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Height 0.48, diameter 0.49. Iliupersis. About 470-460 B.C., by the Altamura Painter (ARV.2 p. 590 no. 11). Illustrated London News 10 Oct. 1959 pp. 398-9 (Vermeule); part of A, The Listener 19 Jan. 1961 p. 131. The Sack of Troy.

The figure-work runs right round the vase, and the theme is the Sack of Troy. There are twelve large figures, in four groups: one group on B, the three others on A and in the areas of the handles. On the front of the vase there is much overlapping — the thick of the conflict; on the back of the vase, the composition is more open — outskirts, escape. In the middle of A, two figures — Neoptolemos and Priam; on the right of A, and in the handle-area to right of it, two figures — a Greek warrior and a Trojan, in combat; on the left of A, and in the handle-zone to left of it, four figures — Ajax the Less and Cassandra; on B, four figures — Aeneas and Anchises.

I. Neoptolemos and Priam

Priam has fled to the altar of Zeus Herkeios in the courtyard of his palace. He sits on the altar, or rather staggers back on to it, supporting himself on the sceptre held in his left hand, and extending his right arm as if to ward off the attack. The lips are parted. Hair and beard are white — the white colour not perfectly preserved. He wears a chiton of thick wool, bordered, and fringed at the ankles; over it, a himation. The folds of the chiton are in brown lines, and brown the pattern on it. The figure of the young Neoptolemos dominates the picture: he strides forward, shield on left arm, right hand raised holding the child Astyanax by one leg. The motive is traditional in this scene, Astyanax used as a sort of weapon, the oldest and the youngest of the royal house brought together in destruction.1 Neoptolemos wears a chitoniskos, a corslet with metal enhancements, and a helmet of Attic type. The caul of the helmet has a lozenge pattern, the cheek-piece is black, the nasal plain, the frontlet moulded into the likeness of curls, the nape-piece ornamented (as in the other Attic helmets on this vase) with a black pellet. The lozenge-pattern indicates a cloth covering, glued to the metal, against the heat of the sun. The hair falls down behind in long ringlets, and another mass of ringlets escapes from under the cheek-piece. A left hand is drawn instead of a right hand, as not infrequently on vases.

The figures of Neoptolemos and Priam, to judge from Priam's gesture, should be farther apart, but the artist has pressed them together for his own purpose.

II. Combat

One warrior — a Greek — attacks with the spear, the other — a Trojan — gives ground but looks back and draws his sword. Both men are bearded. Both wear chitoniskos and leather corslet; the Greek has an Attic helmet, the Trojan's helmet is of the so-called 'Thracian type'2 The Greek bears a shield, with an apron attached to it. The Trojan has neither shield nor spear. His sword is the only sword on the vase.

III. Ajax and Cassandra

Cassandra, naked, with hair dishevelled, has fallen on her knees at the image of Athena and embraced it with both arms; Ajax grasps her left arm to drag her away. (Her right arm and hand are seen on the left, still clinging to the image.) Ajax has his shield on his left arm and his spear in his left hand. He wears a chitoniskos, a corslet which is specially like that of the Trojan warrior in the combat-group, and a helmet of Attic type. The caul of the helmet is ornamented with a tendril and a bud, the cheek-piece with a snake, the lower parts of the corslet shoulder-flaps with lions. The image of Athena, set on a low base, is seen from the front and is characterized as of very early style: the figure bolt upright, the feet close together, the two sides of the body almost exactly alike; the dress is a peplos, with a flounce forming a double thickness over the breast; fringe below, borders, mid-band, girdle tied quite loosely so that there is no waist. The hair is parted in the middle and plastered down towards the ears. The rendering of the close-fitting helmet is not borrowed from early statues, but from early representations of helmeted heads in front view: the crest drawn as if it had two ends and the helmet as if it had two neck-pieces. A transverse crest is of course possible, but not a double neck-piece. Shield on left arm, spear in the raised right hand.

In point of composition, a fourth figure belongs to the Cassandra group, although it has no special connexion with the subject. A young girl, a servant, moves away, past the image, looking round, her right hand grasping her hair in a gesture of alarm, a box in her left hand. The hair is bobbed; the costume is a chiton with flounce and kolpos. The box may contain jewellery: from the wreck she is trying to save something. Similar figures, as will be seen later, occur in other pictures of the Iliupersis.

