Side A: Theseus and the Minotaur

Overview: side A

Collection: Malibu, The J. Paul Getty Museum
Summary: Side A: Theseus and the Minotaur. Side B: youths on horseback.
Ware: Attic Black Figure
Painter: Attributed to Lydos
Date: ca. 550 BC - ca. 540 BC

H. to lip 45.4-45.55 cm., d. of mouth 20.5-20.57 cm., h. of lip 3.22 cm., with of top of lip 1.76 cm., min. d. of neck 17.94 cm., d. of body 32.5-32.65 cm., d. of foot 17.11-17.15 cm. h. of foot edge 1.55 cm., w. of resting surface 1.7 cm., thickness of handles 3.53 and 3.67 cm.

Shape: Amphora, type A
Beazley Number: 10143
Period: Archaic


Some inpainting appears, especially on the right arm of the lefthand youth, much of his clothing below the waist, the left edge of the panel, and the area between one handle.

Decoration Description:

The topside of the mouth is glazed, with red lines on the inner and outer edges and on the lower edge of the mouth. The interior of the mouth and neck are glazed to a depth of 4.2 cm., and a red line marks the lower edge of the glaze. One red line runs all the way around the neck above the upper handle attachments. Another red line runs from handle to handle at the level of the lower end of the upper handle attachment. The edges of the flanged handles are red glazed on the inside, with the flat sides reserved and decorated with ivy leaves with a central dilute glaze stem. A palmette-lotus chain with braided links surmounts the panels, on side A showing 7 palmettes and 6.5 lotuses, and on side B 7 palmettes and 8 lotuses. Dilute glaze lines run above and below the floral band on both sides, and the figures have dilute glaze ground lines. Below the panels two thick red lines run around the whole vase, and a second pair appears just above the rays. Above the foot are 37 rays. There is a red fillet between the body and the foot. The resting surface and underside of the foot are reserved.

On side A, Theseus and the Minotaur appear. In center left, Theseus strides right, thrusting his sword with his right hand through the Minotaur's head and neck. With his left hand he grasps the Minotaur's left forearm. The monster holds a stone in its left hand and falls to its right knee. Theseus is wearing a sleeveless, belted chitoniskos; his scabbard appears on the left side of his body. Between his legs his folded cloak is visible on a rock. A bird is flying left between Theseus and the Minotaur. the monster's upper left leg has a tatoo of four parallel incised dot rows. These central fighting figures are flanked by two groups of Athenian children, the Minotaur's planned victims. On each side a girl is pictured between two boys. All the boys are naked with long hair, except for the youth on the left, who has short hair and wears a long chiton with a cloak. The boy standing behind Theseus wears a fillet in his hair. The girls both wear peploi and himatia drawn over the head and standing away from the body on one side.

On side B, youths are on horseback. On the left a naked youth and a second male are mounted facing right. They each are carrying a spear, and a dog stands beside them barking at the figures facing left on the right side of the scene. These figures consist of a man between two women. The man is wearing a himation over a long chiton, while the women are clothed like those on side A.

Added red was used for the lines on the mouth, neck, body and foot, the base fillet, the edges of both handles, the palmette hearts and lotus cuff. On side A it also appears on framing lines of the panel, the clothed youth's hair, himation and the dots on his chiton, the fillet of the youth in front of him, the peplos of the girl between them and the dots on her himation, dots on Theseus's folded cloak, the hair of the two naked youths on the right, the peplos (here mostly worn away) of the girl on this side, and dot on the rosettes decorating her himation. On side B, it was used for the dog's neck, the peplos of the woman next to the horses and the dot-rosettes on her himation, those on the man's long chiton and the stripes on his himation, the dot-rosettes of the righthand woman's himation, and possibly her peplos. Added white was used on both sides for female flesh, as well as, on A, for the dots of the rosettes on the himation of the girl on the right.

Shape Description:

The mouth is flaring, and the handles are flanged. The foot has a concave topside and edge.


A graffito appears on the sloping surface of the underside of the foot on side B.

Sources Used:

CVA, USA 24, Malibu 1, pp. 1-3.

Other Bibliography:

Greek Vases and Modern Drawings (entries by Bothmer and Bean), no. 8 (loan no. L.69.11.6); von Bothmer, BMMA 27 (1969), p. 430, fig. 4; Moore, AJA 84 (1980), p. 432, no. 125; Greek Vases (test by Frel and True), pp. 14,no.5, fig. on p. 14; 69, no. 25.