Dinos depicting an amazonomachy: drawing of side B

Dinos depicting an amazonomachy: drawing of side B (right), showing two Gr...

Dinos depicting an amazonomachy: drawing of side B (left), showing two ama...

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Dinos depicting an amazonomachy: drawing of side A (left), depicting a Gre...

Dinos depicting an amazonomachy: drawing of side A, showing Theseus, Peiri...

Collection: London, British Museum
Summary: Theseus and the Amazons
Ware: Attic Red Figure
Painter: Attributed to the Group of Polygnotos
Context: From Akragas
Date: ca. 470 BC - ca. 450 BC

H 25.8; D 34.4

Primary Citation: ARV2, 1052, 29
Shape: Dinos
Beazley Number: 213658
Region: Sicily
Period: Early Classical


The vase is in fine condition, although the black glaze has partly turned to red in places.

Decoration Description:

Theseus and the Amazons. There are fourteen combatants which can be divided into three groups, with Theseus and Andromache in the largest group, taking up more than half the vase. Theseus, followed by Peirithoos and a companion whose name cannot be read, rushes up to Andromache who has fallen to the right onto her left knee. Andromache looks back toward Theseus and has raised the axe in her right hand in a last effort of resistance. Blood pours from the wound in her right thigh. Theseus, holding a shield, will be able to defer the blow from the axe. To Andromache's right, Hippolyte and two other Amazons ride up to defend the fallen queen. Andromache wears a short, transparent chiton under a sort of apronned tunic/cuirass decorated with two rosettes. She wears a Scythian helmet with a diadem, and holds a bow in her lowered left hand. Hippolyte is similarly dressed, but wears a different helmet. She is carrying a spear. The two other Amazons are dressed in patterned chitons over spotted 'bodysuits.' The one in the foreground wears a quiver at her side and carries an axe in her left hand. The other carries a spear. Broken spears and a quiver litter the ground. On the opposite side of the dinos, an Amazon runs to the defense of a comrade who is being attacked by a naked Greek, his sword arm raised to strike. He is aided by Akamas, who crouches with his left foot set on a rock. Visible on Akamas' shield are the hind-quarters of a quadruped. The threatened Amazon is seen in three-quarter front view, her body visible under a transparent chiton held at the shoulder by straps. There are horns on her helmet and she wears heel-guards. She holds a pelta in her left hand, and in her right, a spear is posed nearly horizontally. A young sapling is positioned between her and the Amazon running to her rescue, who wears a short-sleeved, short, patterned tunic and a sakkos, and holds a bow and an axe. The naked Greek wears a crested helmet; his shield device is a griffin(?). In the third group, Megareus has been wounded by a spear, the shaft of which has broken with the point lodged in his right thigh. He is down on both knees, and an Amazon has seized him by the hair and steps on his hip while she plunges her sword in his neck; blood gushes from the wound. Megareus has picked up a stone with his right hand and holds his shield aloft, and Sthenelos draws his sword as he rushes up to help his companion, but their efforts come too late. The Amazon wears greaves, an unusual hat and a patterned 'bodysuit' and short tunic. Megareus has short curly hair and is naked. Sthenelos is bearded and wears a helmet. His shield device is a roaring lion.


The figures are identified by inscriptions: [*P*E*I]*R*I*Q*O*S, Peirithoos: *Q*E*S*E*U*S, Theseus; *A[*N*D]*R*O*M*A[*X*E], Andromache; in retrograde, [epig-rough]*I*P*P*O[*L*U]*T*E, Hippolyte; in retrograde, *A*K*A*M*A*S, Akamas; *M*E*G*A[*R*E]*U*S, Megareus; *S*Q*E[*N*E*L*O*S], Sthenelos; and an indecipherable inscription ... *A....

Collection History:

The vase was found at Akragas in 1830. It passed through the Rogers, Stoddart and Forman collections before being bought by the British Museum at the Forman sale in 1899.

Sources Used:

von Bothmer 1957, 162, 170-171, Pl. 77, 2; CVA, Gr. Brit 8, Brit. Mus. 6 (III I), p. 11, pl. 103; Williams 1985, 49 fig. 53.

Other Bibliography:

Forman Sale Cat. 1899, no 357; Gerhard AV, pl. 329-30; Benndorf 1889, 150, fig. 139; Farmakovskii 1929, pl. 18; FR, pl. 58; Studniczka 1915, 222, fig. 34; Pfuhl 1923, fig. 508a; JRIBA 1955, 8; von Bothmer 1957, pl. 77, 2; ph. Ma. 3232; Barron 1972, 36-37, pl. 5c; Kron 1976, pl. 25.1,2; LIMC, I pl. 339. Akamas et Demophon 22, pl. 471; Brommer 1982, 116-117, fig. 17; Birchall & Corbett 1974, fig. 44; Böhr & Martini 1986, pl. 21,1; Beazley Addenda 2, 322; Boardman 1989, fig. 159.