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152. 98.932 KANTHAROS from Greece PLATE LXXXV, 1-2

Height 0.262, width 0.277. Pollak Zwei Vasen aus der Werkstatt Hierons pll. 4-5 and p. 28, whence Hoppin ii p. 51; the shape, Caskey G. p. 164, and above, i p. 15 fig. 13. Gigantomachy: A, Poseidon and a Giant; B, Dionysos and a Giant. About 470-460 B.C., by the Amymone Painter (VA. p. 109; Att. V. p. 319 no. 4; ARV.1 p. 550 no. 1; ARV.2 p. 832, no. 36: now renamed the Amphitrite Painter, for the reason explained above, ii pp. 92-93 (Boston 34.79).

The signature of the potter, in red, runs round the upper side of the foot, ΙΕΡΟΝΜΕΔΟΝΤΟΣΕΠΟΙ[Ε]. A strange place for a signature, but I cannot say that it is not genuine, and Mr. W. J. Young, who has examined it, reports in its favour. The name of Hieron's father is not given elsewhere.

Much of the cul is modern, also the upper part of one handle, and the spur of the other; both struts are modern, but the stumps must be ancient.

The type of kantharos is what Caskey has named 'A2' (i pp. 16-17): it has bridges or struts, and spurs or thumb-rests; and the stem consists of two concave members meeting in a ridge. Struts appear before this in the Vlasto kantharos by Douris, one of his earliest works, but it has no spurs.1 None of the Attic black-figured kantharoi have struts, or none with struts have been preserved: but struts appear in some Boeotian kantharoi of the second quarter of the sixth century, and spurs in others: a kantharos in Copenhagen, Boeotian rather than Attic, although very close to Attic,2 has both struts and spurs. There are a few Attic kantharoi of Type A2 later than ours. In these the ridge midway down the stem is usually replaced by a fillet, and there is sometimes another fillet at the top of the stem. The Odysseus kantharos in London3 has the top-fillet, but retains the ridge at mid-stem. No two of these kantharoi are exactly alike in shape, and ours is a special model: close to it, however, is the Ixion kantharos in London, which was decorated by the same artist as ours, the Amphitrite Painter.4 There also the vase has an offset lip, which is rare in kantharoi; and the foot-plate is the same, a fairly thick torus with black profile and with a deep nick, reserved, on the topside near the edge: but the ridge at mid-stem is replaced by a fillet, and there is another fillet at the top of the stem; the lip is not black, but ornamented with egg-pattern; and the ledge below the figures is rounded off into the cul and painted black. A third kantharos decorated by the Amphitrite Painter, in Munich, is smaller and of a different type.5

On A, Poseidon attacks the giant Polybotes, who, wounded in the right side, turns tail and falls on one knee, but looks round and tries to strike back with his sword. Both are 'infibulated', and naked, but Poseidon has a small wrap over his left arm. On the left arm he supports a mass of rock which represents the island of Nisyros, and the trident is in his right hand. His long hair is wreathed. The lower ends of it, with part of the collarbone, have disappeared in a fracture which passes through his beard and nose. The giant's hair escapes from below his Attic helmet in long strands. The edge of his shield rests on the ground, leaving his body exposed. The lips are parted. The right arm, as is shown by the incised sketch, was originally intended to be much farther forward.

On B, Dionysos attacks in almost the same attitude as Poseidon: he uses the butt of his thyrsus and darts a snake at the face of the giant, who shields himself and still grasps his sword, but turns and falls. Dionysos wears a short chiton of thickish material, with an apoptygma (rather than a flounce). His mane of hair is wreathed with ivy. The giant wears chitoniskos, leather corslet, and Attic helmet, from which long locks of hair pour over his shoulders.

Relief-contours. Brown for the minor markings on the bodies, more plentiful on A than on B, and for the ancient, but very modern-looking, dabs which render the patterns on the chiton of Dionysos. The pupils are black, the corneae brown, rimmed with a relief-line. Red for the blood.

There is nothing remarkable in the groups. Dionysos often uses a serpent for a weapon in the Gigantomachy, and Poseidon often holds the island of Nisyros (which he snapped off with his trident from the island of Cos), ready to bring it down on his opponent. Pollak noticed that there was a certain resemblance between the Dionysos and Giant on our vase and on a contemporary cup-skyphos in the Bibliothèque Royale, Brussels, tentatively ascribed to the Painter of Bologna 228.6

The opponent of Poseidon is regularly named Polybotes; on the opponent of Dionysos see above, ii p. 70 (Boston 00.342); and, on the whole theme, Vian Répertoire des Gigantomachies and La Guerre des Géants.


G. M. A. Richter, AJA 21 (1917), pp. 1 (note 4), 2 (note 5); Reinach 1924, I, pp. 307 (fig. 175), 309-310; EAA, I, p. 336 (E. Paribeni); ARV2, pp. 482 (no. 34), 832 (no. 36); B. A. Sparkes, JHS 87 (1967), p. 121, note 31; Follmann 1968, p. 43; Cambitoglou 1968, p. 26, note 117; Para., p. 422, no. 36; K. Schefold, AntK 19 (1976), p. 76; Lezzi-Hafter 1976, p. 18, note 95a; Kurtz & Sparkes 1982, p. 45 (D. von Bothmer); T. Rasmussen, AntK 28 (1985), p. 34, note 13; LIMC, III, 1, pp. 475 (no. 619), 506 (C. Gasparri and A. Veneri); LIMC, IV, 1, p. 231, no. 332 (F. Vian and M. B. Moore); Arafat 1990, pp. 25-26, 185, no. 1.56.


1 ARV.1 p. 292 no. 196; ARV.2 p. 445 no. 255.

2 CV. pl. 98, 4. Boeotian shape, but the style of the drawing barely distinguishable from Attic: by an Attic immigrant shortly after his arrival?

3 London E 156: CV. pl. 34, 1: the drawing recalls the Marlay Painter (ARV.2 p. 1281).

4 London E 155: FR. pl. 163, 2; CV. pl. 33, 2 and pl. 35, 2: ARV.1 p. 550 no. 21; ARV.2 p. 832 no. 37.

5 Munich 2560: A, Lau pl. 34, 3, whence (the shape) above, i p. 17 fig. 16; CV. pl. 93, 1-2: ARV.1 p. 550 no. 3; ARV.2 p. 832 no. 38.

6 Fröhner Vases du Prince Napoléon pl. 5 = Fröhner Musées de France pl. 6; Feytmans Les Vases grecs de la Bibliothèque Royale pll. 25-38. ARV.1 p. 337, middle; ARV.2 pp. 513-14.

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