The South Frieze from the Parthenon, housed in the Acropolis Museum, dates back to the 5th century B.C. It is composed of Pentelic marble, displaying evident signs of weathering and mineral discolouration as a result of its prolonged exposure to the elements.

The high-grade marble carving demonstrates the elevated aesthetic standards of Classical Greece. The relief illustrates a procession of Athenian citizens involved in the Panathenaic Festival, held every four years, thereby providing a visual record of ancient cultural practices. It features men, women, children, animals, and gods engaging in a series of activities that follow a chronological sequence.

The depicted processional scenes start with festival preparations and end with the ceremonial presentation of the woven peplos to the goddess Athena. The distinguishing blend of divine and human figures lends the frieze a sense of divine participation in human events. A shift from the stylized patterns of Archaic art towards a more naturalistic representation can be noticed in the fine detailing of draped clothing and the dynamic movements of the human and animal figures, including particularly well-rendered horses.

Originally extending approximately 160 meters, the large-scale frieze is both an important artifact from Periclean Athens and an expression of the city’s historical dominance.

From a conservation standpoint, part of the frieze has been damaged or lost, a consequence of the building's transformation into a Christian church, a mosque, and a munitions storage during the Venetian siege. A significant portion was also removed by Lord Elgin during the 19th century and is currently displayed in the British Museum, a matter that continues to spur cultural debates.

Acropolis Museum
Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, Greece