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Second body frieze, side A: Achilles and Troilos: center, Troilos fleeing

François Vase: Detailed drawing of the left handle, showing a Gorgon

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Neck, upper frieze side A: Calydonian Boar Hunt, center

François Vase: Detailed drawing of the main frieze, chariot of Hera a...

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Second body frieze, side B: return of Hephaistos: left, Artemis, Ares

François Vase: Drawing of the main frieze (wedding of Peleus and Thet...

Collection: Florence, Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Summary: In six registers: the Wedding of Peleus and Thetis; Achilles pursuing Troilos; Return of Hephaistos; the Calydonian Boar hunt; Theseus on Crete; Funeral games of Patroklos; Pygmies and Cranes; etc.
Ware: Attic Black Figure
Painter: Signed by Kleitias
Potter: Signed by Ergotimos
Context: Excavated at Chiusi
Date: ca. 570 BC - ca. 560 BC

H. 0.66 m., D. rim 0.57 m.

Primary Citation: ABV, 76, 1
Shape: Volute krater
Beazley Number: 300000
Region: Etruria
Period: High Archaic

Decoration Description:

Volute krater elaborately decorated in six figured registers with additional scenes on handles and elsewhere. Two friezes on the neck: above, the hunt for the Calydonian Boar (A), and the dance of Theseus and the Athenian youths on their escape from Crete (B), and below, chariot race in the funeral games for Patroklos (A), and the battle between Lapiths and Centaurs (B). On the shoulder, continuous around the whole vase, the wedding of Peleus and Thetis and a procession of deities. On the lower body, Achilles chasing Troilos (A) and the return of Hephaistos to Olympus (B). Lower register: sphinxes, animal battles, and palmette decoration. On the foot, the battle between pygmies and cranes. On the handles, Ajax carrying the dead Achilles, and Artemis or the Mistress of Beasts.

Main frieze on shoulder: the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, and procession of gods. (See Hom. Il. 18.429ff; Hom. Il. 24.58ff; Hes. Th. 1.233; Pind. I. 8.25ff; Pind. N. 4.62ff; and the very similar depiction on the dinos by Sophilos in the British Museum, London 1971.11-1.1). At right, the palace of Peleus, with a distyle in antis porch and double doors, one of which is ajar to show Thetis within. The strongly tapering columns have Doric capitals and plinth-like bases; the anta capitals are decorated, and above is a Doric frieze of triglyphs and metopes and a gabled roof. A small pet door is let through the right-hand door. In front of the palace, Peleus stands before an altar, welcoming the divine guests at his wedding. A kantharos stands on the altar. The procession of gods is led by Cheiron the centaur, who was Peleus' teacher and became the teacher of Peleus' and Thetis' son Achilles, and by Iris, messenger of the gods. Cheiron has a human fore-body, and wears a chiton with a decorated border. He clasps Peleus by the hand, and carries a branch over his shoulder, from which hang two hares and another animal. Stewart suggests that this is the ash from which Peleus made the famous spear which Achilles later wielded, cf. Hom. Il. 16.140. Beside him, Iris wears a short, decorated chiton and a fawnskin around her waist, and carries a herald's staff.

Behind Iris and Cheiron come three goddesses, Chariklo, Cheiron's wife, in the middle, Demeter and Hestia. All wear long decorated peploi, and seem to share a single mantle, as often in Archaic painting. These are followed by Dionysos, in full frontal view, stumbling forward carrying an amphora on his shoulder. This is probably the golden amphora made by Hephaistos which, according to Homer, was presented by Dionysos to Thetis, and which was later used to hold the ashes of Achilles and Patroklos (Hom. Il. 23.83-92; Hom. Od. 24.73ff). Behind Dionysos come three Horai, wearing long peploi and sharing a mantle; the further Hora wears a peplos decorated with chariots, animals, and other figures.

