175. 00.354 CUP from Tanagra PLATE CVI, 175

Diameter 0.17, height 0.098. I, Matz Die Naturpersonifikationen in der griechischen Kunst pl. 1. I, Sparte. About 400 B.C., close to the best work of the Jena Painter (ARV.1 p. 884 no. 7; ARV.2 p. 515, below) and to the few vases of the Diomed Painter (ARV.1 pp. 883-4; ARV.2 p. 516), who is closely connected with the Jena.

The small cup is of delicate make and unusual shape. The inside of the offset lip is ornamented with an ivy-wreath, the stem and berries of which are white, the leaves reserved. The bowl is reeded outside. It is separated from the stem by a large black fillet, with a reserved line near the top. The profile of the foot is black, and is divided by a groove into two thin mouldings of which the upper is the larger and definitely a torus. The underside of the foot is black, with three reserved bands. The handles are not worthy of the rest.

The shape is descended from the 'Acrocup' (see ii p. 67; Boston 03.815), or rather it is an Acrocup influenced by metal originals such as the silver cup (with gold medallion) from the Chmyrev grave (Anz. 1910 p. 219 figs. 18-19). The following clay cups are near ours in shape:

  • 1. New York 06.1021.186. Sambon Coll. Canessa p. 73; A, Richter and Milne fig. 18; Richter and Hall pl. 167, 172 and pl. 181, 172. I, Eros driving a chariot. Outside, reeded. Inside the lip, an ivy-wreath. The large fillet between bowl and stem is black, but has a slanting transitional member below it, which is reserved. The profile of the foot has two divisions, the upper of which is torus-like. The underside of the foot is nearly the same as in the Sparte cup, black, with three reserved bands. The handles are again coarse. The painter is not the same as in the Sparte cup, but a contemporary.
  • 2. Oxford 1917.63. CV. pl. 48, 5. Inside, a small incised design. Outside, incision imitating reeding. The profile of the foot is black and tripartite; the underside is black with two reserved bands.
  • 3. Athens, Ceramicus Museum. Anz. 1937 p. 198; Karo An Attic Cemetery p. 35, 1. Inside, an incised design of twist, rays, small circles, and tongues. Outside, reeded. The fillet between bowl and stem is, in part at least, reserved. The profile of the foot is black and bipartite, the upper and larger member being a torus. The make is less delicate than in the three cups already described. The handles are missing. From the grave of the Lacedaemonians who fell in 403 B.C.
  • 4. Athens, Agora P 16935, fragment. Inside, an incised design of small circles, rays, and tongues. Outside, reeded. Compare the last.
Near these:

  • Naples. Outside, reeded. Not certain that the lower half of the stem, with the foot, belongs.
Add an Italiote cup:

  • Reggio 765. Inside, a female head. Outside, reeded. Missing, the handles, the lower half of the stem, and the foot.
Compare also, for the shape, two cups in Berlin, Berlin 2765 and Berlin 2766 (Furtwängler Beschreibung pl. 7 no. 325), already associated with the Sparte cup by Edward Robinson (Report 1900 p. 63): the outsides are not reeded.

Akin to these kylikes, a class of stemless cups: —

  • Leningrad, fr. 1, Compte rendu 1869 pl. 4, 9. Inside, red-figure, Dionysos and Eros. Outside, reeded.
  • Athens, Agora P 10545. Hesp. 18 pll. 86-87, 35. Inside incised and stamped decoration. Outside, reeded. See Corbett ibid. p. 322.
  • Oxford, Beazley. As the last.
  • Bucarest, Kalinderu Museum. Coliu p. 100. As the last two.
  • Naples. Gargiulo Mus. Borb. 2 pl. 30, 3; ML. 41 pl. 20, 5, Gàbrici. Deeper.
The picture on the Boston cup is unique. Within a line border, which is rather roughly drawn, and on a reserved exergue, Sparte, Σ[Π]ΑΡΤΗ, dismounts from her horse at an altar. She holds the reins in her right hand, and lays her left on the horse's hind-quarters as she slips from its back. The horse's right fore-hoof is still raised from the ground; one expects to see the left fore-hoof, but it is not shown. Sparte wears a thin peplos, girt at the waist, without apoptygma. A himation hangs over her left shoulder, where one corner of it is seen, and falls behind her and along her left side, where another corner appears to right of her left ankle. A third corner shows between her feet, and some of the folds between the shanks belong to the himation, although it is not quite clear where chiton begins and himation ends. Similarly to right of the left cheek, the himation looks as if it were about to pass over the back of the head, but this cannot be so. Necklace, bracelets and ear-ring are in relief and once were gilded. The hair, mounded high over the forehead, is rendered by wavy lines in darker brown on a light background. The upright relief-line on the body of the altar serves to indicate the side, but this three-quarter view is not continued above or below. A ball of incense, as it must be, in white, lies on the altar; the reins and the inscription are also in white. Relief-contours, except for part of the altar.

