The Parthenon Sculptures: Decoding Images of Ancient Myths

Joan Breton Connelly, Hetty Goldman Member (2010­–11) in the School of Historical Studies, explores how the Parthenon sculptures conveyed genealogical myths that answered for the Athenians the basic human question: Where do I come from? She shows how cosmic and epic narratives, and the great boundary catastrophes of war and deluge, established frameworks for understanding the distant past. Connelly also demonstrates how the projection of these myths upon the great “billboards” of the Acropolis temples perpetuated a shared understanding of Athenian identity and educated young Athenians in the values upon which their democracy was based, chief among them, a willingness to sacrifice self-interest for the common good. This lecture is sponsored by the Association of Members of the Institute for Advanced Study (AMIAS).



Professor of Classics at New York University