Behind these deities come a series of chariots accompanied by walking figures. First of these is the chariot of Zeus and Hera. Their pole horses have topknots and hold their heads up high; the following horses hold their heads down. Zeus holds his thunderbolt, whip and reins, and wears a long white peplos and mantle. Hera, beside him, wears a figured peplos and mantle, and holds her mantle with her left hand. Their chariot is accompanied by the first group of nine Muses: here, Kalliope, full frontal and playing the Pan-pipes (syrinx), and Ourania, her hair tied in a bun, wearing a figured peplos and holding her left hand in the air.

The next two chariots are to be imagined as passing behind the handle of the vase: only the horses are visible, while the chariots are out of view as if hidden by the handle. The invisible figures are, however, labelled as Poseidon (--]*S*E*I*P*O*N) and Amphitrite, and Ares and Aphrodite. They are accompanied by the remaining Muses; Melpomene, Kleio, Euterpe and Thalea with Poseidon's chariot, and Stesichore (a variant of Terpsichore?), Erato and Polymnia (written *P*O*L*U*M*N*I*S). They wear decorated peploi and share mantles.

On the other side of the vase, the first chariots are less well preserved. The first carried Apollo and perhaps his mother Leto, accompanied by Nymphs or Charites; only the feet of the figures are preserved while the labels are all lost. Behind comes a chariot driven by Athena, carrying another goddess whose name is lost, but who is probably Artemis (by analogy to the dinos by Sophilos, London 1971.11-1.1). Athena holds the reins and a whip. They are accompanied by Nereus, Thetis' father, and his wife Doris. Nereus, who is said to have been aged from birth, is depicted with white hair and beard, and a wrinkled forehead; he wears a long chiton and mantle, and turns back to face Athena and Artemis, while pointing the way to the wedding with his hands. His wife Doris wears a long decorated peplos, and pulls her veil over her head while turning back towards Athena and Artemis.

The next chariot is driven by Hermes, accompanied by his mother Maia. He is bearded, and carries the caduceus, whip and reins. Maia wears a long peplos and lifts one side of her mantle. In front of the horses are four Moirai, holding hands, one of whom wears another figured embroidered peplos, the others different, less elaborate peploi. The last chariot is hardly preserved, and its driver and passenger are uncertain; Tethys is one conjecture. Behind the last chariot is Okeanos, of whom only the bull-like neck and ear are preserved (cf. Eur. Orest. 1377). Finally, bringing up the end of the procession is Hephaistos, riding side-saddle on a donkey and in frontal view.

The two friezes on the neck depict four different mythological subjects. The upper frieze on Side A shows the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. The boar, in the center of the scene, charges to the left while nineteen hunters attack him with spears, arrows and stones. The boar is pierced by four arrows, and a white dog stands on his back, biting his neck. The hunters attack in pairs: to the left of the boar, facing his onslaught, stand Peleus and Meleager, wearing short tunics and animal skins and holding their spears with both hands, thrusting low into the boar's head. Peleus is unbearded, Meleager bearded. Beneath the boar lies a fallen huntsman, Ankaios (written Antaios). To the left of Peleus and Meleager come Melanaion and Atalanta (written Atalate) and the only woman in the scene). Both carry spears upraised in their right hands, and hold their left hands forwards; Atalanta in addition has a quiver on her shoulder, since she drew the first blood of the boar with her arrow. Behind this pair is a crouching archer, Euthymachos, wearing a tall pointed hat and so, despite his Greek name, perhaps to be identified as a Scythian or Cimmerian like the figures to the right of the boar. Behind Euthymachos come two more pairs of huntsmen, Thorax and Antandros, and Harpalea[s] and Aristandros, running with their forward feet raised. All wear short tunics and animal skins; Thorax wears a small hat. Thorax, Antandros and Harpalea[s] wield spears; Aristandros throws a stone. To the right of the boar, Kastor and Polydeukes attack the beast. They are bearded (unusually), and wear short tunics and swords on baldrics. Behind the Dioskouroi are Akastos and his brother-in-law Admetos (written Asmenos) They are in the same stance as Atalanta and Melanion, but they run with their forward legs off the ground, and Admetos carries a spare spear in his forward hand, and both carry swords on baldrics. Behind these spear men is another crouching archer, also wearing a pointed hat, and labelled *K*I*M*E*R*I*O*S, "The Cimmerian." Two more spear men advance behind him, Antimachos and Simon, wearing petasoi and carrying swords, and behind them, another archer, Toxamis, whose name is Scythian or Cimmerian in origin. Finally two more spear men bring up the rear at a run, Pausileon and Kynortes. Kynortes wears a petasos. The seven hunting dogs are all named: Labros, Methepon, Egertes, E[u]bolos, Korax, Marpsas, and Ormenos. Three are black and four white; one, Ormenos, has been killed by the boar and his entrails are visible through his split belly. The scene is flanked by sphinxes on either side.

