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147. 10.177 STAMNOS from Cumae PLATE LXXXIl, 3 and PLATE LXXXIII

Height 0.381. A, Jb. 26 p. 133 (Studniczka); side-view, Jacobsthal O. p. 101, a; A, Simon Die Geburt der Aphrodite p. 76. A, Psychostasia. B, old man, man, and youth. About 470-460 B.C., by the Syracuse Painter (ARV.1 p. 352 no. 1; ARV.2 p. 518 no. 1).

Studniczka gives the provenience as Capua, but in error.

In the twenty-second book of the Iliad, near the end of the fight between Achilles and Hector, Zeus took a golden balance and placed two Κῆρε θανάτοιο, banes or dooms of death, in the scales, one for Hector, and one for Achilles. He raised the balance, and the doom of Hector sank. Then Apollo, who had been helping Hector, abandoned him. The word κῆρ may be rendered 'doom' or 'bane', often thought of personally as a destructive spirit. In the lines just quoted, for the sake of simplicity we translated 'the doom of Hector sank': but what the poet says is 'the fated day, αἴσιμον ἦμαρ, of Hector sank'. This 'αἴσιμον ἦμαρ' is evidently equivalent, or practically so, to the κῆρ just placed in the scale. Hector had previously said that he feared not, for no man would send him to Hades above and beyond fate:

οὐ γάρ τίς μ᾽ ὑπὲρ αἶσαν ἀνὴρ Ἄιδι προιάψει.
” Except it be the appointed hour. Well, the appointed hour has come.

Later, we hear of 'Zeus with the balance' in the trilogy of Aeschylus that dealt with the hero Memnon, son of Eos. All that remains of the tragedy Memnon, the first in the trilogy, is two or three detached lines; of the Psychostasia, the play that followed the Memnon, all we have is four words; but we have also a few brief allusions to two great scenes or tableaux in it. The lexicographer Pollux, speaking of stage-terms, says: 'On the theologeion [platform of the gods] which is above the skene [the stage-building] deities appear on high, like Zeus and those about him in the Psychostasia.' Plutarch provides a few more particulars: Zeus held a balance containing [not the Keres this time but] the psychai [souls or rather lives] of Achilles and Memnon, while Thetis and Eos, the divine mothers of the two heroes, stood one on each side of Zeus entreating him to spare their sons.

The date of the Memnonian trilogy is not known. The utmost limits are the beginning of the fifth century, when the first plays of Aeschylus were produced, and 456, the year of his death. Our trilogy can hardly have been very early, and it has been thought to be late on the ground that three speaking actors were needed for the Psychostasia scene — Eos, Thetis, and Zeus. But is it likely that Zeus spoke?

In any case we have nine vase-paintings with the Psychostasia of Achilles and Memnon, and some of them, are earlier than Aeschylus's trilogy can have been, and indeed than his first appearance as a writer for the stage. The psychai are represented as tiny figures, one in each scale: thrice as winged and unarmed; but more often as warriors in the attitude of attack. The unarmed figures are usually taken to be Keres, but they are most probably Psychai like the tiny warriors in the other pictures.1

The Psychostasia appears on the following vases:

    Eastern Greek
    • 1. Villa Giulia, bf. hydria. Annuario 24-26 pll. 3-6 and p. 49. One cannot tell from the reproductions what is in the scales, and there is no word in the text. On the style see Villard in Mon. Piot 43 p. 551.
    Attic
    • 2. Vienna 3619 (ex Vienna, Oest. Mus. 235), bf. dinos. Archiv für Religionswissenschaft 36 pl. 2 (Wüst); Simon Geburt p. 74. By the Painter of the Vatican Mourner (ABV. p. 140 no. 3).
    • 3. London B 639, bf. lekythos by the Sappho Painter (Haspels ABL. p. 227 no. 28). Murray, History of Greek Sculpture 2 p. 28 fig. 1, whence Roscher s.v. Keren p. 1142 fig. 1 and Jb. 26 p. 132. Later than the two rf. vases 4 and 5.
    • 4. Paris, Cab. Méd. 385 and Bonn 143b, frr. of a rf. volute-krater by the Kleophrades Painter (ARV.1 p 124 nos. 43 and 80; ARV.2 p. 186 no. 50). The Paris part, Kl. pl. 2 and pl. 30, 6; the Bonn fragment, ibid. pl. 20, 2, and CV. pl. 17, 4. The remains of Thetis are not quite so close to Zeus as in my drawing.
    • 5. VilIa Giulia 57912, rf. cup by Epiktetos (ARV.1 p. 46 no. 21; ARV.2 p. 72 no. 24). Arti figurative 2 pll. 1-8 (Ciotti); detail of A, Enciclopedia dell' Arte Antica i p. 280; A, Simon Geburt p. 75.
    • 6. Boston, our stamnos.
    • 7. Louvre CA 2243, rf. Nolan amphora by the Nikon Painter (ARV.1 p. 442 no. 10; ARV.2 p. 651 no. 11). CV. pl. 49, 7-9; A, phot. Giraudon, whence Histoire générale des religions p. 193 (as 'Hermes weighing the souls of the dead'); A, Simon Geburt p. 77.
    • 8. Louvre G 399, rf. cup. Mon. 6-7 pl. 5a, whence (A) Roscher s.v. Psychai p. 3225, whence Jb. 26, 134; Pottier pl. 140; A, Simon Geburt p. 79; phots. Giraudon. Peculiar, amateurish style.
    Campanian
    • 9. Leyden 26 f. 41, rf. neck-amphora by the Ixion Painter (JHS. 63 p. 95 no. 11). Passeri pll. 262-3; Millin pll. 19-22, whence Overbeck Gall. pl. 22, 7; A, Simon Geburt p. 81.
Add, as no. 10, the Etruscan mirror in Madrid (Madrid 558: Gerhard E.S. pl. 235, 1; Thouvenot pl. 22), of Group Z (see EVP. pp. 130-2 and JHS. 69 pp. 16-17).