IV. Aeneas and Anchises

The drawing on the back of the vase is much less detailed than on the front. Aeneas, stooping, moves forward, carrying Anchises. Anchises, with white hair and beard, grasps his stick and looks round. The wife of Aeneas follows, and a young warrior precedes. Both warriors wear chitoniskos, leather corslet, and Attic helmet. Aeneas has neither shield nor spear; the young man has both, the shield-device a serpent. Anchises wears a chiton and a himation. The fingers of his right hand are thrust under the himation at the chest. The woman wears a chiton, and a himation wrapped round her, covering both arms; ampyx, small hair-bag; ear-ring indicated by a black dot. The lower edge of the himation is in brown, and so are the lines of the hair-bag.

The scabbard of the Trojan in the combat group overlaps the female figure of the Aeneas group, and we must consider whether the two warriors whom we called the right-hand group on A may not really belong in subject to the group on B: the Trojan warrior being the rear-guard of Aeneas. I think this unlikely: in technique the combat group goes with those on the front of the vase: it is carried out fully, with relief-contours, whereas the drawing of the Aeneas group is in an altogether slighter manner, with little or no relief-contour. Moreover, other Iliupersis vases, as will be seen, have a combat group which is not the same as ours, but in some degree corresponds to it.

Two of the inscriptions make sense, ΑΙΑΣ, retr., on A, ΑΙΝΕΑ on B, but the others are meaningless; — ΛΟΝΙΟΛ above the head of Priam; ΣΟΤΝ to left of the woman on B; to right of her, ΑΟΛΔΛ, all the letters very rough and uncertain.3

The floral pattern above the picture, a design of red-figure palmettes lying on their sides, is often used in this place on the more elaborate calyx-kraters, not only by artists of the Altamura Painter's group but by others as well. Below the pictures, a band of stopt maeander, varied by pattern-squares that touch the lower bounding-line but not the upper: three cross-squares and a saltire-square on A, one cross-square on B.

The two fateful acts of sacrilege, the murder of Priam and the assault upon Cassandra, are coupled, or at least juxtaposed, on other vases besides ours: on a cup of about 500 B.C. in Athens, on the Vivenzio hydria by the Kleophrades Painter in Naples, on a volute-krater of about 400 B.C. in Ferrara, and, more obscurely, on the volute-krater by the Niobid Painter in Bologna; but most like our vase, in this respect, is a far earlier one, the black-figured amphora signed by Lydos, in the Louvre, where the picture on one side consists of two scenes: on the right, Neoptolemos, with Astyanax, and Priam; on the left, Ajax attacking Cassandra who clings to the image of Athena: the date should be before the middle of the sixth century.4

The story of Priam's death was related in the Iliupersis attributed to Arktinos. The representations have been studied by many writers.5

The certain examples begin in the first quarter of the sixth century with the pediment of the Temple of Artemis in Corcyra. As early as the second quarter, the deaths of Priam and Astyanax are combined, for example on the lekanis by the C Painter in Naples.6

The two Iliupersis vases that are nearest to ours are early works of the Niobid Painter, who was a younger colleague of the Altamura: a volute-krater in Bologna, a calyx-krater in Ferrara.7 On the Bologna vase, the group of Neoptolemos, Priam, and Astyanax has much in common with ours. The Cassandra incident is treated differently, but the image of Athena is very like ours. The figure of the young girl is also there, but attached to the Priam group instead of to the Cassandra, and carrying not a box but a pair of phialai and a small bag of holdall shape. There are also two warriors in combat, a Greek and a Trojan, but both fully armed, and arranged so as to confront each other, one on each side of the Priam group. The Ferrara vase is farther from ours than the Bologna, but the group of Neoptolemos and Priam is again similar, although there is no Astyanax. The young girl also appears, carrying a pair of phialai, and, on her head, a shallow basket — rather than a box (this part of the vase is damaged). The scene is flanked by two warriors in combat, as on the Bologna vase; and Aeneas carrying his father is one of the two other episodes depicted.

