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154. 98.931 CUP from Eastern Etruria PLATE LXXXVIII

Diameter 0.33, height 0.115. Pollak Zwei vasen aus der Werkstatt Hierons pll. 1-3, whence Hoppin ii p. 49 and Arch. class. 4 pl. 36, 2 and pl. 37, 1-2 (Becatti), (A) Roscher s.v. Telephos p. 303 fig. 13 (Johannes Schmidt), (A) Pfuhl fig. 447; part of A, AJA. 1954 pl. 62 fig. 30. I, Telephos and Teuthras? A-B, Telephos in the house of Agamemnon. About 470-460 B.C., by the Telephos Painter (VA. p. 108 no. 2; Att. V. p. 225 no. 2; ARV.1 p. 542 no. 2; ARV.2 no. 2).

The cup is of Type B. The potter-work is by Hieron, whose signature is incised on one handle, ΗΙΕΡΟΝΕΠΟΙΕΣΕΝ. The foot belongs.

The cup was admirably published by Ludwig Pollak in 1900 (Zwei vasen aus der Werkstatt Hierons pp. 1-27). He also saw that the pictures were by the same hand as in the Eos cup (no. 155). Nearly all the vases with the signature of the potter Hieron were decorated by Makron, but two of the three latest are by a follower with a most distinctive style, whom, after this cup, we call the Telephos Painter. Brief characterizations of him are given in VA. pp. 107-8 and in V. Pol. pp. 38-39.

The story of Telephos was told in the Cypria, and later in plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, whose versions differed greatly, as is natural, in all but the main lines. The core of the story was this. The Greeks under Agamemnon, not knowing where Troy really was, landed by mistake in Mysia and proceeded to the attack. Telephos, the king, gave battle and beat them off, so that they were forced to return to Greece; but he himself was wounded by Achilles. The wound would not close and Telephos, consulting an oracle, was told that 'the wounder would heal', τρώσας ἰάσεται. He therefore set out to find Achilles. Reaching Argos, he obtained admission to the palace of Agamemnon, where the Greek chiefs were gathered, but his identity was discovered and he had to flee for refuge to the altar in the courtyard. Thanks, it may be, to the seer Kalchas, to whom it was revealed that without the guidance of Telephos Troy could not be taken, his life was spared and Achilles agreed to heal the wound. This proved to be beyond his skill, until Odysseus perceived that by τρώσας, the wounder, the oracle meant not Achilles but Achilles' spear. The rust was therefore scraped off the spear-head and applied to the wound, which healed. Telephos, in return, guided the Greeks to Troy. Probably the Greeks had learned, from oracle or prophet, that only a Greek could guide them; and Telephos had meanwhile turned out to be not a Mysian, but a Greek, son of Herakles. These are the outlines of the story: just how much was in the Cypria we cannot be sure.

We now turn to the picture outside our cup.

The scene is laid in the palace of Agamemnon: there are five figures in each half, and the composition is so arranged that each of the principal persons, Telephos and Agamemnon, is in the middle of one half. Agamemnon remains seated, but the other Greek heroes rush towards the intruder, and the foremost of them draws his sword, but is held back by a companion. Telephos, sitting on the altar, instead of facing his assailant turns round to an old man who hastens forward, extending an arm towards Telephos' shoulder, and calling out, surely, something so important that it takes the suppliant's attention from the immediate danger. The old man should be, as Pollak conjectures, Kalchas: who knows something, and has something to say. The hero drawing his sword, and his companion, must be Achilles and Patroklos: they were foremost, as Pindar tells us (Pind. O. 9.80), in the earlier part of the story, at the battle of the Kaikos in Mysia, and are naturally foremost here too. Pollak takes the impetuous hero who draws his sword to be Patroklos, but it is more probably Achilles, and Patroklos he who holds him back.

