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168. 95.24 BELL-KRATER from S. Maria di Capua SUPPL. PLATE 26

Height 0.4136 ; diameter 0.411 (with the handles, 0.423). Said to have been found in 1889. The shape, Caskey G. p. 129. A, sacrifice. B, youths and boy. Near the end of the fifth century, manner of the Chrysis Painter (VA. p. 84; ARV.1 p. 795 no. 2; ARV.2 p. 1159, iii, 2).

The foot is lipped; the side of the foot is black, except for the groove that produces the lip.

On the front of the vase, the figures are set at different levels on rocky ground. The low altar is formed of large unwrought stones, topped by a slab on which the firewood lies. The chief man raises his left hand a little and extends his right towards the small vessel held by a boy. On his other hand the boy holds the κανοῦν. On the left a second boy bends with his arms round the neck of a ram. On the right of the picture a youth sits on a low rock, looking towards the scene. His left arm is hidden in his himation, his right hand is on his knee. Above him, another youth stands frontal, looking round towards the middle of the picture and leaning over in the same direction with his right elbow on a rock, behind which his legs are concealed. His left arm is under his himation, akimbo, drawing it tight. The corresponding figure in the left upper part of the picture is a youth wearing a chlamys, with a petasos slung round his neck, and holding a caduceus: Hermes, or at least a herald. He looks round towards the middle and leans over with his left elbow on a rock, which again conceals the legs. All but the herald wear himatia. In the two youths on the right the himation covers the left shoulder; in the man it has slipped off the shoulder; the two boys have trussed it up round the waist. The man's hair falls thick over his neck. The others wear their hair short; but with ringlets in front of the ear, except the boy who holds the ram. All five are wreathed.

There is a sapling, perhaps a laurel, in the middle of the picture near the altar; farther off, another, and a third, partly hidden by a rock, on the other side.

The greater parts of the figures have relief-contour, but not the feet, nor all the drapery. There are some minor lines in brown on the bodies. Some of the upper eyelids are darkened with brown, and there is brown scumbling on the altar, the vessels, and the ram. Two short relief-lines wrinkle the man's forehead. The head-fillets, the petasos-cord, and the terrain-lines are white, the leaves in the hair reserved.

On B, a boy between two youths, one of whom leans on his stick with arm akimbo. No relief-contour. The edges of the himation are brown. Almost the same reverse as on many vases by the Kleophon Painter, by his follower the Dinos Painter, and by companions of the Dinos Painter, among whom the Chrysis Painter is one.

Under each handle, the usual palmettes, without relief-lines.

In its main lines, the composition of the three chief figures — the man, the boy with the vessels, the boy with the ram — is the same as in no. 167, and a very similar group is in the sacrifice of a ram on a later vase, the Oinomaos krater in Naples.1 In all three the acolyte holds the κανοῦν with his left hand and in his right the small vessel referred to above. This vessel occurs in other scenes of sacrifice, usually together with the κανοῦν:2

  • 1. Oxford, 1954, from Al Mina, fragment of a bell-krater. JHS. 59 p. 22, 56. The scene may have been the same as in the three vases just mentioned, or similar. The celebrant dips his fingers into the vessel.3 On the altar, firewood, rather than what is suggested in JHS. 59?
  • 2. Taranto, fragmentary calyx-krater, near the Pronomos Painter (ARV.1 p. 850 no. 2; ARV.2 p. 1337 no. 4). JHS. 70 p. 38 fig. 3.
  • 3. Vienna 1144, bell-krater, imitation of the Kadmos Painter (ARV.2 p. 1188). A, La Borde 1 pl. 23; A, Millingen PVG. pl. 51; A, Jb. 27 p. 265; A, JHS. 70 p. 36 fig. 2.
  • 4. Leningrad 43f, pelike by the Kiev Painter (ARV.1 p. 852, top, no. 1; ARV.2 p. 1346 no. 1). Schefold U. figs. 70-72; A, Jb. 52 p. 51; A, JHS. 70 p. 38 fig. 4.
  • 5. Leningrad 33a, fragment of a volute-krater, by the Painter of the New York Centauromachy (ARV.1 p. 870, top, no. 1; ARV.2 p. 1408 no. 1). Compte rendu 1876 pl. 5, 1, whence FR. iii p. 53; Hahland pl. 17, a; JHS. 70 p. 40.
  • 6. Louvre, Campanian bell-krater, Group of London F 500. Millingen PVG. pll. 12-13.
The vessel contains water, the χέρνιψ, and the person conducting the ceremony dips his fingers in it at the beginning of the proceedings.4 In Homer, the washing of the hands before libation and prayer is often described. Later writers refer to the sprinkling of the altar, of the victim, of the congregation, but there seems to be no unequivocal allusion to the washing of the principal person's hands. Naturally it took place, as in Homeric times; and it is represented on our vases. Needless to say that it was not a thorough ablution, but a token and symbol as in the Mass.

