Tondo: the Boreads, upperlegs, torsos, heads

Tondo: the Boreads, left and right wings and heads

Exterior: view from above

Tondo: the Boreads, right legs

Tondo: the Boreads, heads

Tondo: the Boreads, left wings

Collection: Cambridge, Harvard University Art Museums
Summary: The Boreads.
Ware: Attic Black Figure
Painter: Attributed to Lydos
Context: Said to be from Attica
Date: ca. 560 BC - ca. 550 BC

H. 0.03 m.; D. 0.22 m.

Primary Citation: ABV, 112.54; Para, 44; Beazley Addenda 2, 31.
Shape: Plate
Beazley Number: 310200
Region: Attica
Period: Archaic


Broken and repaired, with the very bottom of the tondo and about two thirds of the rim restored in plaster. One circular piece reattached in tondo. Minor scratches. The added white of the chitons has largely worn away.

Decoration Description:

The winged sons of Boreas, the North Wind, are flying to the right, their limbs in the pinwheeling Knielauf posture, the standard archaic convention for suggesting rapid movement, be it running or flying. Their names are Kalais and Zetes, but they are known collectively as the Boreads; it is not certain which is which. We are probably to understand them as flying in pursuit of the Harpies, the disgusting birds who tormented the blind Thracian king Phineus and who were driven away by the Boreads when they arrived with the Argonauts. The bodies of the two brothers are superimposed, so that all one sees of the farther brother are the face, left hand, lower legs and feet, left knee, the fronts of the thighs, and the outer contours of the wings. We are left to assume that they are dressed identically, with an animal skin worn over a white chitoniskos with wavy incised folds and a border of running spirals. The hair is tied in a krobylos. The wings have stripes of added red and white, the former with white dots, the latter with incised feathers. The coverts are black with a pattern of incised crescents. The knobby knees and thick leg muscles are marked with bold incision. Both brothers have long noses and chins. At the bottom of the disk, beneath the churning legs of the wind-gods, sits a hare, its fur indicated by stippled incision. At lower left is the tail of a snake, his head now missing. The figures are framed by a simple circular stripe. Beyond this, on the rim, is a broad black band decorated with a white zigzag. Circling the bottom of the disk are three broad concentric bands. The lip is black and a broad black band circles the underside of the rim.

Shape Description:

Standard plate shape for the period. The central disk is slightly convex on top and concave on bottom, and is surrounded by a shallow ring foot. The convex rim is sharply offset and has a groove around its inner lip. Two suspension holes pierce the rim above the figures' heads.


Incised in large letters on the disk, crossing the figures, are the letters *E*R*I, followed by part of another letter now too fragmentary to read. On the bottom of the disk, in letters of similar type, is incised

Collection History:

Bequest of David M. Robinson.

Other Bibliography:

CVA, Robinson 1, 40, pl. 19, 1; Beazley 1951, 47; LIMC, III, 127, pl. 100, Boreadai 1; Journal of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 3 (1991) 19, fig. 4.