In the seven Attic vases (nos. 2-8), in the Campanian (no. 9), and in the drawing on the Etruscan mirror (no. 10), the balance is held not by Zeus but by Hermes. Zeus is sometimes present, but he does not hold the balance. The divine mothers, Thetis and Eos, hasten up. Sometimes Achilles and Memnon themselves are seen fighting, and the two scenes — the heroes on earth, the decision in heaven — are combined. These pictures show that the Psychostasia of Achilles and Memnon was not invented by Aeschylus, but adopted by him from an earlier poem. This can hardly have been other than the epic attributed to Arktinos of Miletos, which took up the story of the Trojan War at the point where the Iliad left it, and was called Aithiopis because it dealt with Memnon, king of the Ethiopians. Far the best of the vases is the volute-krater by the Kleophrades Painter (no. 4), which has more than a little of that noble grandeur which the tableau in the drama of Aeschylus must surely have had. Epiktetos, in his many-figured picture, has treated the Psychostasia as an action-piece, and even Hermes who holds the balance is in lively movement.

From the evidence of the eight vases and the mirror we should naturally conclude that in the Aithiopis the balance was held by Hermes, and that when Aeschylus placed it in the hand of Zeus he was reverting to the precedent given by the Iliad in the story of Achilles and Hector. But the new Eastern Greek hydria (no. 1) shows that the conclusion would have been premature: for there it is Zeus who holds the balance, and Hermes is not present. The picture is quite different from the others: on the right, Achilles and Memnon are seen fighting; on the left, Zeus is seated, with the two goddesses imploring him, Eos kneeling, Thetis standing with outstretched arms. We can no longer say that in the Aithiopis it was Hermes who held the balance, and are left to conjecture why the Attic artists placed it in his hand.

After the middle of the fifth century there are no more Attic Psychostasiai, or at least none have reached us. On a vase contemporary with the Boston stamnos, the bell-krater by the Oreithyia Painter in Palermo,2 Thetis and Eos appeal to Zeus on behalf of their sons, but there is no balance; and in the great bronze group by an Attic sculptor, Lykios son of Myron, at Olympia, Ζεύς τε καὶ Θέτις τε καὶ Ἡμέρα τὸν Δία ὑπὲρ τῶν τέκνων ἱκετεύουσαι, with the two heroes fighting, and four other pairs of Greek and Trojan, if Zeus held a balance, Pausanias would perhaps have said so.

The picture on the Boston stamnos is conventional, a broad, symmetrical three-figure composition without finer quality. Hermes stands in the middle, with the right leg frontal, holding the balance with his right hand and his caduceus in his left, and looking round at Thetis who runs towards him with a gesture of pleasure, while Eos, on the other side of him, shows distress. In each scale there is a small figure of a naked warrior, helmeted, with spear and shield. The left scale is slightly lower than the other.

Hermes wears a chitoniskos, with kolpos, and a chlamys; his petasos is slung round his neck. The goddesses wear a chiton with kolpos, a himation shawl-wise, and a sort of saccos. Thetis has bracelets, Eos a flounce as well as a kolpos. A pair of stripes runs down the side of her chiton.

