Makron's skyphos: Drawing of side A, showing Aeneas, Alexander, Eros,...

Side A: scene at center

Side B: scene at center

Makron's skyphos: Overview of the vase, 3/4-view of side A, from the ...

Handle: right of side A

Makron's skyphos: Drawing of side B, showing Kriseus, Kriseis, Aphrod...

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Summary: Side A: Alexandros abducting Helen. Side B: Menelaos attacking Helen.
Ware: Attic Red Figure
Painter: Signed by Makron
Potter: Signed by Hieron
Context: From Suessula
Date: ca. 490 BC - ca. 480 BC

H. 0.215 m., D. 0.279 m., W. 0.389 m.

Primary Citation: ARV2, 458, 1
Shape: Skyphos
Beazley Number: 204681
Period: Late Archaic

Date Description:

Found in a tomb with four other vases dating to ca. 430 BC, this was apparently an old family possession.

Decoration Description:

Side A: Alexandros (Paris) abducting Helen. Alexandros grasps Helen by the wrist, leading her away vigorously to the left. Helen follows somewhat reluctantly, her head bent, her hand limp, her breath drawn in. Alexandros wears a chitoniskos, a long himation, sandals and a Corinthian helmet, and has fair hair. He carries a spear in his right hand. Helen wears a chiton with two overfalls, a himation, earrings, and a stephane; she may also have worn a necklace. Her curls are represented by raised black dots of glaze. Between them, a small winged Eros flies to the left, looking back at Helen and touching her head. He holds a small round red object, perhaps a jewel. Behind Helen, Aphrodite bends forward and extends her hands to Helen's head, adjusting her himation. She wears a chiton, himation, earrings and a veil bound by a crosspiece and fastened to a stephane. Behind the goddess follows Peitho ("Persuasion"), holding a flower. She wears a chiton and himation, a necklace, earrings and a scarf. In front of Paris strides Aeneas, the son of Aphrodite. He is youthful and wears a chitoniskos, a himation, sandals and a petasos. He carries a pair of spears, and a shield with a lion device, drawn in outline and filled with brown wash. The figures are all labelled. To the right of the shield is the painter's signature, *M*A*K*R*O*N *E*G*R*A*F*S*E*N, "Makron painted it."

The figures take up almost the whole scene, with very little background or empty space. The group of Alexandros, Helen and Aphrodite has been compared to a bridal group of bride, groom, and bride's mother, to which is often added a small Eros.

Side B: Menelaos attacking Helen. On the right, Menelaos rushes at Helen with his head lowered, about to draw his sword. Helen flees to the left, turning back towards Menelaos. Menelaos is in full armor, with a short chiton, leather corslet, greaves, Attic helmet and a shield. The knees of the greaves are ornamented with gorgoneia, and a pad is tied around his ankle to keep the greaves from chafing. The corslet is strengthened with metal scales, and its shoulder-flap is decorated with a star. The shield, shown in front view rather than foreshortened, has a charging bull as a device. Helen turns back towards Menelaos, and extends her left arm towards him, and holds up her himation with her right. She wears a veil and stephane, necklace and earring.

Behind Helen, Aphrodite approaches, turning Helen's head towards her husband to still his anger. She wears a chiton and himation, earrings and a sakkos, and extends her arm out towards Helen. To the left of Aphrodite is another woman, looking round towards the scene and holding a flower. She wears a chiton with overfall, a girdle, a himation over both shoulders, a necklace and earrings. She is labelled Kriseis. Next to her is an old man, labelled Kriseus with a long white beard and white hair bound up with a cord. He wears a long chiton and himation, and holds a staff in his right hand. These two figures may be variant spellings of Chryses and Chryseis, the priest of Apollo and his daughter, with which the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon in the Iliad begins. The figures are all labelled.

Under both handles are figures. Under one, Priam sits on a folding stool covered with a checkered cloth, looking towards Menelaos and Helen. He wears a long chiton and himation, and holds a staff in his right hand and makes an apprehensive gesture with his left. He is bearded and the top of his head is bald, with his front hair tied in a knot in the middle of his forehead. Under the other handle is a small boy in a himation, stepping forwards towards Peitho on side A. He is unlabelled, but may be Helen's son whom she abandoned to follow Alexandros.


Side A: *A*L*E*X*S*A*N*D*R*O*S ("Alexandros") retr., [epig-rough]*E*L*E*N*E ("Helen"), *E*R*O*S ("Eros"), *A*F*R*O*D*I*T*E ("Aphrodite"), *P*E*I*Q*O ("Peitho"), *A*I*N*E*A[*S] ("Aenea[s]"). Side B: *M*E*N*E*L*E*O*S ("Menelaos"), [epig-rough]*E*L*E*N*E ("Helen"), *A*F*R*O*D*I*T*E ("Aphrodite"), *K*R*I*S*E*I*S ("Kriseis"), *K*R*I*S*E*U*S ("Kriseus"). Incised in the handle to left of Side A: [epig-rough]*I*E*R*O*N *E*P*O*I*E*S*E*N, "Hieron made it." On side A: *M*A*K*R*O*N *E*G*R*A*F*S*E*N, "Makron painted it."


C & B No. 140

Collection History:

Excavated at the cemetery at Suessula, together with four other, later vases. From the Spinelli collection.

Sources Used:

Caskey & Beazley, 3, 32-9