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66. 10.221 FRAGMENTARY PSYKTER from Orvieto PLATE XXXI, below

Formerly in the Bourguignon collection at Naples. Jb. 7 pl. 5 (Hartwig), whence Roscher s.v. Pentheus p. 1931; Philippart Iconographie des Bacchantes d'Euripide pl. 12. These publications are incomplete. The Death of Pentheus. About 520-510 B.C., by Euphronios (CF. p. 33 no. 5; ARV. p. 19 no. 5 and p. 948: see below).

Pentheus (ΠΕΝΘΕΥΣ) has already been torn to pieces. Two women rush along holding between them the bleeding upper part. One, Galene (ΓΑΛΕΝΕ retr.), grasps the right arm with one hand and the shoulder with the other, to tear the arm off: a somewhat similar action is described by Euripides in the Bacchae (Eur. Ba. 1125). The other woman, looking round, holds the left arm near the shoulder with her right hand, while her left hand (now missing) holds the thyrsus. A third maenad follows, looking round, her thyrsus raised in her left hand; the right hand is missing, and may have held some portion of the dead man. The right foot of this figure, with part of the chiton, was formerly in Freiburg (CF. p. 32, 5) and was acquired by the Museum in 1936. All three women wear chitons, himatia of 'Ionic' fashion, and head-fillets.

The other fragments are floaters: (b) gives head and right arm of a woman holding one of Pentheus' legs, facing to left but probably running to right; (c) the lower half of a woman running to right (the light area on the left is a chip); (d) left shank of a woman running to right, holding a thyrsus in her right hand; in front of her, whether held by her or another, a piece of the bleeding body; (e) the upper half of a woman's head to right.

The contours are in relief-lines, except the off edge of the skirts and, as frequently in early red-figure, the lips, although the mouth is a relief-line. There is a brown interfold on the Freiburg fragment; the upper edge of Galene's himation is rendered by five crinkled brown lines. The outline of the hair is incised, except the outline of the forehead-hair, which in four out of six figures is reserved.

The name Galene is given to a maenad on an Attic bell-krater, of the late fifth century, which was formerly in the Coghill, Hope, and Cowdray collections (Millingen Vases de Coghill pl. 19: see Tillyard Hope Vases p. 85 no. 141, and Cat. Sotheby 2nd Dec. 1946 no. 55).

The drawing is fresh and interesting, but in some parts, especially of the drapery, careless and inexpert. Thus, in the left-hand figure on the large fragment, the upper edge of the chiton is not indicated; the middle 'pleat' of the himation has no vertical on the left; the right foot has a toe too few; and the left hand is drawn as if it were a right, or rather the artist has not made up his mind whether he was drawing a back-view figure or not. In Galene, the hole of the sleeve turns in the wrong direction; the upper edge of the chiton is again omitted; the line of the right shin is wanting; it is odd also that the upper edge of the himation should be in brown not black. In the himation of the third maenad, the lower zigzags of the flying part are omitted on the right and done in brown on the left; the ball of the thumb is not indicated.

All these faults considered, it may seem strange that I should attribute the psykter to the famous Euphronios. It is to be compared not so much with his finest work as with the calyx-krater in Berlin, the pelike in Chicago and Villa Giulia, the Dresden hydria, or the lively subsidiary figures on the neck of his volute-krater in Arezzo: but no comparison need be excluded; even in the masterpiece, the krater in the Louvre, the difference in quality between the magnificent set-piece of Herakles and Antaios on the one hand, and on the other the female figures flanking it or the youths on the reverse, is great: place the Boston psykter beside these and the resemblance will be found close. In CF. p. 33 no. 5 I spoke of the psykter as 'recalling Euphronios'; in the text of ARV. (p. 19) as 'a slighter work in his manner and perhaps even from his hand'; when I wrote the addenda (p. 948) I had come to feel sure that it was 'a slight work by the painter himself'. Slight; and early.

A list of vases by Euphronios is given in ARV. pp. 15-19 and 948; but I no longer think that no. 9, the Swallow pelike in Leningrad, can be his. No. 8, the neck-amphora Leningrad 610, from Vulci is now published in Marburger Winckelmann-Programm 1949 pl. 3: I should now place it under 'manner of Euphronios'. In no. 10, the neck-pelike partly in Villa Giulia, partly in the University of Chicago, the animal the young man is playing with is not a puppy but a weasel (the same animal is figured on a fourth-century squat lekythos with design in added red, Etruscan or Italic, from Leprignano, in Villa Giulia). A new vase by Euphronios is a neck-pelike in Villa Giulia: on one side a youth leads a horse; on the other a man, seated, chastises a young boy with a sandal: on each side of the vase, ΛΕΑΓΡΟΣ ΚΑΛΟΣ. Add also a fragment, attributed by Albizzati and Belloni, in the Museo di Archeologia (Castello Sforzesco), Milan (AJA. 1950 pl. 20, c: probably from a calyx-krater: Herakles), and a fragment of a cup decorated inside only, attributed by Dietrich von Bothmer, in the Louvre (I, archer, with ...ΝΕΠΟΙΕΣΕΝ: — i.e. [Χαχρυλιο]νεποιεσεν: ?). Peters has made the attractive suggestion (Studien zu den panathenäischen Preisamphoren p. 56) that a small fragment of a black-figured Panathenaic amphora in Athens, Athens, Acr. 931 (Graef pl. 56), may be by Euphronios.1

The fillet between neck and shoulder is painted red. The picture doubtless ran uninterrupted round the whole vase. The psykter shape will be discussed on ii pp. 6-9.