On the back of the stamnos, an old man, seen frontal, turns round towards his companions, a man and a youth. All three lean on their sticks, and look like a trio of spectators: but they cannot be connected with the picture on the front of the vase. The men wear formal costume — long chiton as well as himation — , the youth wears a himation only.

There is little relief-contour in either picture: for the faces and napes; the hands of Thetis, the right arm of Hermes and his petasos; the hands, left forearm, saccos of Eos; the beard and right hand of the old man on B. Brown for the minor details of Hermes' legs, and the sinew of the old man's neck; and, as usual in this painter, for several particulars that are commonly done in black: the outline of the kolpos in Hermes and Eos, the lower edge of the goddesses' chitons, their toes, and the old man's toes. Red for the wreath of Hermes, his petasos-cord; the balance except the beam; the manikins; the three wreaths on the reverse; and the inscriptions, ΗΟΠΑΙΣ ΚΑΛΟΣ; on each side of the vase. The painter had forgotten the ball of Eos' right thumb.

The style of drawing, slight as it is, has much of Makron; and to Makron I at first attributed it, as a very late work. Afterwards I saw that it was by a minor follower, the Syracuse Painter, whose personality had become clear.

In shape, the vase has a good deal in common with other stamnoi contemporary or nearly, for instance Leyden PC 88 by the Hephaisteion Painter, or Boston 00.342 by the Blenheim:3 but it is an individual model of great power: narrowish, compact body, the neck very short, the handles small and set high, the burly foot — an imprecise torus — projecting little, and not marked off from the body by a base-fillet but only by a slight groove. A pity that the vase sagged in firing. The vertical projections beside the handles are common in stamnoi (see ii p. 72; Boston 00.342).

The pattern below the pictures recurs on the painter's neck-amphora in Athens.4 The 'odd man' is under the right handle, to right of the goddess's foot. The space between the handle-roots, and round them, is reserved. The handle-palmettes, which have no relief-contour, are of the floating type.5


F. P. Franklin, AJA 60 (1956), p. 57; Brommer 1960, p. 261, no. B 3; Alscher 1963, p. 118, note 189; C. C. van Essen, BABesch 39 (1964), p. 127, note 14; E. Vermeule 1965, fig. 33; Zanker 1965, p. 35, note 148; Philippaki 1967, p. 59, pl. 64; Para., p. 382, no. 1; Brommer 1973, p. 352, no. B 4; C. Sourvinou-Inwood, JHS 94 (1974), p. 127, note 14; Moon 1979, p. 177, under no. 100 (A. Perkins); Vermeule 1979, p. 246, note 22; A. D. Trendall and I. McPhee, Art Bulletin of Victoria 21 (1980), p. 19, fig. 19; Fischer-Graf 1980, p. 20; LIMC, I, 1, pp. 173-174 (no. 800), 200, I, 2, pl. 135, illus. (A. Kossatz-Deissmann); Beazley Addenda 1, p. 124; CVA, Tübingen, 4, p. 44, under no. 67.5806 (E. Böhr); V. Brinkmann, BCH 109 (1985), p. 120; LIMC, III, 1, pp. 781 (no. 297), 785-786 (C. Weiss); Beazley Addenda 2, p. 253; Schefold & Jung 1989, pp. 250, 395, note 541; LIMC, V, 1, p. 338, no. 626 (G. Siebert).


1 On the Psychostasia: Studniczka in Jb. 26 pp. 132-5: Lung Memnon pp. 13-27; Wilamowitz-Moellendorf Glaube der Hellenen i pp. 271-2; Nilsson Zeus mit der Schicksalswaage; Wüst in ARV. 36 pp. 162-71; Ciotti in Arti figurative 12 pp. 15-16; Ricci in Annuario 24-26 pp. 47-54; Hölscher in Gnomon 27 pp. 392-3; Erika Simon Die Geburt der Aphrodite pp. 72-82; Schauenberg in Bonner Jahrbücher 161 pp. 227-8. The Aeschylean fragments: Mette Supplementum aeschyleum pp. 24-27.

2 Palermo V 779: Politi Vasi di premio illustrati pll. 7-8; CV. pll. 35-36 and pl. 37, 1-3: ARV.1 p. 325 no. 5; ARV.2 p. 496 no. 5.

3 Leyden: Jacobsthal O. pl. 94, a: ARV.1 p. 192; ARV.2 p. 298 no. 2. Boston: above, ii p. 72, no. 106 (Boston 00.342).

4 Athens 1335: ARV.1 p. 353 no. 11; ARV.2 p. 519 no. 17.

5 Jacobsthal O. pl. 101, a, with pp. 135 and 139.

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