Parthenon Sculpture representing a procession of the Panathenaic Festival in honour of the birthday of the Goddess Athena
Like the southern branch of the procession, the northern branch comprises mounted horsemen, chariots, elders, musicians, pitcher-bearers, tray-bearers and figures leading sacrificial victims. As in the South frieze, so in the North the cavalcade comprised sixty riders. Whereas in the South these are carved over twenty-four blocks, in the North they are compressed into nineteen blocks. The groups of riders are not divided equally, as they are in the South. Dress varies from figure to figure. Some are heavily draped in mantle and tunic, while others are all but naked. Some ride bareheaded, while others wear a distinctive form of cap or a helmet. Metal reins, which are now lost, were inserted in drill-holes. Block XLVII shows a scene of preparation for the cavalcade that lies ahead, echoing the major theme of the West frize. Its return on the West side is carved with a marshal. On the right a boy, wearing drapery over his shoulder, is tying a girdle around the waist of the waiting horseman, dressed in a tunic. The heads of the youth and the boy are both dipped, just as the head of the horse, waiting patiently by. On the left a figure, wearing a cloak, stands by his horse, which he restrains with his right arm, while his left is raised to the head with the index finger extended. His head is turned back to his unprepared companions.