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Side B: scene at center

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Side A: scene at center

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Side A: scene at center

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Under right handle: Eumolpos

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Overview: exterior

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Under left handle: Poseidon

Collection: London, British Museum
Summary: Side A: Demeter, Triptolemos, Persephone, Eleusis, and Eumolpos. Side B: Zeus, Dionysos, Amphitrite and Poseidon.
Ware: Attic Red Figure
Painter: Attributed to Makron
Potter: Signed by Hieron
Context: Capua
Date: ca. 490 BC - ca. 480 BC

H 0.212m D 0.260m

Primary Citation: ARV2, 459, 3, 481,1654
Shape: Skyphos
Beazley Number: 204683
Region: Campania
Period: Late Archaic

Decoration Description:

Exterior: Side A: Triptolemos in his winged car is about to set off and bring wheat to humankind. He holds a bunch of grains in his left hand and an elaborately decorated phiale in his right. He wears a long, sleeved chiton and himation draped over his left shoulder. His wreathed hair is worn long with dangling curls in front of his ears and framing his face. Over him runs his name, *T*R*I*P*P*T*O*L*E*M*O*S, Triptolemos. The car itself is magnificently decorated with great spreading wings and arching serpents hissing on either side, as well as Ionic columns supporting the seat itself. Persephone stands on the right, looking center. She holds a blazing torch in her left hand and pours a farewell wine libation from an oinochoe with her right into the phiale of Triptolemos. She wears a radiated diadem and earrings on her head and a long, sleeved chiton with an elaborately bordered himation. Her name is inscribed, *F*E*R*O*F*A*T*T*A, Pherophatta. On the extreme right is a young nymph, Eleusis, a personification of the locality. She is dressed like Persephone in a long, sleeved chiton and himation which she wears modestly draped over her crowned head. With her right hand she holds up a flower and her left lifts the edge of her chiton. Her name is also inscribed *E*L*E*U*S*I*S, Eleusis. Behind the chariot is the goddess of grains, Persephone's mother, Demeter, who holds grains in her left hand and a flaming torch in her right. She wears an embattled diadem, earrings, and long, sleeved chiton. Her himation is richly embroidered with small winged figures, dolphins, eagles and other birds, panthers, chariot races, foot races, pegasoi, and humans in black silhouette. The borders consist of spirals and upright palmettes. Her name is inscribed, *D*E*M*E*T*R*E, Demeter. Beneath the right handle and to the right of the nymph Eleusis, is the king Eumolpos who originated the rites of Demeter at Eleusis. He is seated to the right, facing left, holding his scepter in his left hand. The bearded king has his hair long and wears a sleeveless chiton and a bordered himation draped over his left shoulder. His name is inscribed, *E*U*M*O*L*P*P*O*S, Eumolpos. Beneath the other handle, seated to the left but facing right, towards Demeter, is the god Poseidon, identified by the scepter of authority which he holds in his right hand and the dolphin which he holds in his left. He is bearded and wears a sleeveless chiton and himation which is draped over his left shoulder. His name is inscribed beside him, *P*O*S*E*I*D*O*N, Poseidon.

Side B: At the feet of Eumolpos is a swan which follows Zeus, who walks to the right. He carries his attribute, the thunderbolt, in his right hand, and his scepter of authority in his left. He has his wreathed hair short, with a long curl behind his ear, and wears a mustache and long beard. The god wears a long, sleeved chiton and a bordered himation over his left shoulder. He is further identified by his name, *Z*E*U*S, Zeus. The central figure on this side is the god Dionysos, who stands facing right and holding a sprouting staff in his left hand. He has his hair long in back, a mustache, and beard, and wears a bordered himation over his long chiton. In his hair he wears an ivy wreath. His name, too, is inscribed, *D*I*O*N*U*S*O*S, Dionysos. The scene is related to that on Side A since the female figure furthest right, Amphitrite, wife of Poseidon, looks off right in his direction. She is identified by her attribute, the dolphin, which she holds in her left hand, and her name which is inscribed, *A[*N]*F*I*T*R*I*T*E, Amphitrite. She moves to the left, wearing a fillet, earrings, a necklace, and a chiton with overfold. With her right hand she holds up her himation for her husband in a gesture which is associated with brides and wives. The figures walk on a reserved double line which runs round the entire exterior.

The event on Side A takes place at Eleusis. The torches held by Persephone and Demeter are typical of the equipment of the Eleusinian mysteries, held in their honor. They also indicate that the action is taking place at night.


All figures are identified,*T*R*I*P*P*T*O*L*E*M*O*S, *F*E*R*O*F*F*A*T*T*A, *E*L*E*U*S*I*S, *D*E*M*E*T*R*E, *E*U*M*O*L*P*P*O*S, *P*O*S*E*I*D*O*N, *Z*E*U*S, *D*I*O*N*U*S*O*S, and *A[*N]*F*I*T*R*I*T*E. On the left handle appears [epig-rough]*I*E*R*O*N *E*P*O*I*S*E*N, "Hieron made (me)."

Collection History:

Castellani, 1873

Sources Used:

Smith 1896, 137-139; Haspels 1936, 14 n., 72 n.2; CVA, 5, 3-4, pl. 28,2; Boardman 1975, fig. 309; Kurtz 1989, 95-96, pls. 78, 79; Williams 1991, 106, fig. 42; Barber 1992, 115, fig. 73