The painter has provided an architectural setting. On the left of A, the door of the palace is seen; one of the two door-panels is open and not shown; the other remains closed, and is shown together with meeting-stile and nail-studded rails. The upper of the two steps below it will be the threshold. The porch in front of the door is indicated by a slender Aeolic column, doubtless of wood, standing on a base: this may be either the column between the antae, or one of them; or rather, perhaps, one column of a prostyle porch. Compare the later and more detailed view of the porch and door on the onos by the Eretria Painter in Athens.1

Our column supports a thin entablature on which reglets are seen (or reglets with the lower parts of triglyphs?), and, between them, dots which make one think, though perhaps wrongly, of nail-heads or nail-holes. Above this epistyle one sees another architectural member which runs the whole length of A and is continued on B. This too is an entablature, with reglets (or reglets plus parts of triglyphs) and dots. At the right-hand corner of A it is seen to be supported by a column like the first, but having a plain abacus between it and the epistyle. On B there are two such columns: one, at the left edge of B, has the abacus; in the other, near the right edge, the part is lost. This structure is no doubt a cloister surrounding the courtyard in the middle of which the altar of Zeus Herkeios is set. The relation between cloister and door in the picture is not actual: the artist has juxtaposed the two.

There may be a further element of fancy in the architecture, but I am not prepared to assert it.

For the rendering of the reglets, compare the interior of our painter's cup in Toronto;2 for the capitals, one from Eresos published by Kondis.3 It will be noticed that on B the figures are drawn on the hither side of the architecture, while on A the architecture is on the hither side of the figures.

On the left of A, behind Kalchas, a hero with a spear rushes out of the door into the courtyard. He is followed by two others, shown on B, one of them with a drawn sword, the other with a spear. Similarly, Achilles and Patroklos are followed, on B, by two heroes with spears. The second of them, a man, turns his head towards the seated Agamemnon, who is evidently saying to him, 'Go and see just what is the matter.' This must be Odysseus; and if we are to find a name for the hero in front of him, it will be Diomed. The other three heroes — on the left of A, and on the right of B — can hardly be named.

We pass to details. The altar is like those on nos. 155 and 157, and on the painter's cups in Munich and Goettingen.4 The oculi of the volutes are indicated both in the altar and in the right-hand column on A. Telephos has been carrying a pair of javelins, and they still rest against his body. The artist has given him two right hands by mistake. His left thigh is bandaged, and there is blood on the bandage. He wears a chlamys, sandals, stockings, and a sheepskin hat of the sort that was often worn in Greece by peasants, workmen, hunters, and light-armed troops (see ii pp. 48-49 and 98; Boston 10.185 and Boston 01.8085).5

Kalchas wears a long chiton as well as a himation, and moves with the help of a stick. Patroklos wears a chitoniskos (with kolpos), and a cloak shawlwise. Achilles, Odysseus, and Agamemnon wear a chitoniskos under the himation; Agamemnon has let his himation down to his waist. He holds a stick, sceptre, or spear, probably a spear — the top is missing. The other Greeks wear a himation only. Achilles has a headband of some kind; Agamemnon's head is bound with a broadish fillet. Patroklos and Odysseus wear piloi.

Relief-contours. No brown inner maskings on the bodies, or none to be seen now. Brown for Telephos' stockings, Kalchas's hair, the hilt of Achilles' sword and the unwhetted part of the blade. Red for the blood, the daubs on the altar, the sandals of Telephos, the loops of his javelins, the baldrick of Achilles, the pilos-cords.

Our picture, as Pollak observed, differs radically from all later representations of the episode. There Telephos has seized the infant Orestes and holds him as a hostage: this is the version used by Euripides in his Telephos, produced in 438 B.C.: but that it is older than Euripides is shown by a pelike in the British Museum which cannot be later than the middle of the fifth century,6 and a scholiast to Aristophanes (Aristoph. Ach. 331) actually states that Aeschylus used the motive in his treatment of the legend. The Boston cup, as Pollak showed, follows the original version of the legend, as given in the Cypria, a version which did not contain the motive of the child-hostage.7

The picture inside the cup is also unique. A building is denoted by entablature, abacus, slender Aeolic column with base — in the same manner, then, as outside. Working on a larger scale, the artist has put a little more detail into the drawing of the column — the tie between the volutes, and a bud above them. The column divides the round into halves. On the right, a man sits on a rock in a dejected attitude, his feet together, his head bent, one hand covering his face. He wears travelling costume, chitoniskos, chlamys, petasos, but is unarmed. Another man stands facing him, with bent head, looking down at him. He is dressed like the first, but has a pilos instead of a petasos; and he is armed, holds a pair of spears against his shoulder. Both have one arm akimbo. The attitudes are expressive, and there is feeling in the picture. According to Pollak's suggestion, made tentatively, it is connected with the scene outside the cup: the men are Telephos and Teuthras.

