The 92 metopes were the first parts of the entablature to receive sculptural decoration. Each one reproduced a self-contained scene, usually including two figures. The subjects were taken from legendary battles and symbolized the victories of the Athenians against the Persians. The east side depicted the battle of the Olympian gods against the Giants, who tried to overthrow the order prevailing on Mount Olympus (Gigantomachy). The west side presented the fight of Athenian youths against the Amazons, who threatened even the Acropolis (Amazonomachy). The theme of the south side was the fight of the Thessalian youths (Lapiths) against the Centaurs who attempted to abduct their women during a wedding celebration (Centauromachy). The north side illustrated the Sack of Troy (Iliou Persis).

View of the south side of the metopes depicting the Centauromachy.