This is the earliest representation of Pentheus; it is also our earliest evidence for the legend and even the name. The earliest literary authority is Aeschylus, who treated the death of the hero in his Pentheus (fr. 183 Nauck), and alluded to it in his Xantriai (Nauck p. 55)2 as well as in his Eumenides (Aesch. Eum. 26).3

Nowhere else is Pentheus bearded, except on a Greco-Roman gem in the British Museum (Walters Cat. Gems pl. 22, 1629: Philippart Ic. p. 68 no. 160); and it has been observed that the part which Agave might have been expected to play (Eur. Bacch. 1125) is given to Galene. The other representations of the subject have been collected by Hartwig (Jb. 7 pp. 153-64), Curtius (Pentheus), and Philippart (Ic. pp. 50-66); see also Séchan pp. 102-6, and Dodds Euripides Bacchae pp. xxx-xxxii. A new picture, on a red-figured calyx-krater from Centuripe in private possession at Catania, Italiote but close to Attic, has recently been published by Libertini (Annuario n.s. 1-2 pp. 140-3): two maenads attack Pentheus with their thyrsi, and he falls: the date is about 425 B.C.

Of the vases that show the dismembered body, or the severed head, the Attic cup in the Louvre is only a little later than the Boston psykter (Louvre G 69: Jb. 7 p. 162, whence redrawn, Daremberg and Saglio s.v. maenades fig. 4769; Philippart Ic. pl. 13, a):4 it belongs to that 'Coarser Group' of early archaic cups which forms the subject of Chapter IV in ARV. The Attic stamnos by the Berlin Painter in Oxford is of the decade 490-480 (CV. pl. 25, 1-2, pl. 20, 10-12, pl. 30, 5-6: ARV. p. 138 no. 112). The Attic cup-fragment in the Villa Giulia must have been painted about 430-425 (CV. pl. 37, 1-2; clearer, Cultrera Hydria a figure rosse del Museo di Villa Giulia pp. 14-15). The cup in the Cabinet des Médailles (Paris, Cab. Méd. 1066: Gaz. arch. 1879 pll. 4-5; Philippart Ic. pl. 13, b) is not Italiote but Etruscan, by the Settecamini Painter: I have dealt with it in EVP. pp. 6 and pp. 54-5, and pl. 10, 3-5. A fragment in Florence, representing Agave with the head of Pentheus, comes from another Etruscan vase of the fourth century (Florence PD 6: Suppl. Pl. 11, 5: given by J. A. Spranger): I have not seen the original. There remains the skyphos, mentioned by Hartwig (Jb. 7 p. 163), which was formerly in the Spinelli collection (so probably found at Suessula) and is now in Boston (Boston 03.824): Campanian work of about 400 B.C., very close to Attic. The group on the reverse, two maenads holding a fawn between them, recurs on the Pentheus pyxis, in a private collection at Heidelberg, published by Curtius (Pentheus pl. 1 and pp. 2-4); also, as Curtius observed, on a pyxis by the Meidias Painter in the British Museum (C. Smith pl. 20, whence Curtius Pentheus p. 12: ARV. p. 833 no. 14), and, with a satyr substituted for one of the maenads, on a lekane in Odessa (Zap. Russk. Arkh. Obshch. 18 pl. 1, whence Nicole Meidias p. 103).5 On the obverse, the maenad with the thyrsus is a degraded version of a fine late-fifth-century figure, while the other maenad bears a distinct resemblance to the Agave of the cup in Villa Giulia.

The beginning of the dismemberment is shown on an Attic lekane-lid of about 430 B.C. in the Louvre (Louvre G 445: Jb. 7 p. 156, whence Roscher s.v. Pentheus p. 1934; Pottier pl. 145; Philippart Ic. pl. 8). Two maenads seize Pentheus by arms and one foot; on each side another maenad runs up; Dionysos looks on. In the illustrations the circular composition is spoiled by being cut in two.6