The upper frieze on the other side of the krater depicts the Theseus and the Athenian youths and maidens on Crete, dancing the Crane Dance after their escape from the Labyrinth. On the left is a long ship, probably a triakonter, landing on the beach stern-first. The stern post of the ship is in the shape of two swan's heads; the prow is a boar's head. The mast has been lowered and the crew is standing to debark; they talk excitedly among themselves, one throws his hands in the air in praise, another has jumped overboard and swims to the shore; one, labelled Phaidimos, has debarked and joins the Athenian youths and maidens on land. The helmsman, with two steering oars, turns around to face land and raises his arm in excitement. Most of the crew wear mantles and petasoi. To the right, a line of seven youths and seven maidens dancing the Crane Dance (Geranos). The youths wear mantles with various borders; the maidens, peploi with different decorations. The dancers are all labelled: from left to right, Phaidimos, Hippodameia, Daduchos (written Daidochos), Menestho, Eurysthenes, Koronis, Euxistratos (written Heuxsistratos), Damasistrate, Antiochos, Asteria, Hermippos (written Hernipo), Lysidike, Prokritos, and Eriboia (written Epihoia). At the right side of the dance is Theseus, wearing a long chiton decorated with chariots and other figures and playing a kithara. He faces Ariadne at the far right, who holds a wreath and a ball of thread, with which Theseus had found his way out of the Labyrinth. Friis Johansen has shown that the scene does not take place on Delos, as was long thought, but on Crete after Theseus' escape from the Labyrinth; the ship here is presumably returning to pick up the Athenians, and the crew overjoyed at seeing them still alive.

The lower frieze on the neck: on one side, the funeral games in honor of Patroklos. Achilles stands at the far right, holding a scepter and standing in front of a tripod, a prize for the victor. In front of him five chariots race towards the right. The first, that of Odysseus (written Olyteus), is hardly preserved. The second belongs to Automedon, and is also largely lost. The third chariot is driven by Diomedes (who was the victor in Homer's Iliad (Hom. Il. 23.263ff), the fourth and fifth by Damasippos (brother-in-law of Odysseus, Apollod. 3.126) and Hippothoon, who are not mentioned in the Iliad. Although the depiction seems Homeric, then, the names and winner are completely different from those in Homer's account. The charioteers all wear long chitons, and under the horses are set tripod-cauldrons with large ring handles, prizes in the games. At the far left of the scene is a column, the turning-post in the race.

On side B, the lower neck frieze depicts a Centauromachy, or battle between Lapiths and centaurs. On the left is a centaur throwing a rock at Theseus. The next section is poorly preserved, but parts of a fallen centaur and of another centaur fighting with Antimachos (who is also featured in the Caledonian Boar frieze) are preserved. Just left of the center of the frieze, three centaurs, Hylaios, Agrios and Hasbolos, are pounding Kaineus into the ground, as this was the only way the invulnerable Lapith could be overcome. Hylaios has a branch in his hands, Agrios and Hasbolos hold boulders (one of which is labelled, [*L*I*Q]*O*S, "Rock"). Kaineus is fully armed and carries a shield. At the center of the scene is the centaur Petraios, holding a branch, fighting a Lapith named Hoplon; Hoplon is fully armed, like the other Lapiths, and wields a spear in his right hand. To his right is another centaur, Melanchaites (?), who hurls a rock at a Lapith; beneath Melanchaites is a fallen centaur, Pyrrhos. The next part of the frieze is poorly preserved; a centaur Therandros fights a missing Lapith. At the right, Dryas and the centaur Oroibios fight.

