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106. 00.342 STAMNOS from Athens PLATES LV-LVI

Height 0.382; breadth 0.404, without the handles 0.392. B, VA. p. 143; the side, Jacobsthal O. pl. 99, a; the shape, Caskey G. p. 95. Gigantomachy: A, Dionysos and a Giant; B, a satyr driving a satyr-biga. About 460 B.C., by the Blenheim Painter (ARV. p. 417 no. 4).1

Relief-lines are used for the contours. The hair of the left-hand figure on A is edged with a relief-line. Red for the leaves of Dionysos' branch, and the blood of the Giant's wound near his waist.

A. The Giant, wounded, has turned tail and falls on one knee, but rounds and strikes with his sword. Dionysos presses on him, holding out a vine-branch in his left hand and using the butt of his thyrsus with his right. Two maenads back their master up, one ready to hurl a rock on the enemy, the other to beat him with her thyrsus.

Dionysos wears a chitoniskos, with a flounce, and a short kolpos which is belted and drawn down over the belt at both sides; on his left arm a small fringed wrap; boots with fur flaps; ivy-wreath. The giant is fully armed, but without greaves: chitoniskos, leather corslet strengthened in front with bronze scales, helmet, shield. The shoulder-pieces are decorated with quatrefoils. The sword is of the kopis type (see ii p. 21), and the hilt, as often in that type, ends in the head of a bird. The left-hand maenad wears a chiton with a kolpos, and on the breast a double thickness, whether caused by girding or by a flounce; over the chiton a nebris. The ends of her long hair are gathered into a small bag; her head is encircled by a broad band of stuff, ornamented in front with the foreparts of four winged horses — a chariot-team — in the round. The other maenad wears an 'Ionic' himation over her chiton. Her hair falls loose and is bound with a pair of writhing serpents.

On the subject see Mayer Giganten und Titanen pp. 319-28, and Villard in Rev. arch. 1947 (28) pp. 5-11, publishing a stamnos by the Syleus Painter in the Louvre. A free replica of the group of Dionysos and Giant appears on a calyx-krater by the Blenheim Painter in Leningrad (Leningrad 765: CR. 1867 pl. 6: ARV. p. 416, below, no. 2). Less like, but like, are the groups on his calyx-krater in Bologna (Bologna 286: A, Pellegrini VF. p. 131; Webster Der Niobidenmaler pl. 7: ARV. p. 416, below, no. 3), and on the oinochoe by the Altamura Painter in Ancona (Marconi and Serra pl. 52: ARV. p. 415 no. 52). The maenad on the Bologna krater bears some resemblance to the right-hand figure on the stamnos in Boston.

The name of Dionysos' opponent is variously given. In Horace it is Rhoetus; the text of Apollodoros (Apollod. 1.6.2) has Εὔρυτον, which Bentley, perhaps unnecessarily, emended to Ῥοῖτον. On the black-figured kantharos Athens, Acr. 2134 (Graef pl. 94) it is [ΕΥΡΥ]ΜΕΔΟΝ, on the black-figured cup Athens, Acr. 1632 (Graef pl. 84) ΓΟΛ[ΥΒΟΤΕΣ?].

Maenads, as well as satyrs, assist their master in the Gigantomachy, and are shown doing so on seven vases. The others are the following:

  • 1. Athens, Vlasto collection, rf. stamnos by the Tyszkiewicz Painter: see ii p. 71.
  • 2. Naples Stg. 265, rf. stemless cup, unfinished imitation of the Sotades Painter by a tiro (ARV. p. 454 no. 27). On B, Ares and a Giant. On A, a maenad attacks a Giant: she wears a chitoniskos, a panther-skin, a saccos, and uses a sword. Already cited by Mayer Giganten p. 327.
  • 3. Ancona, rf. oinochoe (shape I) by the Altamura Painter (ARV. p. 415 no. 52). Marconi and Serra pl. 52. Dionysos and a Giant; a maenad comes up on the left and attacks with a thyrsus.
  • 4. Bologna 286, rf. calyx-krater by the Blenheim Painter (ARV. p. 417 no. 3). See above, ii p. 70. A maenad assists Dionysos, swinging a thyrsus.
  • 5. Ferrara, Ferrara T. 313, calyx-krater by the Niobid Painter (ARV. p. 420 no. 22). Aurigemma 1 p. 171 = 2 p. 205. The maenad holds a torch.
  • 6. Naples 2883, fragments of a rf. calyx-krater, in the manner of the Pronomos Painter (ARV. p. 850 no. 3). Mon. 9 pl. 6; Hahland pl. 10. The maenad Paidia holds a thyrsus and is ready to throw a stone.
Ours is the only vase on which two maenads take part, and the only other vase on which a maenad hurls a rock is the Vlasto stamnos. She is inspired by the god to a feat of strength. A satyr hurls a rock in the Gigantomachy on a calyx-krater by the Niobid Painter in Ferrara (above, no. 5: not visible in the reproductions).

