as now. For the fact is that a single night of excessive rain washed away the earth and laid bare the rock; at the same time there were earthquakes, and then occurred the extraordinary inundation, which was the third before the great destruction of Deucalion. But in primitive times the hill of the Acropolis extended to the Eridanus and Ilissus, and included . . . . Outside the Acropolis and under the sides of the hill there dwelt artisans, and such of the husbandmen as were tilling the ground near; the warrior class dwelt by themselves around the temples of Athene and Hephaestus at the summit, which moreover they had enclosed with a single fence like the garden of a single house. [This seems to be the format of the monumental form of the Acropolis as built] On the north side they had dwellings in common and had erected halls for dining in winter, and had all the buildings which they needed for their common life, besides temples, but there was no adorning of them with gold and silver, for they made no use of these for any purpose; they took a middle course between meanness and ostentation, and built modest houses in which they and their children's children grew old, and they handed them down to others who were like themselves, always the same. But in summer-time they left their gardens and gymnasia and dining halls, and then the southern side of the hill was made use of by them for the same purpose. Where the Acropolis now is there was a fountain, which was choked by the earthquake, and has left only the few small streams which still exist in the vicinity, but in those days the fountain gave an abundant supply of water for all and of suitable temperature in summer and in winter. This is how they dwelt, being the guardians of their own citizens and the leaders of the Hellenes, who were their willing followers. And they took care to preserve the same number of men and women through all time, being so many as were required for warlike purposes, then as now-that is to say, about twenty thousand. Such were the ancient Athenians, and after this manner they righteously administered their own land and the rest of Hellas; they were renowned all over Europe and Asia for the beauty of their persons and for the many virtues of their souls, and of all men who lived in those days they were the most illustrious. And next, if I have not forgotten what I heard when I was a child, I will impart to you the character and origin of their adversaries. [Reference again to war of epic proportions, worthy of the celebration of their defending patron Goddess and the erection of such a splendid monument] For friends should not keep their stories to themselves, but have them in common.

Yet, before proceeding further in the narrative, I ought to warn you, [Babel effect] that you must not be surprised if you should perhaps hear Hellenic names given to foreigners. I will tell you the reason of this: Solon, who was intending to use the tale for his poem, enquired into the meaning of the names, and found that the early Egyptians in writing them down had translated them into their own language, and he recovered the meaning of the several names and when copying them out again translated them into our language. My great-grandfather, Dropides, had the original writing, which is still in my possession, and was carefully studied by me when I was a child. Therefore if you hear names such as are used in this country, you must not be surprised, for I have told how they came to be introduced. The tale, which was of great length, began as follows . . .

If the Parthenon is a celebration of the Athenians' patron Goddess' military supremacy in defending her citizens in an epic war and righteousness of the Athenians which evaded the wroth of the Council of Gods meted out to Atlantis, one might idly wonder whether the nature of Homer's Iliad transferred the epic nature of a pre-historic war between Athens and Troy of Atlantis upon the bow-and-arrow warfare of the first millennial BC war between Athens and the Troy of Asia Minor.

Whether the Frieze depicts the debate of the Gods on the sinking of Atlantis and the intellectual, military and righteous superiority of the Athenians or whether it goes more deeply to the root of whether it was a good idea for Hephaestus to have created Man and he and Athena to have created woman is immaterial: the issues in both debates are the same and the Frieze therein achieves ultimate importance.

Thank goodness that Lord Elgin rescued it!


  1. The gods central to the freize are central to legends associated with creation stories of mankind whilst those on the remote fringes are those associated with stumbling blocks in our paths. Nuances and subtleties of the directions in which the gods face provide further clues.
  2. The construction of the Parthenon was of such grandeur on such a special site that there must have been an element of the remembrance of events worthy of reverence in its construction.
  3. The sculptors of the frieze and the architect of the building were members of the Athenian intelligensia of their day, including the family of Plato and his circle of friends, to whom stories of grand events brought back by the learned Solon from ancient Egypt of many millenia before were vividly familiar.
  4. One of the writings of Plato records a calling together of a specific Council of Gods which was to decide a question rife throughout mythology and in particular repeated throughout Genesis. The record of the actual debate is lost from Plato's text but role playing of the characters on the frieze fits exactly what one can reasonably surmise the remainder of the text to have recorded.
  5. By a mechanism peculiar only to the operation of a Council, the pantheistic nature of the frieze becomes comprehensible both to pantheistic and subsequent monotheistic religions. It is a hung council and it is therefore only the Chairman's vote that counts.
  6. The same document of Plato's mentions not only events worthy of a debate of the Gods but also
    • (a) the Acropolis
    • (b) the reasons for the celebrating the championship of Athena beyond the mere founding of Athens
    • (c) explanation for the re-erection of a giant statue of a fully armed Goddess on the Acropolis in commemoration of epic events
    • (d) an epic number of soldiers having been slaughtered in an epic war just like the heifers being led to the sacrifice (the former idea that the soldiers represented those killed in the battle of Marathon does not relate to any other aspect of the frieze or the Parthenon)
From my finding (1) above, the question which appears to be asked on the frieze is "Was it right to have created mankind in our image?" Finding (6) above confims (4): the text is Critias. The motion of the debate is "Should Atlantis continue to exist?" The question is similar to the first.

Before taking on the restoration of Hammerwood Park and inspiring students of classicism, the author studied Physics at Imperial College, London, including semiconductor materials, quantum mechanics, x-ray crystallography, genetic engineering, optics and electronics.