Body, middle frieze, side A: the ambush of Troilos, the son of Priam king of Troy. In the center of the scene Achilles (largely lost) runs after Troilos, who flees on horseback. Only the right leg and scabbard of Achilles are preserved. Troilos carries two spears in his left hand, and he leads a second horse with him. Polyxena, Troilos' sister, flees in front of him on foot; she too is largely lost but is identified by a fragmentary inscription, [*P*O*L*U]*X*E*N[*E]. She has dropped the jar she was filling at the fountain at the left side of the scene; the jar is labelled [epig-rough]*U*D*R*I*A, "hydria." Behind Achilles stands Athena his protectress, wearing an ornamented peplos and himation, with her hair in an elaborate loop. Hermes stands behind her, carrying his kerykeion and wearing a petasos and a fawnskin over his short chiton. He looks back at Thetis, mother of Achilles, who raises her arm in agitation. She is accompanied by a Trojan girl, Rhodia, who raises her arms in terror as she watches. She stands on a low platform in front of the fountainhouse. The fountainhouse at the left side of the scene has three fluted Doric columns on bases between two antae, within which are two lion's head waterspouts. A large hydria stands below one spout, and a Trojan youth (labelled *T*R*O*O*N, "Trojan") places another hydria under the other spout. Behind the fountain at the far left, Apollo approaches, raising his left hand, nude except for his himation. He is dismayed at the upcoming desecration of his altar by Achilles as he kills Troilos.

At the right of the scene are the battlements of Troy, built of squared masonry with crenelations at the top. Between the battlements are piled round stones, for use in defending the city. The gates are just opening and two warriors, Hektor and Polites, brothers of Troilos, emerge, but too late to help Troilos. In front of the walls, Priam sits on a stone seat (labelled *Q*A*K*O*S, "seat") and watches the death of his son; he is just beginning to rise from his seat, and leans on a long staff. He wears a long white chiton and purple himation, is balding and has a clipped beard.

Body, middle frieze, side B: the return of Hephaistos to Olympus, after his expulsion by Hera. In revenge for banishing him from Olympus, Hephaistos had sent his mother Hera a golden throne, which however trapped her as soon as she sat in it. Hephaistos would not come and release her despite the entreaties of all the gods (especially Ares, who tried to bring him back by force but was beaten off), until Dionysos made him drunk and persuaded him to release Hera. In reward, Hephaistos was allowed to marry Aphrodite, and Dionysos was allowed into Olympus. The story is hardly preserved in ancient sources, but has been reconstructed from allusions (such as Paus. 1.20.3) and from representations, of which this is the most elaborate. Zeus sits at the center of the scene on a throne covered with tapestries, its back ending in a volute. He wears a white chiton and himation. Hera sits in a second throne behind him (or to his side), her feet on a footstool. The back of her throne ends in a swan's head. Behind Hera stands Athena, looking back towards Ares and mocking him. She wears a chiton and purple himation. Ares kneels behind her on a low block, crestfallen at his failure to bring back Hephaistos and at the upcoming marriage of his lover Aphrodite to Hephaistos; he is fully armed with a helmet on his head, a spear, a shield decorated with a demon's head in high relief, greaves and a cuirass. Behind Ares comes Artemis, gesturing with her hand, and then two more male deities, who are poorly preserved but are probably Poseidon and Hermes. part of Poseidon's trident is visible, and the bottom of Hermes' kerykeion.

