- Museum number
Pottery: red-figured hydria.
Combat of Athene and Zeus with two giants. On the left Athene (in long chiton with border and pattern at the knees, over which a mantle hangs in regular pteryges, over all the ægis, scaly, with fringe of snakes and a small Gorgoneion, and with helmet) strides forward with couched spear to despatch a Giant (Enkelados?) whom she has seized with her left hand by the crest of his helmet; the spear enters his side beneath his right arm, and blood gushes from this wound and from another on his left thigh; he falls backwards, supported only upon the edge of his shield and on his right leg bent under him. He is bearded, and has a short chiton, cuirass, and a spear held helplessly across his body. His head is en face, and is drawn in the early symmetrical manner, both sides of the crest, both raised cheek-pieces and ears, and both sides of the nose being shown; but the drawing of the eyes shows an advance, the pupils being both at the left angle, as if he were looking at his opponent. On the right Zeus, bearded, with long hair fastened with a fillet, in a short undertied chiton, and a mantle hanging from his extended left arm, strides forward, brandishing aloft in his right the thunderbolt (formed like two honeysuckle flowers back to back) and seizing with his left the right shoulder of a bearded Giant (Porphyrion?), who falls to the right on both knees, with blood flowing from a wound where the hand of Zeus grasps him; he turns as he falls, upheaving with both hands above his head a large rock to hurl at Zeus; he wears a helmet like that of Enkelados, the crest of which is partly hidden by the rock, and a wolfskin knotted round his neck by the hind paws, so that the head, drawn with eye and grinning teeth as though the animal were alive, hangs down to right. On the upper part of the rock a vine leaf is traced in brown dotted outline.
On the bottom of the foot incised characters.
Purple flames of thunderbolt, fillet, and blood from wounds of giants. Brown inner markings, upper folds of Zeus' chiton, and markings on outside of pardalis. Eye in transition type (pupil at inner angle, which is open). The thunderbolt of Zeus, the crest of Athene, and the rock all overlap the upper border. The drapery falls in V-shaped groups of folds. The design is laid entirely on the shoulder, and is enclosed in a panel, of which the lower border (slightly above the level of the side handles) is alternate palmette and honeysuckle; the upper (narrower) is maeander; and the sides of net pattern, carefully drawn. Round the lip, egg pattern.
- Production date
- 480BC (circa)
Height: 40 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- BM Cat. Vases
Él. Cér. i, pl. 3, p. 8; Ann. dell' Inst., 1869, p. 183; Overbeck, Kunstmyth. (Zeus), p. 365, no. 20; Mayer, Gig. u. Titan, p. 302, no. g.
Advanced stage of severe style. Overbeck loc. cit. describes the style as 'very peculiar, not purely Greek’. This criticism does not seem warranted.
For the incised character, see Old Catalogue pl. Β758.
- On display (G20a/dc22)
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number