Telephos, though king of Mysia, was son of Herakles: whether already in the Cypria is uncertain, but already in the Hesiodic Ehoiai (Pap. Oxyrh. 1359 fr. 1; Evelyn White p. 606). How he came to be in Mysia was explained in various ways: in the Mysoi of Aeschylus it is clear that he had committed murder at home in Tegea and must flee the country; on consulting the oracle he was told to go to Mysia, where king Teuthras would purify him; and until he had been purified (according to the Greek rule, Aesch. Eum. 452) he must speak no word. Teuthras, in our picture, returning from the chase or from a journey — and so dressed as a traveller, not as a king at home — , finds Telephos in his house, perceives, from his attitude and his silence, what is amiss, pities him, performs the rite of cleansing, and in the end adopts him as his son and successor.

This interpretation, which is Pollak's, is not certain: but it fits the unusual attitudes and the unusual atmosphere, and may well be right.

There is another interpretation, however, which has long been in my mind and is possibly worth mention: Theseus and Perithoos.8 The building, the house of Hades: Theseus, freed by Herakles, will return to the light; Perithoos must stay.

Relief-contours. Brown for the minor markings on the bodies. Red for the loops of the spears. This variety of maeander is a favourite with the painter; and several of his cups combine it with this particular form of saltire-square, for example, those in Leningrad, Tarquinia, Budapest.9

According to Pollak the brown flecks on the rock-seat are vegetation (p. 20) — moss, then, or the like, which is quite possible. If the scene is in Hades, one thinks of dried blood, and of the Ἀχερόντιος σκόπελος αἱματοσταγής in the Frogs (Aristoph. Frogs 471): but this is not to be pressed.

Lastly, Pollak says that one cannot tell whether the seated man was bearded or not: enough remains to show that he was bearded.


F. Studniczka, JdI 26 (1911), p. 175; G. M. A. Richter, AJA 21 (1917), p. 1, note 4; Reinach 1924, I, pp. 309-310; Metzger 1951, p. 288; Brommer 1960, p. 334, no. B 2; A. Ciasca, 1962, Il Capitello detto Eolico in Etruria, Florence, Sansoni, p. 23, note 2; R. Blätter, AntK 7 (1964), p. 49; W. Hahland, JdI 79 (1964), p. 230, note 174; P. Oliver-Smith, in L. F. Sandler, ed., 1964, Essays in Memory of Karl Lehmann, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; distributed by J. J. Augustin, Locust Valley, N.Y., p. 238, fig. 10; E. Vermeule 1965, fig. 12; EAA, VII, p. 673, fig. 791 (E. Paribeni); Webster 1967, p. 145; Schettino Nobile 1969, pp. 6, 11 (note 21), 20 (note 46), 23-24 (no. 21), 29, 39-41, 43, 45, 47, 53, 55, 60-61, 79, pls. 27-28, figs. 45-47; Chapman Tribute, illus.; Para., p. 420, no. 2; Bauchhenss-Thüriedl 1971, pp. 18-25, 87, nos. 48, 51; K. Schauenburg, RM 79 (1972), p. 5, note 24; J. Gould, JHS 93 (1973), p. 102; C. C. Vermeule, BurlMag 115 (1973), p. 122, note 36; E. R. Knauer, 1973, 125 BWPr, p. 21, note 2; Brommer 1973, pp. 471 (no. B 2), 538 (under B 1); Boardman 1975, pp. 195, 206 (fig. 378), 231, 248; Betancourt 1977, p. 150; E. B. Dusenbery, Hesperia 47 (1978), p. 236, note 88; M.-A. Zagdoun, RA 1978, p. 126; Childs 1978, p. 90; J. H. Oakley, AJA 86 (1982), p. 114, note 16; Beschi 1982, p. 382 (M. Paoletti); Kurtz & Sparkes 1982, p. 45 (D. von Bothmer); Beazley Addenda 1, p. 143; K. Schauenburg, RM 90 (1983), p. 347; H. R. Immerwahr, AJA 88 (1984), p. 343, note 14; Prag 1985, p. 126, note 1; M. Meyer, JdI 103 (1988), pp. 95 (note 44), 96 (notes 45, 48); Schefold & Jung 1988, pp. 214-215 (figs. 264-265), 372; CVA, Amsterdam, Allard Pierson Museum, 1, p. 72, under no. 2239 (J. M. Hemelrijk); Beazley 1989, p. 97; Beazley Addenda 2, p. 292; E. C. Keuls, in J.-P. Descoeudres, ed., 1990, Eumousia: Ceramic and Iconographic Studies in Honour of Alexander Cambitoglou, Sydney, Meditarch, p. 89.