On other vases, maenads perform less strenuous duties: helping Dionysos, or a satyr, to arm, or filling the phiale of Dionysos for the libation before he goes into battle.

A stephane ornamented with the foreparts of four winged horses is worn by Athena on a calyx-krater by the Altamura Painter in the Louvre (Louvre G 342: see ii p. 16), and by a woman, probably a goddess, on fragments of a bell-krater by the same artist in Erbach and in the Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen (Tischbein 5 pl. 111; El. 1 pl. 29, 1; Bonner Jahrbücher 96 p. 342: ARV. p. 414 no. 27); on an amphora by the Niobid Painter in London (London E 257: Gerhard AV. pl. 176, 1; CV. pl. 7, 2: ARV. p. 421 no. 41) Hera's stephane is surmounted by the forepart of a winged horse. Compare the stephane with the forepart of a griffin on a stamnos-fragment by Hermonax in Heidelberg (Heidelberg 169: Kraiker pl. 31 : ARV. p. 318 no. 19), and the helmets with the same on the neck-amphora by Exekias in the British Museum (London B 210: WV. 1888 pl. 6, 2, whence Hoppin Bf. p. 95; CV. pl. 49, 2; Technau Exekias pl. 25) and the panathenaic Athens, Acr. 923 (Graef pl. 59). On a large bell-krater, with lugs for handles, of early classic style, which was in the Rogers (no. 399), Forman (no. 356), de Morgan (Greek Art. Collection of Henry de Morgan. American Art Galleries, New York, March 12th and 13th, 1901, no. 401), and Gould collections (Art Collection of the late Charles W. Gould. American Art Association, New York, Oct. 27-29, 1932 p. 82, no. 575), the subject of the side not reproduced is Dionysos leading Ariadne (or Semele?) by the hand: she wears 'a broad fillet surmounted over the forehead by an eagle with raised wings in the centre, flanked by springing Pegasi'. It will be noticed that these stephanai are worn by different persons, so that one can hardly attribute any special symbolic value to them.2

B. The subject is continued on the back of the vase. A satyr drives a biga drawn by two other satyrs. He holds a goad in his right hand and lays it on the shoulders of one of the pair, who looks round. The satyrs hold the reins with both hands. The peg and part of the pad are seen between the two heads, but it is not clear how the pole is kept up.

There are other pictures of a satyr driving a biga drawn by two of his companions:

  • Munich 1389 (J. 1119), bf. amphora. CV. pl. 24, 3 and pl. 27, 1.
  • Athens, Athens, Acr. 885, fragment of a late bf. vase. Graef pl. 54.
  • Athens, Vlasto collection, rf. stamnos by the Tyszkiewicz Painter (ARV. p. 186 no. 19). On A, Dionysos, dressed in a long chiton and a skin, attacks to right, with a spear in his right hand and a vine-branch in his left; the giant falls; a small panther bites the giant, and a maenad attacks him with a rock; on B, a satyr drives a satyr-biga to right.
  • Orvieto 1044, rf. stamnos by the Painter of the Yale Lekythos (ARV. p. 443, below, no. 1). Mayer Giganten pl. 2; CV. pll. 9-10; phots. Armoni.
  • Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale, rf. cup-skyphos probably by the Painter of Bologna 228 (ARV. p. 337, middle). Fröhner Musée Napoléon pl. 5 = Fröhner Musées de France pl. 6; Feytmans Les Vases grecs de la Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique pll. 25-8.
In four of these vases the satyr-biga is used in the Gigantomachy, but a satyr-biga occurs in different surroundings on a red-figured cup, belonging to the wider circle of the Nikosthenes Painter, in Cambridge (C. Smith Forman Coll. pl. 9, whence, A, Pfuhl fig. 343; CV. ii. R. and S. pl. 6, below: ARV. p. 104 no. 4): here, at a sports meeting, a biga drawn by a pair of satyrs is leading, after the turn, from a biga drawn by a pair of maenads. On a black-figured lekythos in Berlin (Berlin 1951: Gerhard A.B. pl. 17, 1) the quadriga of Dionysos is drawn by two maenads and two satyrs.

