The sacrifice of Polyxena

Whole jar

The horrors of war continued even after the fall of Troy and the recapture of Helen. Achilles had died before the city was taken, but his spirit appeared to the Greeks as they were about to depart for home and demanded compensation for all the hard fighting he had done, in the form of the blood of Priam's virgin daughter Polyxena.*

The vase-painter presents the scene of the sacrifice of the innocent girl with brutal directness. Polyxena's log-like body is held firmly by three Greeks, while Achilles' son cuts her throat and the blood flows down onto the altar to his father. Two Greeks, too old to fight and so holding spears but otherwise unarmed, frame the scene. All the participants are named.