|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.
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
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 (
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 (
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,
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.
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
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 (
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,
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,
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
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
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 (
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 (
Earliest known Attic volute krater, among the earliest Greek volute kraters.
Kalydonian Boar Hunt: Theseus' Dance:
ladies to L:
Chariot race at the Funeral Games for Patroklos:
Lapiths and Centaurs: Wedding of Peleus and Thetis: Death of Troilos Return of Hephaistos Achilles and Ajax (on handles)
Museum Helveticum 48 (1991) 86-113.
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.
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)