Conjecture on the Elgin Marbles / by Bryce Hidysmith

<Soundtrack: Joy Division - She's Lost Control.

Of the Elgin Marbles that now rest in the galleries of the British Museum, many of the outside reliefs concern mortal battles between men and centaurs. This contrasts to the interior marbles, which depict great numbers of mounted men, and individuated statues that one must assume represent historical personages of note, the gods themselves, or blur between god-man in the way of Pagan life. Of the Greeks, it is likely that they fall into the great pattern of history where the technology of the stirrup was still yet to evolve, yet the devastation possibly wrought by a given mobile adversary was great enough that the legends of the centaurs were perhaps born out of exaggeration of nomad riders at the frontiers, a pattern most dominanant in Eurasian history. The mastery of the horse and the securement of the frontier may be a precursor to the evolution of urban territory as anything more than defensive settlement. 

It is worth noting that, to the context of a Greek in 1801, Elgin was perhaps also this strange nomad, but one from a culture whose primary weapon was not the horse and bow, but the usage of abstractions that might generate an iron horse, and an iron bow. These broadest of design patterns—vehicle, projectile weapon—preserve their integrity out of necessity, while also simultaneously able to evolve while maintaining their functionality in type. The capacity of a society to discern structure-without-instantiation is perhaps its greatest vehicle for longevity and territorial influence.