Two small fragments, from Locri, in Reggio, come from another fine Iliupersis vase, a calyx-krater by the Niobid Painter or from his immediate neighbourhood.8 On one fragment, the raised forearm, probably of a warrior attacking; and the upper half of a girl's head, in a saccos, to right; she was probably moving to right, and looking round, like the corresponding figures on the vases just described. On the other fragment, part of the floral band on the mouth of the vase, and, reaching into it, the top of a sceptre, Priam's sceptre.

A figure of a young girl fleeing completes the Cassandra scene on two later vases (third quarter of the fifth century), the neck-amphora from the Group of Polygnotos in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where she holds a box on her head, and the cup by the Marlay Painter in Ferrara, where she holds a box and a pyxis.9

The story of Ajax the Less — the wrong Ajax — and Cassandra was related, like that of Priam and Neoptolemos, in the Iliupersis attributed to Arktinos. The representations have been studied recently by Schefold, by Miss Davreux, by Kunze, and by Arias.10 Miss Davreux distinguished two types: that in which the figure of Athena represents the goddess herself, intervening to protect Cassandra; and that in which it represents not the goddess herself but her image. Arias follows Miss Davreux.11 Schefold, in his valuable essay on representations of statues, had not made the distinction in so many words, but he does state that in the early pictures of Ajax and Cassandra 'it is meaningless to ask whether the figure of Athena is intended to depict a statue or the goddess herself'.12 In spite of this warning I propose to ask the question and to answer it: the figure of Athena always depicts a statue. If Athena herself had attacked the son of Oileus that would have been the end of him at once: she preferred to bide her time. The artists were well aware of this.

The representations of Ajax and Cassandra begin in the first half of the sixth century,13 and the development may be summarized as follows. At first the figure of Athena stands bolt upright, holding shield and raised spear, but with the feet close together, not in a fighting attitude; and this attitude persists into early red-figure;14 but in Attic black-figure from the third quarter of the sixth century onwards, and in archaic Attic red-figure, it is usually replaced by the fighting, 'Promachos', 'Panathenaic' attitude with one leg set well forward. About 480, the Cleophrades Painter, on the Vivenzio hydria,15 characterizes the figure as an old-fashioned image: it stands on a base; one foot is but slightly advanced; the drapery is foldless; and the face has an archaic rigour and an archaic smile. The next step is taken in the early classic period: the Altamura Painter and others continue this characterization in a different form: stressing it by turning the figure towards the spectator, in front view. The contrast between the mortals in strong action and the frontal statue, hieratic and frozen, remains a favourite motive in the fourth century. In the third quarter of the fifth century and later, the goddess herself is sometimes shown as well as her image: first on the neck-amphora from the Group of Polygnotos in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.16

In the earlier representations, Cassandra is naked; and in the later she is sometimes fully dressed but more often naked or scantily clad. Two explanations of this nudity have been given: Furtwängler's, that the significance is 'erotic'; and Robert's, that this is the 'ritual nudity of a prophetess'. Furtwängler's explanation is certainly to be preferred: the intention of Ajax was to ravish: which by no means implies that in the epic or to the artist he was able to carry out his intention.17

In the early representations, and even as late as the Cerberus Painter, the figure of Cassandra is very small. By this the artist wishes to indicate that the statue of Athena is very large.18 He uses two scales: one for the image and Cassandra, the other for Ajax. Similarly, even at the very end of the archaic period, the Foundry Painter, on his name-piece in Berlin, uses two scales: one for the colossal statue and the two workmen who are giving it the final touches; the other for the two men in authority who are looking on.19

The Cassandra of our vase is a big woman, stark, and by archaic standards lanky: a contrast to the taut Cassandra of the Kleophrades Painter, and sister to the Amazon of the Penthesilea Painter on his contemporary name-piece in Munich (Munich 2688).

