Kain Killing Abel Depicted on the South Side of the Parthenon?


This drawing of the 16th metope on the Parthenon shows Kain killing Abel.Kain (Cain) Kills Abel?

Here is a drawing made by Jacques Carrey in 1674 of one of the 32 South Metopes (nearly-square sculptured slabs) on the Parthenon. Many of the metopes (pronounced met-o-pees) depicting Kentaurs (Centaurs) fighting Lapiths and carrying off their women, survive. Fortunately for us, Carrey drew all 32 metopes in 1674 because in 1687 the south-central metopes were blown to bits by an explosion.

The author of The Parthenon Code: Mankind’s History in Marble, suggests that this metope, and three others leading up to it, tell the story of Kain killing Abel, as Greek artists portrayed it as part of their collective cultural memory.

 

The Story of Kain’s Killing of Abel Told in a Series of Four Sculpted Panels

This drawing of the 13th through the 16th metope on the Parthenon shows the series of events that led to Kain killing Abel.

Above we see 4 of 8 of Jacques Carrey’s drawings of the Parthenon’s “mysterious south-central metopes,” numbered 13, 14, 15, and 16.

Metope 13, two men talk. One is taller and presumably older than the other. Kain and Abel.

Metope 14: Kain becomes upset over a sacrifice his wife is planning to offer. The dispute with Abel over the nature of the sacrifice to be offered had affected Kain’s domestic life. While Genesis does not mention Kain’s wife in relation to Abel, it makes sense that the dispute had entered Kain’s household, otherwise, why should Kain care how Abel sacrificed? Why should he be so angry?

Metope 15: We read in Genesis: “And saying is Kain to Abel, his brother, ‘Go will we to the field.’” Kain’s intentions startle Abel and his horses in the field.

Metope 16: Genesis again: “And coming is it, at their coming to be in the field, rising is Kain against Abel, his brother, and killing him.”

Next: How Do We Know that Carrey's Drawings Can Be Trusted?