The horse is a small pony, with hogged mane and the short insignificant head which is common in the horses of the late fifth century and of the fourth. Much the same type of animal as on no. 174. The tip of the tail is restored. The drawing of the woman has genuine charm, rare in vases of this period. The exergue is marred by a brown blot.

On figures of persons dismounting from horses see Haspels ABL. pp. 52-54.

Sparte, according to the version of Spartan origins reported by Pausanias (Paus. 3.1.2) and hardly of great age, was daughter of Eurotas, wife of Lakedaimon, and mother of Amyklas. Her head appears on Spartan coins of the Roman period. Long before that, a figure of Sparte, holding a lyre, formed the support of a large bronze tripod, by Aristandros of Paris, at Amyklai, one of two dedicated in commemoration of the Spartan victory at Aigospotamoi (Paus. 3.18.8), so not long after 405 B.C., and very near the period of our vase. That Sparte should figure on an Attic vase has always been thought remarkable, and Hauser recognized that the choice is probably connected with the brief spell of Spartan popularity at Athens in the years about 400.1 Corbett has recently considered the matter when publishing another unique monument, a fragment of an Attic bell-krater, found in the Agora of Athens, inscribed before firing with the name of Leonidas,2 and he concludes that such a philolaconian inscription would scarcely have been possible except between the years 403 and 395 or even 397. The same applies to the cup in Boston. It agrees with this that a cup of very similar shape was found in the grave of the Lacedaemonians who fell at Athens in 403 B.C. (iii p. 90 no. 3; vase description for Boston 00.354). Another possible trace of Laconism at this time is mentioned above on iii p. 83 (Boston 03.821).

We must try to explain the particular figuration of Sparte on the Boston cup. According to Hauser the altar is Athena's, on the Acropolis of Athens, and Sparte has ridden to it across country. More probably, as Matz says,3 it is Sparte's own altar, which she comes to visit; and we may compare the later cup in Vienna, where Artemis rides to her altar on a doe.4 But why is Sparte on horseback? Ashmole reminds me that according to Pausanias (Paus. 6.2.1), 'after the Persian invasion the Spartans were keener horse-breeders than all the rest of the Greeks'. Castor was ἱππόδαμος to Homer and διφρηλάτης to Pindar (Pind. I. 1.16-17). In the feigned chariot-race at Delphi in the Electra of Sophocles, one of the competitors is Spartan (Soph. El. 701). Spartans won many victories in the equestrian events at Olympia (Paus. 4.1.6-2.3), and at this very time Kyniska, daughter of King Archidamos II and sister of King Agesilaos II, may have been training horses, since she won the chariot-race either in 396 or 392 or not very long after.5 Reason, then, for depicting Sparta as an equestrian. Moreover, one might guess that our picture was not an original creation, but derived from another work of art — votive picture, or rather, perhaps, metal relief, for instance on a mirror-case — which stood in a closer relation to a Spartan ἱπποτρόφος — or ἱπποτροφοῦσα.

P. E. Corbett, Hesperia 18 (1949), p. 105; F. W. Hamdorf, 1964, Griechische Kultpersonifikationen der vorhellenistischen Zeit, Mainz am Rhein, P. von Zabern, p. 93, no. 243 a (should be c); B. A. Sparkes, JHS 87 (1967), p. 127; Para., p. 500; K. Schauenburg, JdI 89 (1974), p. 162; Mitten 1975, p. 131, under no. 36; D. Metzler, Hephaistos 2 (1980), pp. 83, 88, note 75; Kurtz & Sparkes 1982, p. 174, note 102 (B. Shefton); D. Gill, in M. Vickers, ed., 1986, Pots & Pans: A Colloquium on Precious Metals and Ceramics in the Muslim, Chinese and Graeco-Roman Worlds, Oxford University Press for the Board of the Faculty of Oriental Studies, pp. 11, 13, figs. 7-8; Burn 1987, p. 39; I. McPhee and E. Pemberton, in J.-P. Descoeudres, ed., 1990, Eumousia: Ceramic and Iconographic Studies in Honour of Alexander Cambitoglou, Sydney, Meditarch, pp. 127-128; L. Burn, Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum 5 (1991), p. 128, note 11; Shapiro-Lapatin 1992, p. 118, note 51.

1 RM. 17 p. 248.

2 Athens, Agora P 17000: Hesp. 18 pl. 4 with pp. 104-7.

3 Naturpersonifikationen pp. 64-68.

4 Vienna 203: La Borde 2 pl. 26, 1, whence El. 2 pl. 8; RM. 42 Beil. 24, above; CV. pl. 30, 4 and pl. 31, 3: ARV.1 p. 887, Painter of Vienna 202, no. 2.

5 Hiller von Gaertringen Historische griechische Epigramme p. 26 no. 63.

hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.18.8
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.1.2
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 4.1
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 6.2.1
    • Pindar, Isthmean, 1
    • Sophocles, Electra, 701
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