Aeneas carrying his father is quite a popular subject with Attic black-figure vase-painters from the third quarter of the sixth century onwards, but the red-figure examples are few, and ours is one of the latest;20 hardly later, if at all, is the Aeneas and Anchises, ill preserved, on a calyx-krater, already mentioned, by the Niobid Painter, a younger companion of the Altamura.21 The archaic pictures culminate, for us, on the Vivenzio hydria, where the group, like all on that vase, is original and masterly. The white lekythos by the Brygos Painter in Gela, contemporary with the Vivenzio hydria, has Aeneas and Anchises, but Aeneas leads his father instead of carrying or hoisting him.22

In some pictures of Aeneas and Anchises, it might be questioned whether the woman accompanying the pair was the wife of the hero, or Aphrodite: here there can be no doubt.23

The Altamura Painter is not a subtle artist, but in his best works, of which this is one, he achieves a certain grandeur.

MFA, Annual Report, 1959, pp. 9-10, 22 (illus.), 27; A. Boëthius, in A. Boëthius, et al., 1960, San Giovenale: Etruskerna landet och folket, Malmö: Allhems Förlag, pp. 52 (fig. 35), 80; K. Schauenburg, Gymnasium 67, 3 (1960), pp. 181-182; Brommer 1960, pp. 274 (no. B 5), 283 (no. B 14), 286 (no. B 9), 332 (no. B 13); Palmer 1962, pp. 95-96, fig. 83; E. T. Vermeule, AJA 67 (1963, pp. 218-219; Chase & Vermeule 1963, pp. 92-93, 96, 111, figs. 91-92; Scherer 1963, p. 123, pl. 100; A. Greifenhagen, 1963, 118 BWPr, pp. 10, 28, note 12; MFA, Illustrated Handbook, 1964, pp. 64-65, illus.; K. Schauenburg, RM 71 (1964), pp. 62-63 (as 59.176), pl. 5; E. Vermeule 1965, figs. 39, 41; A. Alföldi, 1965, Early Rome and the Latins, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, p. 283, pl. 23; Schefold 1967a, pp. 224-225 (as 59.176), pl. 218; Schefold 1967b, pp. 21, 58, 63, 67, 246, Appendix pls. 13, 15; W. Fuchs, AJA 72 (1968), p. 384; Schettino Nobile 1969, pp. 52-53; P. T. Rathbone, Apollo (Magazine), Jan. 1970, p. 57, fig. 3; Whitehill 1970, pp. 663-664, illus.; Para., p. 394, no. 11 (as 59.176); The Rathbone Years: Masterpieces acquired for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1955-1972 and for the St. Louis Art Museum, 1940-1955, Boston (1972), p. 38, no. 23, color illus.; Isler & Seiterle 1973, p. 104, note 63 (M. Schmidt); Brommer 1973, pp. 333 (no. B 7), 389 (no. B 5), 394 (no. B 9), 467 (no. B 15), all listed as 59.176, and p. 384, no. B 14 (as 59.17 b); W. Fuchs, 1973, in Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt, I, 4, New York, De Gruyter, pp. 617 (note 8), 619-620, fig. 3; M. True, C. Vermeule, BMFA 72 (1974), p. 120, under no. 2, fig. 2a; MFA, Illustrated Handbook, 1976, pp. 96-97, illus.; K. Schefold, AntK 19 (1976), p. 75; K. Schauenburg, Rivista di Archeologia 1 (1977), p. 18, note 25; C. Vermeule, 1980, Greek Art: Socrates to Sulla, from the Peloponnesian Wars to the rise of Julius Caesar, Boston, Dept. of Classical Art, Museum of Fine Arts, p. 4, note; M. Reho-Bumbalova, BABesch 56 (1981), p. 153; LIMC, I, 1, pp. 344 (no. 60), 350-351, I, 2, pl. 263, illus. (O. Touchefeu); LIMC, I, 1, p. 388, no. 90 (F. Canciani); M. I. Davies, in ibid., p. 814, no. 17 (all entries as 59.176); Beazley Addenda 1, p. 129 (as 59.176); LIMC, II, 1, p. 967, no. 87 (as 59.176) (P. Demargne); LIMC, II, 1, pp. 933 (no. 24), 936-937, II, 2, pl. 685, illus. (O. Touchefeu); Brijder 1984, pp. 258-259, figs. 5-6 (as 59.176) (E. C. Keuls); H. Rühfel, 1984, Das Kind in der griechischen Kunst: von der minoisch-mykenischen Zeit bis zum Hellenismus, Mainz am Rhein: P. von Zabern, pp. 56-58, fig. 22; Keuls 1985, pp. 400-401 (figs. 338-339), 442 (as 59.176); E. Brümmer, JdI 100 (1985), pp. 34 (note 187, as 59.176), 82 (note 354); W. Schürmann, 1985, Typologie und Bedeutung der Stadtrömischen Minerva-Kultbilder, Roma: G. Bretschneider, pp. 21, 112, notes 419, 423 (both as 59.176); S. B. Matheson, in Greek Vases in The J. Paul Getty Museum, 3 (1986), p. 105 (as 59.176); Enthousiasmos 1986, p. 138, note 24 (L. Byvanck-Quarles van Ufford); E. Jarva, ActaArch 57 (1986), p. 24, no. 83 (as 59.176); Christiansen & Melander 1987, pp. 120-121, fig. 2 (H. Cassimatis); Schefold & Jung 1989, pp. 288-289, 397, note 631 (as 59.176); Beazley Addenda 2, p. 264; E. D. Serbeti, Boreas 12 (1989), p. 32, note 87 (as 59.176); Frank 1990, pp. 195 (no. 82 as 59.176), 197, 202-203, 205-206, 221, 229.

