Title page for ETD etd-04272010-151828

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Smoke, Shannon Jenae
Author's Email Address shannon.smoke@gmail.com
URN etd-04272010-151828
Title The Erechtheion: Deciphering the Fragments of the Ionic Frieze
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Art
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Walsh, Justin Committee Chair
Camerlenghi, Nick Committee Member
Major, Wilfred Committee Member
  • Periklean building program
  • Myths of Erechtheus
  • Myths of Erichthonios
  • Peloponnesian War
  • Autochthonic kings of Athens
Date of Defense 2010-04-13
Availability unrestricted
The Erechtheion, the temple dedicated to Athena Polias on the Athenian Acropolis, was an extraordinary structure. The temple was situated on three different levels and had at least six cults worshipped in the complex. Little is known about the interior of the building or the purpose each room served, but the Ionic frieze that would have adorned the temple is the avenue in which this thesis will explore.

The Ionic frieze is believed to be the sole figural decoration on the Erechtheion other than the Porch of the Karyatids, and there is no evidence of pedimental sculpture or statuary akroteria adorning the roof of the building. However, the only extant remains of the frieze are mere fragments of figures and groups of figures. My thesis will explore the possible interpretations of the frieze by first examining the political climate in which the temple and its frieze were created. The myths associated with the gods and heroes included in the sanctuary of the Erechtheion will be considered in my analysis. Lastly, the Erechtheionís frieze will be regarded in relationship to other fifth century buildings and sculpture in order to determine the friezeís content and context.

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