Overview: exterior

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Summary: Suicide of Ajax
Ware: Corinthian
Date: ca. 570 BC - ca. 550 BC

H. 0.063 m., D. 0.061 m.

Primary Citation: Payne 1931, 1258
Shape: Aryballos
Ceramic Phase: Late Corinthian
Period: Archaic

Date Description:

Payne thinks this is Late Corinthian, but Amyx 1988, 637 suggests it might be Etrusco-Corinthian.

Decoration Description:

On the shoulder of the vessel are radial bars. On the body, the suicide of Ajax is depicted. He lies to the right, run through by his sword. He is not depicted nude (as usual), but the sleeve lines on his arms indicate that he wears a chiton. In the field are some rosettes and spots with incised lines. On the bottom of the vessel and on the lip are concentric lines, and there are horizontal lines on the back of the handle.

The motif of the suicide of Ajax is popular in Corinthian and Etruscan art, but not in Attic. See for example the "Argivo-Corinthian" shieldband reliefs from Olympia, where it appears (Kunze 1950, pl. 18, IVc). Amyx (637) has suggested that this vessel is Etrusco-Corinthian: the shape is peculiar (funnel-shaped neck and beveled mouth ring), and "the style is odd."

Material Description:

The clay is pale gray buff.

Collection History:

Pierce Fund, purchased 1899.

Sources Used:

Amyx 1988, 637; Payne 1931, 320, n. 1258; Fairbanks 1928, 166, pl. 45; E. Kunze Archaische Schildbänder. Ein Beitrag zur Sagenüberlieferung. Olympische Forschungen II (Berlin, 1950)

Other Bibliography:

Brommer 1973, 380, C-4