In the right side of the scene Hephaistos arrives at Olympus, riding on an ithyphallic mule and accompanied by silens. He is wearing a decorated chiton and himation, his arms are crossed over his chest and he carries a whip in his left hand. His crippled feet face in opposite directions, and his hips are malformed. His face was painted with purple over the black glaze. Hephaistos is led by Dionysos, whose figure is largely lost; he wears a richly decorated himation and chiton, and his arms too are crossed over his chest. The procession is greeted by Aphrodite, dressed in a richly decorated himation, who gestures in dismay at the sight of her new husband. Hephaistos is accompanied by a band of silens or satyrs and nymphs. The silens are lean and ithyphallic and have equine legs, tails and ears. The first is bent beneath a great wineskin on his shoulder; the second plays the aulos and wears a mouth band; the third carries a nymph in his arms, and two more nymphs follow. They wear richly decorated peploi and the last one carries a pair of cymbals.

The lowest frieze is a band of animals: a pair of sphinxes framing a stylized plant occupies the front, slightly off center; other pairs are a panther attacking a stag, and a panther attacking a bull. On the reverse of the vase is a pair of griffins, a boar being attacked by a lion, and a lion attacking a bull.

On the foot of the vase is a narrow frieze depicting the battle of Pygmies and Cranes, mentioned in the Iliad (Hom. Il. 3.1-7). Groups of pygmies attack the cranes with clubs and crook-handled sticks; one has hooked a crane by the neck. Other groups of pygmies ride goats and attack the cranes with slings.

On the handles of the vase, the Mistress of the Beasts holds animals (lions on one side, a panther and a stag on the other). The identification of this figure as Artemis is traditional, but confused even Pausanias (Paus. 5.19.5). Below her, Ajax holds the dead Achilles over his shoulder: this event concludes the events which began with the marriage of Peleus and Thetis on the main frieze. On the top of the handles are gorgoneia.

Shape Description:

Earliest known Attic volute krater, among the earliest Greek volute kraters.


Kalydonian Boar Hunt:

hunters to right:*)Arpule/a, "Arpuleas"*)Ari/standros, "Aristandros"*La/bros, "Labros", a dog*Qo/raxs, "Thorax"*)/Antandros "Antandros"*)Euqu/maxos "Euthymachos"*)Atala/te "Atala(n)te"*Melani/on "Melanion"*Meqe/pon "Methepon"*Peleu/s "Peleus"*Mele/agros "Meleager"*)/Ormenos "Ormenos", the dead dogHunters to left:*Ma/rf[so]s "Marfsos", a dog*)Antai=os (for *)Ankai=os, "Ankaios", dead under the boar)ϟo/raxs "Qorax"*Ka/stor "Kastor"*Poludeu/kes "Polydeukes"*)Ege/rtes "Egertes", a dog*)/Akastos "Akastos"*)/Asmetos "Asmetos"*Kime/rios "the Kimmerian", with Phrygian cap*)Anti/maxos "Antimachos"*Si/non "Sinon"*)/Ebolos "E(n)bolos", a dog*To/xsamis "Toxamis", with Phrygian cap*Pausile/on "Pausileon"*Kuno/rtes "Kunortes"

Theseus' Dance:

[...]o?i/esen / [...]s?en "[m]ade (it), [pain]ted (it)"*Fai/dimos "Phaidimos"[epig-rough]ip

oda/meia "Hippodameia"*Daido=xos "Daidochos"*Menesqo/ "Menestho"[*Eu]rusqe/nes "Eurysthenes"*Koroni/s "Koronis"{*B}*Eu)xsi/srato[s] "Euxisratos"*Damasisra/te "Damasisrate"*)Anti/oxos "Antiochos"*)Asteri/a "Asteria"[epig-rough]e/rmip

o<s> "Hermippos"*Lusidi/ke "Lysidike"[*P]ro/kritos "Prokritos"[..?]epi[epig-rough]oia "[...]epihoia" (for -boia?)*Qeseu/s "Theseus"

ladies to L:

qrofo/s "nurse"*)Ari?a/.[n]e "Aria[dn]e"

Chariot race at the Funeral Games for Patroklos:


o.[..]on "Hippo[tho]on"*Dama/sip

os "Damasippos"*Diome/des "Diomedes"*Au)tome/don "Automedon"*)Oluteu/s "Olytteus" for Odysseus*)A[x]ileu/s "Achilles"

Lapiths and Centaurs:

