Main panel: woman, lower half

Shoulder: lion

Predella: boar, second from left

Main panel: youth, upper half

Main panel: head of man behind horse

Main panel: horse's head

Collection: University Museums, University of Mississippi
Summary: Departure Scene. On shoulder: Herakles and the lion. Predella of lions and boars.
Ware: Attic Black Figure
Painter: Attributed to the Acheloos Painter
Attributed By: D.M. Robinson
Date: ca. 530 BC - ca. 520 BC

H. 0.36 m., D. 0.245 m.

Primary Citation: ABV, 277, 12
Shape: Hydria
Beazley Number: 320174
Period: Archaic

Decoration Description:

On the body of the vase, a bearded man leading a horse to the right stands at the center of the composition. He is wrapped in a chlamys and carries a spear. At the left, a woman wearing a peplos holds out both hands, gesturing toward the departing man. At the right, a naked youth stands facing the man, gesturing with his right hand. On the shoulder of the vase, Herakles, at the left, moves toward the lion. Herakles wears a short chiton, a corslet, and a chlamys. He has his quiver over his shoulder, and carries his club in his right hand back ready to hit the lion. Iolaos, wearing a short chiton and chlamys, and holding a club, crouches at the right of the composition. In the predella, two sets of lions and boars confront one another.

The first labor of Herakles was to subdue a lion living near Nemea. Diodorus Siculus (Diod. Sic. 4.11.3-4) stresses that the lion was invulnerable to iron weapons. Most artists choose to illustrate Herakles strangling the lion, as a variety of literary sources relate the myth: the Diodorus passage cited above, Theok. 25, 266-271, and Apollod. 2.5.1. The painter of this skyphos chose to illustrate an episode related by Theok. 25, 253-261, that before Herakles strangled the lion, he knocked it senseless with his club. The schema with the lion prepared to spring and Herakles with his club finds its greatest popularity in the last quarter of the sixth century. In such scenes, the general composition for a fight or battle, as on Mississippi 1977.3.75, is applied to Herakles and the lion.

Although this vase is listed in the museum records as being attributed to the Acheloos Painter, Beazley placed this vase in the Manner of the Antimenes Painter. This latter attribution may be more accurate. Certain features of the vase, especially the depiction of a departure scene and the use of a predella, are not typically found in the Acheloos Painter's work, but are frequently found in the work of the Antimenes Painter and those in his manner — to which group it is attributed by Beazley (ABV, 277, no. 12).

Collection History:

Once in the Robinson collection. Harvard Inv. no. 151. Robinson purchased the vase in 1929 from the Schiller collection, Berlin.

Sources Used:

CVA, Robinson I, pl. 35; LIMC, V, Herakles 31-33; Burow 1989; Moignard 1982