Side B: maenad riding a bull

Side A: oblique from left

Side A: oblique from right

Side B: scene at center

Side A: scene at center

Side B: maenad

Collection: Toledo Museum of Art
Summary: Side A: Herakles and AcheloosSide B: A maenad riding a bull
Ware: Attic Black Figure
Painter: Attributed to the Leagros Group
Date: ca. 510 BC - ca. 500 BC

H. 0.33 m., d. rim 0.156 m., d. body 0.217 m., d. foot 0.11 m.

Primary Citation: ABV, 370.124; Para, 162
Shape: Neck amphora
Period: Late Archaic


Some flaking of added white.

Decoration Description:

Side A: Herakles and Acheloos. On the left of the field, Herakles bears weight on his right foot, raises his left foot in a kick or step forward, grabs Acheloos's horn with his left hand and reaches toward his opponent's chest with his right. Herakles appears here without his lionskin; he wears only a himation wrapped around his waist and a fillet in his hair. His sword hangs in its scabbard by his side, while his bow and quiver are suspended in the field behind his head and his club leans in the air behind his feet. On the right, Acheloos is prepared for both attack and defense, as he supports himself in a wide-legged stance with his hindquarters, kneels or flails with his front feet, and holds a stone in each hand, the right raised to throw. His rump bears a brand, resembling a snake. A leafed tree grows behind him.

Herakles's beard, part of his quiver, a fold of his himation, as well as the decorative dots on both it and the fillet show added red. Similarly, Acheloos's beard, as well as marks on his right breast and left (bovine) shoulder are red. Added white appears in the dotted triplets decorating Herakles's himation, the hilt of his sword, the tip of his scabbard, part of his quiver and a probable baldric (flaked off), Acheloos's two stones, and blossoms on the tree.

Side B: Maenad riding a bull. The maenad is wearing a chiton, himation, and fillet and is holding up a wreath in her left hand. She sits astride the bull's back, both maenad and bull facing right. A brand like a snake is incised on the bull's rump. From behind maenad and bull emanate leafed branches with no obvious root or stalk.

The maenad's fillet, marks on her himation and chiton, and rows of dots and marks on the bull's body appear in added red. Added white includes the flesh of the maenad, dots on her wreath, the bull's scrotum and a stripe on its belly, as well as the same kinds of tree blossoms seen on side A. Further added red shows in fillets that separate the neck from the shoulder, and the foot from the body of the vessel.

The neck of side A is decorated with a lotus and palmette chain; on side B, a central pendant palmette flanked by two that are upright fills the same space. Side A's shoulder bears red and black alternating tongues, while the tongues on side B's shoulder are uniformly black. Below each handle are quadruple lotus and palmette designs. Rays at the base of the vessel point upward to a chain of buds and dots with a reserved space above, bounded by the ground line of the main panel. The flat surface of the outward sloping echinus mouth is reserved, while the profiled interior is glazed to shoulder level.

This vessel's scenes have sparked discussion by several authorities. On the resemblance of the struggle to a centauromachy, specifically the use of stones, see Isler 1970, p. 18. Lullies, 1971, AK 14: 47, note 16 discusses the brands, while Technau, 1937, "Die Göttin auf dem Stier," JdI 52: 76 ff. examines the identities of female figures riding bulls.

Collection History: Ex collection Spinelli (Suessula).

Sources Used: CVA, USA fasc. 17, pp. 6-7, pls. 11-12

Other Bibliography: Duhn, 1887, RM 2: 258, pls. 11-12, figs. 2, 3; Brommer 1956, p. 1, no. 8; Brommer 1960, p. 1, no. 8; Washington 1962, p. 86; Riefstahl 1968, p. 37; Isler 1970, pp. 18, 27, 117, 136, pl. 5; Moore, M. B., 1972, AJA 76: 3 and note 11; Brommer 1973, 3, no. 8