Shoulder: ransom of Hector

Shoulder: Achilles, from the waist up

Shoulder: Priam

Shoulder: Hector, bound feet


Overview: handle at rear

Collection: Cambridge, Harvard University Art Museums
Summary: Ransom of Hektor
Ware: Attic Red Figure
Painter: Attributed to the Pioneer Group, sundry
Date: ca. 510 BC - ca. 500 BC

H. 0.381 m.; D. at foot 0.147 m.; D. at mouth 0.155 m.; D. at handles 0.38 m.

Primary Citation: Para, 324, 13 bis; Beazley Addenda 2, 157.
Shape: Hydria-kalpis
Period: Late Archaic


Intact except for one restored side handle, minuscule chip from cheek and mouth of Hektor. Light abrasion on left couch leg. The glaze on the lower body and sides is streaky and mottled.

Decoration Description:

On shoulder: The ransom of Hektor, as described by Homer, with Priam entering and grabbing Achilles by the knees (Hom. Il. 24.475-83). Achilles is reclining on a couch (kline), as Priam enters from the left. The king strides forward, stretching both arms out to grasp Achilles' knees. He is balding in front; his mouth is open in supplication. He wears a long chiton and a himation, the latter covering the back of his head. Achilles wears a red fillet and a himation which covers his legs, left shoulder and left arm. His left foot hangs over the end of the couch; the couch leg at the opposite end is taller, with a finial in the form of an Ionic capital. Achilles is dining, cutting on a piece of meat with the knife in his right hand. More meat is piled on the low table below the couch, partially obscured by the trailing ends of Achilles' himation. In a gruesome detail, blood from the meat, drawn with added red, drips on Hektor's corpse, which lies on the floor below. Cords lash together the feet of the dead prince, whom Achilles has several times dragged around the tomb of Patroklos, trailing behind his chariot. Blood, drawn with dilute glaze, leaks from several wounds on the body, which is represented larger than either Priam or Achilles. The chin is raised and the eyes closed in death. Hektor's long hair, with numerous incised strands, fans out behind him. Leaning against the frame at right is Achilles' shield of Theban type, with cut-out sides; on top of it sits a Corinthian helmet with a horsehair crest. The edge of the shield is tinted with brown dilute glaze.

The upper and lateral frames of the picture panel consist of bands of pomegranate-net pattern framed by paired stripes. The groundline is a band of egg pattern. Below the picture panel in front, between the handles, is a broad band of palmettes, consisting of pairs of palmettes linked and enclosed by tendrils, with buds in the interstices. The top of the mouth (not the rim), the underside of the foot, and the areas between the roots of the side handles are reserved. Inside of neck glazed to depth of about 3 cm. Red stripes circle the middle of the neck and frame the upper and lower edges of the reserved areas between the side handles.

Shape Description:

Kalpis hydria: height and width equal; capacious body; deep shoulder; narrow torus mouth; torus foot; fillet between foot and body; rounded handles, tilted sharply upward.


In red letters between Priam's head and Achilles' elbow: *P*R*I*A*M*O*S. Other inscriptions throughout the panel are apparently meaningless: *I*X*E*X; *I*O*T*E*X; *T*I*N*I; *X*E*T*E*I (the latter retrograde).


Buitron No. 37

Collection History:

Bequest of Frederick M. Watkins.

Sources Used:

Watkins 1973; Buitron 1972.

Other Bibliography:

H. Cahn, Kunstwerke der Antike, Münzen und Medaillen Auktion 34, Basel, 6 May 1967, 75-76, pl. 46, no. 149; Buitron 1972, 80-81, no. 37; Watkins 1973, 48-49, no. 19; A. Kossatz-Deissmann, in LIMC, I, 150, pl. 123, Achilleus 655.