Side A: scene at center

Side A main panel: one standing figure and two seated figures

Side B: scene at center

Side B shoulder scene: battles

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Summary: Side A: A warrior in a chariot leaving home. Side B: Theseus and the Minotaur. Shoulder, Sides A & B: Fight scenes. Below the main panel, warriors and horsemen.
Ware: Attic Black Figure
Painter: Attributed to the Swing Painter
Date: ca. 540 BC

H 0.36 m; D 0.28 m

Primary Citation: ABV, 307, 62; Beazley Addenda 1, 40; Beazley Addenda 2, 82
Shape: Psykter neck amphora
Beazley Number: 301542
Period: Archaic


Broken into many fragments and repaired, with restorations in plaster.

Decoration Description:

Pictures are in three zones: a shoulder frieze, a main frieze under the handles, and a predella.

Side A (main frieze): The departure of a warrior. The scene begins with a seated couple facing right, under handle B/A. The man wears a chiton with a dotted diamond pattern and a himation, and holds up a high-crested Corinthian helmet. His hair and beard are painted red, and the decoration on his chiton is white. The woman seated beside him (closest to the viewer) wears a peplos and himation decorated with red stripes, a red fillet, and necklace. Only the stool she sits on is represented; it has deer's feet and a folded cloth placed on the seat. Facing the couple is a standing woman. She wears a peplos with white dotted squares on the bodice, a necklace, and a red fillet. In her arms she holds a lion cub, while behind her is an upright spear (she does not hold it). Her skin and that of the seated woman is painted white. Behind her is a chariot, moving to the right. The charioteer wears a long belted chiton and holds the reins with both hands. The hoplite, wearing a short chiton, cuirass, low-crested Corinthian helmet with red fillet, and red greaves, steps into the chariot on the far side of the charioteer. He holds a round shield; part of a Boeotian shield, belonging to the charioteer, is visible behind him. The interiors of both shields are red. Behind them, seen between the body of the chariot and the horses, is a woman standing to the left. She is dressed similarly to the woman holding the lion. To the right of her, also behind the chariot scene, is a second hoplite facing right, and another woman facing him. He is dressed like the first warrior, and holds a round shield and spear; she is dressed like the other two standing woman, and she holds up a red flower. In front of her are the three chariot horses, two of which are black and the third is white. Partly hidden by them is a young warrior, wearing a short chiton under a cuirass. He receives a low-crested Corinthian helmet from a bearded man, seated on a stool with feline feet. This man sits in profile to the left with a woman; they are under handle A/B. The seated man wears a chiton and himation, and his beard and hair are painted red. To his left (closest to the viewer) is the seated woman. She wears a peplos with white dotted squares, a himation, and a red fillet ; she is seated on a stool with vertical legs. These people are perhaps the young warrior's mother and father.

Side B (main scene): Theseus is depicted killing the Minotaur. Theseus wears a belted chiton, partly painted red, and holds a sword in his right hand. He holds the Minotaur by the neck with his other hand as he thrusts his sword into its shoulder blade. The nude Minotaur clutches a stone in its raised left hand and attempts to flee to the right. To either side of the group stand spectators. Behind Theseus, facing right, is a woman wearing a peplos, necklace, and red fillet, a naked youth, a bearded man wrapped in a red-striped himation and wearing a red fillet, and finally another naked youth. Behind the Minotaur, facing left, stand a woman wearing a peplos, necklace, and red fillet, a naked youth, and a bearded man wrapped in a red-striped himation, with a red fillet in his hair.

Side A (shoulder frieze): A battle scene is depicted. On the left is a warrior on one knee, whose body faces left as he turns to defend himself against a warrior with raised hand on the right. To the right of this scene is a youth wearing a short white chiton, and riding a horse to the right. Under the horse is a fallen warrior wearing a red chiton; he lies on his back with his legs tucked up and turns his head toward the ground. In front of the horse, a hoplite carrying a shield advances to the left. He also wears a red chiton; perhaps he is attempting to defend the fallen warrior? To the right, under the spout of the vessel, crouches a warrior with his shield. In front of him are two more warriors with low-crested helmets and shields attacking to the right. Toward them gallops a youth in a short white chiton on a horse. Under the horse is another fallen warrior, also on his back with legs drawn up, but attempting to prop himself up with his left elbow. Behind the horse is another warrior running to the left.

Side B (shoulder frieze): Another battle scene is represented. On the left a warrior and horseman in white chiton move to the right. A warrior lies under the horse. To the right, a woman wearing a peplos stands in profile to the right and watches a duel between two hoplites over the body of a fallen warrior. The shield of the warrior on the left is incorrectly represented as seen from the outside; the shield device is three balls. The other warrior's shield device is a white tripod. To the right of this scene, another warrior lies under a horse galloping to the left; a youth in a short white chiton rides the horse. A warrior follows the horse, but looks back over his shoulder as he raises his right arm. The warriors all wear greaves, helmets, and short chitons; the weapons are not depicted.

In the predella are hoplites and youths on horses, fighting. There are three groups. The first is a youth on horseback attacking a hoplite, who wears a short chiton, low-crested Corinthian helmet, greaves, and a round shield with an eagle emblem. The second is a hoplite between two youths on horseback to the right, accompanied by an eagle, attacking a hoplite down on one knee. The last group is a youth on horseback who attacks a hoplite down on his right knee, who is followed by a youth on horseback and a hoplite rushing up. A suspended cloak serves as a punctuation mark between the beginning and end of the scene.

On the neck of the vessel is a double palmette-lotus chain. On the top of the shoulder is an enclosed tongue pattern (alternate tongues painted red); above the foot is a pattern of rays.


Under the foot is the graffito *A.

Collection History:

Cat. Christie, Manson & Woods, April 28, 1856, no. 375; Cat. Sotheby, 19-22 June 1899, no. 289. Ex. colls. S. Rogers, W. Forman. H.L. Pierce Fund, 1900.

Sources Used:

CVA, Boston 1, USA 14, pls. 33-35; Böhr 1982, pls. 132-5, 191a

Other Bibliography:

Caskey 1922, 39, no. 3; K. Wallenstein "Der Aryballos im Aryballos" AA 3 (1972) 472; Johnson 1979, 239, Type 11A