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Side A: Theseus abducting Antiope

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Three-dimensional approximation of the vase

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Side B: man and woman between two mounted youths

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Side A: Theseus abducting Antiope

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Tondo: Theseus and rescued maiden

Collection: London, British Museum
Summary: Side A: Theseus abducting Antiope. Side. B: Man (or youth) and woman between two mounted youths. Int: Theseus and rescued maiden(?)
Ware: Attic Red Figure
Painter: Attributed to Oltos
Potter: Signed by Kachrylion
Context: From Vulci
Date: ca. 520 BC - ca. 510 BC
Dimensions:

H. 0.141 m.

Primary Citation: ARV2, 58, 51, 1622; Beazley Addenda 1, 80
Shape: Kylix
Beazley Number: 200441
Region: Etruria
Period: Late Archaic


Condition:

Broken and restored.

Decoration Description:

Side A: Theseus carrying away Antiope, the Queen of the Amazons, in a quadriga. Theseus has long hair bound with a myrtle wreath, and wears a chlamys and cuirass. He stands in the chariot, holding in his left hand the reins and two spears, and in his right, which is restored, the reins and a goad. Over the horses is the partial retrograde inscription [*Q*E*S*E]*U*S ("[These]us"). Theseus' left arm supports Antiope, who wears a Phrygian cap wreathed in myrtle and terminating in a spike, earrings, a jerkin reaching the hips, and tight-fitting pants. At her left side her quiver is hung from a shoulder belt, and her jerkin is ornamented with parallel, indented lines and bordered with a meander pattern. Her belt also has a meander pattern, and her pants are decorated with spots. She leans over the arm of Theseus, turning away from him and looking backward; in her left hand she holds her bow, and in front of her face is the inscription *A*N*T*I*O*P*E*I*A ("Antiope"). Behind her advances Perithoos, armed with a Corinthian crested helmet, a round shield, a cuirass over a short chiton, greaves and two spears. He is bearded and has long hair. His chiton is embroidered, bordered with a meander pattern and fringed. He raises his right hand toward Antiope, and in front of him is inscribed retrograde *P*E*R*I*Q[*O]*O*S("Perith[o]os"). Behind him is Phorbas, armed with a Corinthian crested helmet, a cuirass over a short chiton, a sword hung at his left side, and greaves. In his left hand he holds a spear, he is looking back over his shoulder, and in front of him is the retrograde inscription *F*O*R*B*A*S ("Phorbas").

Side B: Two figures, a man and a woman, flanked by youths on horseback. The man, on the left, leans forward on his staff and extends his left hand to address the woman. His head is missing, and he wears a mantle which leaves his right arm uncovered. The woman wears a chiton and peplos, armlets and sandals. Her head is also missing. She stretches out her right hand toward the man, and in her left she holds a flower. Both youths are nude; behind the one on the right is the inscription *X*A*X[*R]*L*L*I*O*N ("Cachrylion"). These figures are described in the 1870 British Museum Catalogue (279) as the Dioskouroi taking leave of their parents, Leda and Tyndareus, while Neils (179) thinks that Theseus and Helen are depicted.

Int.: A female stands on the right, holding a flower. On the left stands a beardless man with long hair, playing a lyre. He wears a vine wreath in his hair, and a mantle which leaves his right arm uncovered. In front of his head is the inscription *X*A*I*R*E *S*U ("Greetings to you"). The female has long hair looped up in a diadem, a necklace, armlets, and sandals. With her left hand she raises the chiton she is wearing above her ankle. Beazley (AR) thinks that these two are Theseus and one of the rescued maidens, and cites the Fran├žois vase for comparison. In this case, the female is more likely to be Ariadne.

According to Neils (178) this is the earliest Attic representation of Theseus abducting Antiope, as it pre-dates the pediment of the Temple of Apollo Daphnephoros in Eretria. Oltos painted this scene at least one other time; a later cup (ca. 510 B.C.) at Oxford (Oxford 1927.4065) depicts the same actors, with the addition of Poseidon and a charioteer. The British Museum cup was made towards the end of the early part of his career. His earlier horses have red-glazed manes and tails, and no body markings except the lines of the shoulders and cheek, "they bring to mind the products of a cookie cutter" (Cohen, 378). These horses are more detailed, and their temperaments seem to agree with the individual scenes; those in the abduction scene are very spirited, tossing their heads back, while those on the reverse are calm.

Inscriptions:

Side A: Over the horses is the partial retrograde inscription [*Q*E*S*E]*U*S ("[These]us"). In front of Antiope's face is the inscription *A*N*T*I*O*P*E*I*A ("Antiope"). In front of Perithoos is inscribed retrograde *P*E*R*I*Q[*O]*O*S ("Perith[o]os"). In front of Phorbas is the retrograde inscription *F*O*R*B*A*S ("Phorbas").

Side B: Behind the youth on the right is the inscription *X*A*X[*R]*L*L*I*O*N ("Cachrylion").

Int.: In front of the man's head is the inscription *X*A*I*R*E *S*U ("Greetings to you").

Sources Used:

B. Cohen 1978, 379 ff., pl. 86, 2,3; J. Neils "The Loves of Theseus: An Early Cup by Oltos," AJA 85 (1981), 177-179 pl. 40-41, fig. 1, 3, 4; Smith 1896

Other Bibliography:

Williams 1985, 38, pl. 44; LIMC, I, pl. 683; Schefold 1978, fig. 205 (1)