Side A: scene at center

Side A: Achilles and Ajax gaming

Collection: Malibu, The J. Paul Getty Museum
Summary: Side A: Achilles and Ajax gaming, with Athena standing between them
Ware: Attic Black Figure
Painter: Attributed to the Leagros Group
Date: ca. 510 BC

H. to lip 45.3-45.8 cm., w. across handles 25.55 cm., d. of mouth 21.57-21.61 cm., h. of lip 3.13 cm., d. of body 30.4 cm., d. of foot 16.12-16.2 cm.

Shape: Neck amphora
Beazley Number: 7037
Period: Late Archaic

Decoration Description:

The echinus mouth is reserved on its topside and has a red line on the outer edge. The inside of the mouth and neck are glazed. The triple handles are glazed, with reserve on the inside of their central ribs. On the neck is a palmette-lotus chain with twisted links, as well as a glaze line at the pattern's upper and lower limits. There is a slight ring at the neck-shoulder junction, painted red except under the handles. An enclosed tongue pattern appears on the shoulder. Below both handles are configurations of four palmettes and a large hanging lotus bud, two small horizontal buds where the tendrils intersect, and a glaze dot in the center. Below the figures are one glaze line, an upright lotus bud zone, with the buds alternately open and closed, with dots in between and bordered by two glaze lines above and below. Thirty-seven rays and a thick glaze line appear above the foot. There is a red fillet at the body-foot junction, with incised lines above and below. The torus foot has a thin red line on its outer edge. The lower part of the foot edge and the underside of the foot are reserved.

On side A, Achilles and Ajax are playing a board game, while Athena stands between them. Achilles and Ajax are seated on blocks, facing each other. A block or plinth stands between them, with a gaming board (probably a simple incision on top of the stone block) on top. The two are similarly dressed and armed, with Corinthian helmets (Ajax's on the right high-crested), swords in scabbards hung from baldric, short pleated chitons, greaves, and shields (a tripod device on Achilles's and a bull's head device on Ajax's). Achilles holds two spears in his left hand and wears a cuirass. Athena stands to the right in front of the game block. She is looking left as she raises her left hand and carries a spear in her right. She is wearing an aegis over her long chiton and a high-crested Attic helmet with a fillet.

On side B, three hoplites are standing turned to the left. The first and third wear low-crested Corinthian helmets, the second a high-crested helmet. They are carrying shields and spears, and they wear greaves. The shields of the first and third warriors are black with three balls and a drinking horn, respectively, as devices. The second has a white shield emblazoned with a large letter N.

Red is used for the mouth lines, the neck-shoulder join, the base fillet, the foot, on sides A and B the lotus cuffs, palmette hearts, some of the lotuses' central petals, alternate tongues on the shoulder, on side A the short lines on the helmet crests and garments, Athena's helmet fillet, the warriors' beards, Achilles's hair and the volute of his cuirass, dots on Ajax's scabbard, on side B, the short lines on the second and third warriors' helmet crests, the edge of the first warrior's shield, the device on the second warrior's shield, and the dots on the edge of the third warrior's shield. White appears on side A on female flesh, the dots on the helmet crests, the shield devices, baldrics and sword hilts, the chape of Achilles's scabbard, groups of three dots on the hoplites' and Athena's garments, on side B on the dots on the first and third warriors' helmet crests, the devices on their shields, and the shield of the second warrior.

Sources Used:

CVA, USA 24, Malibu 1, pp. 30-31, pls. 30, 3-4, 33, 1, and 34, 3-4.

Other Bibliography:

Weltkunst 1968, no. A 24 (Schauenburg); von Bothmer & Bean 1969, no. 19 (loan no. L.68.142.10); Brommer 1973, p. 335, no. 23; Bareiss Collection 1983, p. 70, no. 43; S. Woodford, JHS 102 (1982), p. 182, no. D 5 bis.