The acolyte on our vases holds the κανοῦν in one hand, the χέρνιψ in the other: and κανοῦν and χέρνιψ are mentioned together in several passages: in the preparations for the sacrifice of a sheep in Aristophanes' Peace, 421 B.C., nearly contemporary with the bell-krater no. 167; in Euripides' Herakles, of the same period; and in Demosthenes' oration against Androtion.5 Since the groats, ὀλαί, were carried in the κανοῦν, the coupling of χέρνιψ and κανοῦν corresponds to the Homeric coupling of χέρνιψ and οὐλόχυται.

The vessel containing the χέρνιψ is χερνιβεῖον or χερνίβιον, or, if the Homeric word was still in use, χέρνιβον.


Metzger 1965, p. 109, no. 11; E. De Miro, ArchCl 20 (1968), p. 244, note 16, pl. 86; Para., p. 458 (near the Chrysis Painter); H. Froning, 1971, Dithyrambos und Vasenmalerei in Athen (BA 2), Würzburg, Triltsch, p. 109, notes 328, 331; Schelp 1975, pp. 53, 90, no. K 98; B. A. Sparkes, JHS 95 (1975), p. 132, pl. 15c; Vermeule 1982, pp. 181, 228, 505, fig. 235; Blech 1982, p. 304, note 162; Beazley Addenda 1, p. 165; D. Rupp, 1983, in The Greek Renaissance of the 8th Century B.C.: Tradition and Innovation: Proceedings of the Second International Symposium at the Swedish Institute in Athens, 1-5 June, 1981, Robin Hägg ed., Stockholm, Svenska Institutet i Athen, pp. 102 (note 23), 105 (fig. 7b); Schmidt 1988, p. 12, no. 9 (J. Boardman); Beazley Addenda 2, p. 337; M. D. Stansbury-O'Donnell, AJA 94 (1990), p. 234.


1 Naples 2200: FR. pl. 146: ARV.1 p. 879, Oinomaos Painter no. 1; ARV.2 p. 1440 no. 1.

2 For the κανοῦν see iii p. 77 (Boston 95.25).

3 In JHS. 59 p. 23 I thought of the vessel as containing ὀλαί, but Miss Hooker properly objected (JHS. 70 p. 34) that the ὀλαί were carried in the κανοῦν. Aristophanes (Aristoph. Peace 948): τὸ κανοῦν πάρεστ᾽ ὀλὰς ἔχων καὶ στέμμα καὶ μάχαιραν. She supposed the vessel to contain incense, as Robert had already done in the case of the Oinomaos krater.

4 The passages with χέρνιψ, &c. are given in Stengel Opferbräuche der Griechen pp. 34-49. On the custom, Nilsson Geschichte der gr. Religion i p. 137.

5 Aristoph. Peace 938ff.. Eur. Her. 922 ff. (941: ἐκχεῖτε πηγάς, ῥίπτετ᾽ ἐκ χειρῶν κανᾶ). Dem. 22.78.

hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (4):
    • Aristophanes, Peace, 938ff
    • Aristophanes, Peace, 948
    • Demosthenes, Against Androtion, 78
    • Euripides, Heracles, 922
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