1 Athens 1629: Eph. 1897 pll. 9-10, whence Pfuhl fig. 561; Dugas Aison fig. 14: ARV.1 p. 726, no. 27; ARV.2 pp. 1250-1 no. 34.

2 Toronto 354: Robinson and Harcum pl. 57: ARV.1 p. 543 no. 15; ARV.2 p. 818 no. 20.

3 Annuario 24-26 pp. 26-27.

4 Munich 2669: Gerhard AV. pl. 288-9, 9-12; Greifenhagen Eroten pp. 54-57: ARV.1 p. 543 no. 16; ARV 2. no. 26. Göttingen J. 33: Jacobsthal Gött. V. pl. 10, 35: ARV.1 p. 543 no. 19; ARV.2 no. 28.

5 It may perhaps be tempting to identify this hat with τὸ πιλίδιον περὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν τὸ Μύσιον which according to Aristophanes formed part of Telephos's get-up in the play by Euripides (Aristoph. Ach. 439), but the temptation should be resisted. According to Pollak the hat on our cup is 'essentially barbarian headgear', and he quotes the cup by the Pistoxenos Painter in the Faina collection (Hartwig pl. 38 and pl. 39, 1: ARV.1 p. 575 no. 11; ARV.2 p. 861 no. 14 and p. 1672, where two of the barbarians among whom Herakles finds himself wear a similar hat. But the barbarians on the Faina cup are clad from head to foot in wool, and this is meant to characterize them as living in the cold North — whether they are Agathyrsi, as Hartwig conjectures, or Hyperboreans. A countryman of theirs appears, holding a phallus-stick, inside a fragmentary cup in the Louvre, Louvre S 1420 plus , which is in the manner of the Antiphon Painter and may be from his hand; outside, A, pancration, B, hoplitodromoi: ARV.2 pp. 345-6 no. 78.

6 London E 382: Pollak Zwei Vasen pl. 6: ARV.1 p. 407, middle; ARV.2 p. 632.

7 For Telephos and the infant Orestes see (besides Pollak) EVP. pp. 66 and 289, with what is quoted there; JHS. 69 p. 8; Metzger in Rev. arch. 1949 (Mélanges Picard) and Représentations dans la céramique attique du IVe siècle pp. 287-8. The fourth-century Attic calyx-krater in Berlin, (inv. Berlin 3974), mentioned in EVP. p. 66, is now figured by Metzger in Rev. arch. 1949 p. 748 and in Représentations pl. 39, 1; the squat lekythos in New York, mentioned in EVP. p. 298 in Richter Handbook of the Greek Collection pl. 95, d. The Berlin column-krater cited in Rev. arch. 1949 p. 751 is not Faliscan but Etruscan (see EVP. p. 56). Add an Attic pelike of the fourth century, from Olynthos, in Salonica (Robinson Olynthus 13 pl. 62: the subject already recognized by Webster), and a fragment of an Apulian krater (bell or calyx: AP style) in the Noble collection at Maplewood, which has the head, in three-quarter view to the left, and right arm, raised with sword, of the hero, and, to right of him, part of a woman's raised arm: inscription ΤΗΛΕΦΟΣ (Bothmer A.N.Y. pl. 94, 254).

8 See iii p. 70 (Boston 99.539).

9 Leningrad 658: ARV. 1 p. 543 no. 3; ARV.2 p. 817 no. 3. Tarquinia 690: CV. pl. 21: ARV.1 p. 543 no. 13; ARV.2 p. 818 no. 17. Budapest: ARV.1 p. 544 no. 26; ARV.2 p. 819 no. 37.

hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Aeschylus, Eumenides, 452
    • Aristophanes, Frogs, 471
    • Pindar, Olympian, 9
    • Aristophanes, Acharnians, 331
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Aristophanes, Acharnians, 439
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