EAA, III, pp. 759-760, fig. 931 (A. Comotti); Brommer 1960, p. 343, no. B 1; ARV2, pp. 16 (no. 14), 1619; EAA, VI, p. 28 (E. Paribeni); A. Greifenhagen, BerlMus, n.f. 16 (1966), pt. 2, p. 4, fig. 5; F. Matz, 1969, Die Dionysischen Sarkophage, III, Berlin, Gebr. Mann, p. 406; Para., p. 322, no. 14; Henle 1973, pp. 120, 191, note 3; Brommer 1973, p. 485, no. B 1; Drougou 1975, pp. 16 (no. A 22), 41, 60-63, pl. 6; Boardman 1975, pp. 32, 40 (fig. 28), 225, 242; Schefold 1978, pp. 80-81, 309, fig. 92; Taplin 1978, pl. 12; Houser 1979, p. 102, MFA 4, illus. (M. Anderson); Schefold 1981, p. 182; G. F. Pinney, AJA 85 (1981), p. 504; M. C. Villanueva-Puig, RA 1982, p. 344; Beazley Addenda 1, p. 73; Moon 1983, pp. 151, 157 (J. Frel); Burn 1987, p. 77; Amasis Painter Colloquium, p. 106 (A. Henrichs); Schöne 1987, pp. 67, 270, no. 170; LIMC, IV, 1, p. 153, no. 1, IV, 2, pl. 75 (A. Kossatz-Deissmann); H. R. Goette, JdI 103 (1988), p. 434, note 144c; J. R. March, BICS 36 (1989), p. 50, pl. 3a; Beazley Addenda 2, p. 153; K. Danalis-Giole, OpAth 18 (1990), pp. 39-40 (fig. 1), 41; A. Kossatz-Deissmann, Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum 5 (1991), pp. 180-181.

Exhibited: Arezzo, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, May 26-July 31, 1990 (P. E. Arias,1990, in Capolavori di Euphronios: un pioniere della ceramografia attica, Milano, Fabbri, p. 21, note 22; F. Gilotta, in ibid., p. 71, under no. 5; J. M. Padgett, in ibid., pp. 72-75, no. 6, 2 illus.; ibid., p. 195, dated ca. 510); Paris, Musée du Louvre, Sept. 18-Dec. 31, 1990 (Euphronios: peintre à Athènes au VIe siècle avant J.-C., pp. 49, 251, 263, 267; F. Villard, in ibid., p. 30; J. M. Padgett, in ibid., pp. 160-163, no. 32, 2 color illus.); Berlin, Antikenmuseum, March 20-May 26, 1991 (EdM 1991, pp. 55, 273, 277; EdM 1991, pp. 20-21 (L. Giuliani); EdM 1991, p. 31, note 19 (P. E. Arias); EdM 1991, p. 46 (D. von Bothmer); EdM 1991, pp. 168-169, under no. 29 (F. Gilotta); EdM 1991, pp. 174-177, no. 32, 2 color illus.) (J. M. Padgett).

1 (From Addenda to Part II) Pp. 1-2. Important additions to the list of vases by Euphronios have now been made by Villard in Mon. Piot 45 pp. 1-13. Add a neck-amphora in the Louvre with an acontist on one side, a discus-thrower on the other, the inscription ΑΝΤΙΑΣΚΑΛΟΣ and the fragmentary signature ...ΓΡΑΦΣΕΝ.

2 The subject of the Xantriai must have been, as Welcker proposed, the conflict between Dionysos and Perseus at Argos. The scene can only have been laid in the Argolid, since nowhere else could a begging priestess hope to collect subscriptions for local Argive deities, Ἰνάχου Ἀργείου ποτάμου παισὶν βιοδώροις.

3 Thespis is said to have written a Πενθεύς, and some think that the title may be genuine though not the line quoted (see Pickard-Cambridge, Dithyramb, Tragedy and Comedy pp. 116-17): certainty is not to be had. 'Hecateus still called him Τενθεύς; τένθης is λίχνος; so Πενθεύς is a modification first in Aeschylus' (Wilamowitz-Moellendorf Glaube der Hellenen ii p. 66 note 1; Schwyzer Griechische Grammatik i p. 295). Not first in Aeschylus, anyway.

4 The cup has now been cleaned, and I have added four fragments, including the second handle. The second maenad from the left holds an arm or leg in her right hand, and a snake coils round her left arm. The maenad on the right holds a wineskin in her left hand; a hare, standing on its hind legs, lays its forepaws on her left leg.

5 One of the groups on a bronze calyx-krater in Berlin is similar, but both maenads move to right (Züchner Der berliner Mänadenkrater pl. 3, whence Picard La sculpture iii, 1 p. 199).

6 (From Addenda to Parts I and II) Pp. 2-3: on pictures of Pentheus see now Alfieri in Arte Antica e Moderna 11 pp. 236-47. Add the hydria by the Meidias Painter in the Ceramicus Museum at Athens (ARV.1 p. 832 no. 2; ARV.2 p. 1313 no. 6): new fragments show that the fragmentary lower picture on it represented the death of Pentheus: I owe photographs to the kindness of Dr. Klaus Vierneisel.

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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Aeschylus, Eumenides, 26
    • Euripides, Bacchae, 1125
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