[*Q]eseu/s "Theseus"*)Anti/maxos "Antimachos"[epig-rough]ulai=os "Hylaios"*Kaineu/s ("Kaineus", half knocked in ground)*)/Ak?rios "Akrios"{[epig-rough]}*)/Asb?olos "Asbolos"[li/q]o?s "stone", on stone in Asbolos' hand*Petrai=os "Petraios"[epig-rough]o/plon "Hoplon"*Pu/ros "Pyrros", centaur dead on ground*Melan[xa]i/t?es "Melan[cha]ites"*qe/rangros "Therangros" (for -andros ?)*Dru/[as] "Dryas"*)Oro/s?b?ios "Orosbios"

Wedding of Peleus and Thetis:

[epig-rough]e/faistos "Hephaistos"[*)O]xeano/s "Okeanos"[epig-rough]erme=s "Hermes"*Mai=a "Maia"*Mo[i=]ra[i] "Moirai"*)Aqe?[n]a?i/a "Athena"*Dori/s "Doris"*Ner[e]u/s "Nereus"*)/Ares "Ares"*)Afrodi/te "Aphrodite"*Stesixo/re "Stesichore" (instead of Terpsichore)*)Era?t[o/] "Erato"*Polumni/s "Polymnis"*)Anfitri/te "Amphitrite"[*Po]seipo=n "Poseipon" for Poseidon*Melpome/ne "Melpomene"*Kleio/ "Kleo"*Eu)te/rpe "Euterpe"*qa/leia "Thaleia"[epig-rough]e/ra "Hera"*Zeu/s "Zeus"*)Orani/a "Ourania"*Kalio/pe "Kalliope"*)Ergo/timos m'e)poi/esen "Ergotimos made me"[epig-rough]o=rai "Horai"*Dio/nusos "Dionysos"[epig-rough]esti/a "Hestia"*Xariklo/ "Chariklo"*Dem?[e/ter] "Demeter"*)=Iris "Iris" *Xi/ron "Chiron"*Kliti/as m' e)/grafsen "Kleitias painted me"bom?[o/s] "Altar" on altar*Peleu/s "Peleus"*qe/tis "Thetis"

Death of Troilos

*)Apo/lon "Apollo"*Tro/on "Trojan"kre/ne "Fountainhouse"*(Rodi/a "Rhodia"*qe/tis "Thetis"[epig-rough]erme=[s] "Hermes"*)Aqenai/[a] "Athena"*Troi/los ("Troilos" on horseback; Achilles behind him, name lost)[epig-rough]udri/a "hydria"[*Polux]se/ne. "Polyxene"*)Ante/nor "Antenor"*Pri/amos "Priam"qa=kos "seat", incised on seat[epig-rough]e/ktor "Hector" under city gate*Poli/tes "Polites"

Return of Hephaistos

[*Poseido=]n? (behind him, a god, Hermes? whose name is lost)*)/Artemis*)/Ares "Ares"*)Aq.[ena]i/a "Athena"[epig-rough]e/ra*Zeu/s[epig-rough]*)Afrogi/te (for -di/te)*Dio/nusos[epig-rough]e/fa{i}stos*Silenoi/*Nu/fai

Achilles and Ajax (on handles)


(adapted from R. Wachter, "The Inscriptions on the François Vase," Museum Helveticum 48 (1991) 86-113.

Collection History:

Excavated by the painter Alessandro François from around a tomb at Chiusi. The vase had been broken in antiquity and scattered over a wide area; between 1844 and 1845 François is said to have excavated an area the size of the Coliseum looking for further fragments of the vase.

Sources Used:

Beazley 1951, 24-34; Simon & Hirmer 1976, 69-77; Stewart 1983a

Other Bibliography:

Guglielmo Maetzke, Mauro Cristofani, Maria Grazia Marzi, Renzo Giachetti, Marco Bini, Antonello Perissinotto, Vaso Francois; Materiali per servire alla storia del Vaso Francois. Bolletino d'Arte Serie Speciale no. 1 (Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca Dello Stato, Roma, 1981)