That centaurs, too, should sometimes be forced to draw chariots is only natural: Vanderpool in Hesp. 7 pp. 393-8; add a Praenestine mirror, with Herakles driving a centaur-biga, in the Villa Giulia.

On an archaic Greek gem formerly in the Bartholdy collection, a satyr drives a chariot drawn by a pair of lions (Furtwängler A.G. pl. 8, 42): this is probably another scene from the Gigantomachy.

Caskey notes that the vase, without neck, mouth, and handles, would go into a square, and so would the two stamnoi by the Chicago Painter in Boston (Pll. 16-17: ARV. pp. 407-8 nos. 4 and 14; see Caskey G. pp. 96-7). The shape is particularly sturdy: short body, neck, and handles, broad base and foot. The stamnoi by the Altamura Painter in Lyons, Munich, and San Simeon (ARV. p. 414 nos. 37, 35, 36) resemble ours, but it is even more compact than the Lyons. The upright projections beside the handles are common in stamnoi down to the middle of the fifth century (see EVP. p. 33), and none of the Altamura Painter's stamnoi is without them. In the long run they are descended from the strap or wicker handles of leather or wicker receptacles, in which the handle is threaded into slits, passes inside, and reappears. Another shape of vase, the lekane, preserves this handle in a more easily recognizable form.

The design of palmettes at the handles is of the same type as in the stamnoi by the Altamura Painter. The 'adhering petals' — the end-petals cleaving to their tendril — are the rule in the group of artists to which the Altamura Painter and the Blenheim Painter belong, but sometimes occur elsewhere.

In VA. (P. 145 no. 18) and Att. V. (p. 335 no. 26) I counted this stamnos a work of the Altamura Painter. In ARV. (pp. 416-17) I picked four vases out of my old Altamura lists, one out of my old Niobid, and headed them 'Blenheim Painter' after a volute-krater in the possession of the Duke of Marlborough. The five vases are very like the Altamura Painter, and link him to the Niobid. In ARV. I said that they might be early Niobid; but I still prefer to keep them apart both from the Niobid Painter and from the Altamura.

Vian 1951, pp. 82-83, no. 382, pl. 41; EAA, III, pp. 892-893 (F. Vian); B. B. Shefton, AJA 64 (1960), p. 174, note 10; ARV2, pp. 598 (no. 4), 1661; Caskey & Beazley, III, p. 46 (under no. 147); J. Dörig, JdI 80 (1965), p. 182, fig. 31; Philippaki 1967, pp. 73-74, no. 4, pl. 47, 1; Follmann 1968, p. 99, note 316; C. G. Boulter, AJA 72 (1968), p. 186; Para., p. 394, no. 4; Isler & Seiterle 1973, p. 99, note 26 (M. Schmidt); C. C. Vermeule, BurlMag 115 (1973), p. 117, note 14; Wandlungen, p. 214, note 23 (S. Karusu); Brommer 1980, p. 20, no. B 13; Schefold 1981, pp. 96-98 (figs. 126-127), 366; Metzger and Sicre 1984, pp. 198-199, illus.; A. Pekridou, 1986, Das Alketas-Grab in Termessos (IstMitt, Beiheft 32), Tübingen: E. Wasmuth, p. 55, note 132; LIMC, III, 1, p. 476, no. 640, III, 2, pl. 373, illus. (C. Gasparri, A. Veneri); Images 1987, p. 115 (F. Lissarrague); Burn 1987, p. 46, note 7; Schöne 1987, p. 239, note 437; LIMC, IV, 1, p. 234, no. 379 (F. Vian and M. B. Moore); H. R. Goette, JdI 103 (1988), p. 431, note 128, d; M. C. Miller, Hesperia 58 (1989), p. 316, note 13; E. D. Serbeti, Boreas 12 (1989), p. 25, note 47; Beazley Addenda 2, p. 265; Arafat 1990, pp. 26, 185, no. 1.51.

1 (From Addenda to Part II) P. 70, no. 106. The obverse is now published, from Miss Chapman's drawing, by Vian Répertoire des gigantomachies figurées pl. 41, 382. See also Vian La guerre des géants pp. 85-90.

2 (From Addenda to Parts I and II) P. 71, lower middle: for the stephane on the Gould vase see Antike Kunst 4 p. 65, right, below.

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    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 1.6.2
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