1 Robert Heldensage p. 1263; Kunze in G.G.A. 199 pp. 296-7.

2 Jahrbuch 27 pp. 317-44 (Bruno Schröder).

3 Miss Palmer and Miss Chapman have kindly checked my readings of the inscriptions.

4 Athens, Acr. 212 (Langlotz pl. 10; with new fragments, Hesp. 5 p. 257). Naples 2422 (FR. pl. 34, whence Pfuhl fig. 378 and Kleophrades-Maler pl. 27: ARV.1 p. 126 no. 66; ARV.2 p. 189 no. 74). Ferrara T. 136A VP (Riv. Ist. N.S. 4 pp. 96-97, p. 98, fig. 5, pp. 99-102, p. 103 fig. 11, p. 108 fig. 16, pp. 117-23, pp. 129-33). Bologna 268 (Mon. 11 pll. 14-15; Webster Niobiden-Maler pl. 6; detail, Riv. Ist. N.S. 4 p. 111 fig. 17: ARV.1 p. 418 no. 1; ARV.2 pp. 598-9 no. 1). Louvre F 29 (CV. III He pl. 125; Rev. arch. 1957, ii p. 27: ABV. p. 109 no. 21).

5 Robert Heldensage pp. 1259-63; Hampe Fruehe griechische Sagenbilder pp. 71 and 82-85; Kunze in G.G.A. 199 pp. 296-7 and Archaische Schildbänder pp. 157-9; Wiencke in AJA. 1954 pp. 285-306; Arias in Riv. Ist. N.S. 4 pp. 102-8 and 162-5. Arias's no. 10 (op. cit., pp. 107 and 165) is the Louvre Makron cup published in Bull. Vereen. 29 pp. 12-15 and does not represent the Death of Priam. The subject of a bell-krater fragment in the Agora Museum (Athens, Agora P 18849: Hesp. 20. pl. 80, 2) is shown by the contemporary volute-krater in Ferrara, Ferrara T. 136A VP (Riv. Ist. N.S. 4 pp. 101-2), to be the Death of Priam.

On representations of the death of Astyanax, not combined with that of Priam, see Kunze Archaische Schildbänder pp. 159-61 and Eva Brann in Antike Kunst 2 pp. 35-37. Miss Brann has shown that it may be figured on a very late geometric fragment (loc. cit. pl. 17, 1); the analogy of the lekanis in Naples (see footnote 3) makes one think that the figures on the right may be Hecuba and Priam.

6 RM. 27 pll. 5-6; ML. 22 pl. 57: ABV. p. 58 no. 119.

7 Bologna 268 (see footnote 1); Ferrara, Ferrara T. 936 (A, Aurigemma.1 p. 177 = 2 p. 235; A, Alfieri and Arias Spina pll. 37-39); see also iii p. 65 footnote 4 (in vase description for Boston 59.178).

