Side B: oblique from left

Handle: right of side A

Side A: oblique from right

Side A: Herakles, midsection and head of lion

Side A: Athena, from the waist up

Side A: Herakles and the lion, from the waist up

Collection: Berlin, Antikenmuseen
Summary: Side A: Herakles and the Nemean lionSide B: Demophon and Akamas
Ware: Attic Black Figure
Painter: Signed by Exekias
Context: From Vulci
Date: ca. 545 BC - ca. 540 BC

H. 40.5 cm.

Primary Citation: ABV, 143.1, 672, 686; Para, 59; Beazley Addenda 2, 39
Shape: Belly amphora
Region: Etruria
Period: Archaic


The preserved portions of the vase are in good condition, having suffered only slight surface discoloration.

Decoration Description:

Side A: Herakles and the lion. Herakles battles the lion while Athena and Iolaos look on. The two combatants lunge at one another. Herakles grips the lion by one front paw and has locked his left arm around the lion's neck. The lion tries to push away, his right, rear paw pushing against Herakles' thigh, his mouth open in a snarl. Herakles is naked, except for a thin fillet over his hair. His beard is painted with added red. Athena stands on the right holding her shield. She wears a long, patterned chiton and a high-crested helmet. Iolaos strides in from the left, arms akimbo. He is also naked, and sports a red beard.

Side B: Demophon and Akamas. Demophon and Akamas walk their horses to the right; the horses are named Phalios and Kalliphora. Each man carries two spears on his left shoulder and a shield hanging down his back. Both men wear greaves and high-crested helmets. Demophon wears a patterned cuirass, and Akamas a short, black and red-striped garment. The shields are painted with added white.


On side A each of the figures is labelled. On the left, [*I]*O*L*A*O*S, Iolaos, written retrograde. Near Herakles' head: [epig-rough]*E*R*A*K*L*E*S. On the far right, written retrograde: *A*Q*E[--, Athena (the *N*A*I*A is modern according to Furtwängler). On side B, behind the head of the figure on the left, written retrograde: *A*K*A*M*A*S, Akamas. In front of the figure on the right: [*D*E]*M*O*F*O*N, Demophon. Between the two figures: *F*A*L*I*O*S, Phalios. On the far right, written retrograde: *K*A*L*I*F*O*R*A, Kalliphora. Written retrograde between the two horses: *O*N*E*T*O*R*I*D*E*S *K*A*L*O*S, Onetorides is beautiful. *E*X*S*E*K*I*A*S *E*G*R*A*F*S*E *K*A[*P]*O*E*S*E*M*E, "Exekias painted and made (i.e. potted) me".