8 ARV.2 p. 609 no. 6 bis.

9 Corpus Christi College, see footnote 8; Ferrara, Ferrara T. 264 (Riv. Ist. N.S. 4 p. 112 fig. 19; Aurigemma N.S. i pl. 202, a and pll. 203-4; ARV.2 p. 1280 no. 64). In the picture of Menelaos pursuing Helen, at the fall of Troy, on a hydria in the Torlonia collection (Noël Des Vergers pl. 39, whence Ghali-Kahil Hélène pl. 57, 2) a girl carries not a basket, but a holdall: for this object see ii p. 79 (Boston 33.56), and that carried by an old slave-woman on the Locrian relief in Reggio published by Mrs. Zancari Montuoro (Arch. Classica 12 pl. 8, 1). Hard to explain, the figure of a woman fleeing, box in hand, on the tripod-pyxis by Douris in Mannheim (CV. pl. 26, 124): at first glance one thinks of Menelaos and Helen, but this can hardly be Helen, or the warrior Menelaos.

10 Schefold in Jahrbuch 52 pp. 41-45; Davreux La Légende de la prophétesse Cassandre (many useful illustrations; peculiar dates, &c.); Kunze Archaische Schildbänder pp. 161-3; Arias in Riv Ist. N.S. 4 pp. 109-14 and 166-9 (the references to ABV. on pp. 166-7 should be checked by the subject-index to ABV.) Kunze's brief exposition of the earlier figurations is admirable. There is a spirited picture of the subject on an Etruscan amphora of the Praxias Group in the British Museum.

11 Davreux pp. 139-51. Arias loc. cit. p. 113.

12 Jb. 52 p. 41. He also states (ibid. p. 41) that 'the red-figure painters are the first to see the Palladion to which Cassandra flees, consciously as a statue'. I cannot believe that the artists of the shield-band reliefs (Kunze Archaische Schildbänder pl. 7, pl. 18, pl. 56), or of the Attic cup London B 379 (JHS. 5 pl. 42; CV. III Hg pl. 82; Davreux pl. 24 fig. 44: ABV. p. 60 no. 20, manner of the C Painter) were unaware that they were representing statues.

13 In the second half of the seventh century according to Arias (loc. cit. p. 113), but I do not know to which objects he refers.

14 Plate by the Cerberus Painter, Yale 169 (V.A. p. 13; Baur pl. 15).

15 See iii p. 63 footnote 1 (in vase description for Boston 59.178).

16 Fröhner Coll. B [arre] pl. 6 no. 330, whence Riv. Ist. N.S. 4 p. 111 fig. 18: ARV.1 p. 700 no. 82; ARV.2 p. 1058 no. 114.

17 Kunze Archaische Schildbänder p. 162.

18 For other explanations, incorrect to my mind, see Davreux pp. 142-3.

19 Berlin 2294: FR. pl. 135; CV. pll. 72-3, pl. 76, 4, pl. 126, 5; ARV.1 p. 263 no. 1; ARV.2 pp. 400-1 no. 1.

20 A full list of representations is given by Schauenburg in Gymnasium 67, 176-91. Add the earliest, on a fragment of an amphora by Exekias, from Locri, in Reggio.

21 Ferrara T. 936: see iii p. 63 footnote 4 (in vase description for Boston 59.178); the Anchises group (restored in the illustration), Spinazzola Pompei i p. 155 fig. 191; (without restoration) Gymnasium 67 pl. 17, 1.

22 Vivenzio hydria: see iii p. 63 footnote 1 (in vase description for Boston 59.178). The Gela lekythos, Benndorf pl. 46, 1: ARV.2 p. 385 no. 223. The other rf. examples: cup in the Vatican (Mus. Greg. ii pl. 85, 2; Gymnasium 67 pl. 17, 2: ARV.1 p. 31, middle); cup-fragments in Florence, see CF. p. 19 on pl. 12, B 1-2.

23 Another vase where the woman is certainly the wife of Aeneas is the Etruscan amphora of the Praxias Group in Munich (Munich 3185: Gerhard pl. 217: Jb. 43 p. 345 fig. 13-14: EVP. p. 195 no. 3).

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