- Museum number
Apulian red-figured calyx-krater (bowl for mixing wine and water).
Designs black on white ground, with accessories of white and yellow. Large style. Above the designs, a pattern of palmettes; below, the vase is ribbed. The stand has egg-and-dart pattern on the upper part, and an ivy-wreath below; the part between is fluted.
(a) Lycurgos destroying his family: Composition in two rows, divided by a line of white dots. In the centre, on the lower level, is Lycurgos to front, turning half to left, with shaggy hair, beard, and moustache, cap made of the skin of a panther's head, bordered chlamys fastened with a fibula in front, endromides with tops turned over and laced up the front, and sword at side; the hair on the breast and abdomen is indicated. In right hand he brandishes a double-edged axe, and with left he seizes his wife by the hair; she has fallen on the ground with face to front and left leg doubled under her. She has dishevelled hair, double necklace, bracelets, long girt chiton fastened with studs on the right shoulder, embroidered himation over lower limbs, and white sandals; both hands are raised to thrust away Lycurgos' arm; blood flows from a wound in left breast. On the left is a youth to right, with dishevelled hair, slight whiskers, bordered chlamys on left arm, white endromides, sword with belt, left hand raised as if upbraiding Lycurgos, right at back of head, with gesture of despair. Behind him advances a paidagogos, with white hair and beard, wrinkled face, short bordered chiton with a stripe down the side and belt with white studs, beneath which appear the sleeves of a jerkin ornamented with lozenge-pattern and white dots, bordered chlamys over left arm, fastened with a fibula in front, and endromides as above, in right hand a crooked staff; he points with two fingers of right hand. On the right are a male and female figure carrying off one of Lycurgos' dead sons; the female, who supports the body, looks back at Lycurgos with an expression of sorrow; she has short hair, earrings, necklace, long girt embroidered chiton, Thracian jerkin and anaxyrides, in one piece and ornamented with chevron patterns; shoes with white spots. The male figure, who supports the legs, also looks back; he is beardless, with dishevelled hair, whiskers, bordered chlamys, endromides laced up the front, and sword at side. The dead son has dishevelled hair, whiskers, and a chlamys over his body; his head is fallen back, and his right arm hangs down; on his breast is a wound from which flows a stream of blood. Above, on the upper level, is an altar on which an offering is burning between two fruits; the altar is white, with egg-moulding round the cornice; below it is an uncertain object, perhaps a fan. Over it is Apollo seated on an eminence to left, looking down to right, beardless, with long curls, laurel-wreath, bordered chlamys over knees, right hand raised to his head, in left a lyre painted white. On the right facing him is Hermes, with right foot raised on a rock, beardless, with curly hair, white petasos slung at back, bordered chlamys over left arm, endromides with wings issuing from under the heel, caduceus in left hand, right hand extended as if addressing Apollo; behind him a plant, and above, a taenia. On the left is a winged figure, probably Lyssa, flying downwards to right, with hair gathered under a cap open at the back and radiated in front, earrings, necklace, long bordered embroidered chiton drawn up to her knees in her rapid descent, girdle with white studs and cross-belt, goad in right hand aimed downwards; round her left arm are twined two snakes with heads stretched threateningly forward. Behind her is a triple radiated circle; below her is a white hydria lying on its side, also a flower growing on a mound. On the extreme left is a youthful male figure, probably Ares, seated on a chair to left, his face turned towards the group below, with an expression of sorrow; he has curly hair, bordered chlamys over knees, endromides as Lycurgos, spear in left hand, and right on his breast; the chair is painted white. Facing him is a female figure, probably a local Nymph, with hair gathered in a mass at the back, radiated double sphendone, earrings, necklace, bracelets, long bordered embroidered schistos chiton, open on right side, with apoptygma, and sandals; her left foot is raised on a rock and her hands are extended to Ares, whom she seems to be addressing. In the field above are three rosettes; the ground-lines are indicated.
(b) Pelops preparing for the chariot-race: Composition in two rows, as (a). In the centre, on the lower level, seated on a rock to right and looking back, is Pelops; he has curly hair and whiskers, bordered chlamys underneath him, and endromides laced up in front, with tops turned over. His left hand is extended in the direction of Myrtilos on the right; his left elbow is supported on the right hand, which rests on the pommel of his sword. On the right is a lofty Ionic column reaching to the top of the scene, surmounted by a tripod; below the capital are bands of chevron pattern, and lower down is a bucranion, from which hang chaplets of beads. Behind Pelops, on a higher level, is a large laver, painted white, with fluted stem. On the left is Hippodameia, holding back her drapery with right hand; her left hand she extends to Pelops as if addressing him. Her hair is gathered in a mass behind, and she wears an embroidered and radiated opisthosphendone, earrings, double necklace, bracelets, long bordered embroidered chiton with diploidion and looped-up sleeves, bordered himation over her arms, and shoes. Behind her is Sterope, laying left hand on her arm; she has long curls, ampyx with a row of palmettes over the forehead, earrings, double necklace, bracelets, and shoes. She wears a long bordered embroidered chiton with palmettes, chevrons, and other patterns, and a broad stripe of lozenge-pattern with dots and wave-pattern down the front; her right arm is muffled in a bordered embroidered himation, which is drawn over her head as a veil. On the right is Myrtilos about to depart, with head turned back towards Pelops; in left hand he holds a chariot-wheel by the hub. He is beardless, with curly hair and whiskers; he wears a chlamys over his shoulders fastened by a fibula in front, white petasos slung at his back, and endromides as before. On the ground are three plants. Above in the centre is Eros, seated on a chlamys to left, looking down towards Myrtilos, and holding out a myrtle-wreath in right hand; he is of the regular Apulian type, with hair gathered in a mass at the back under a radiated cap, shoulder-belt with bullae, anklet on left leg, and sandals. On the right is a female figure, probably a local Nymph, as in the pediments of the temple of Zeus at Olympia; she is seated to right, looking down to left, on a cista ornamented with wave and maeander patterns. Her hair is gathered in a mass behind, and she wears a radiated opisthosphendone, earrings, double necklace, bracelets, long girt chiton with looped-up sleeves, which has slipped off right shoulder, bordered embroidered himation, and sandals; her right hand rests on the ground, and her left is placed on her breast. On the left is Aphrodite (?) seated to left on a stool ornamented with maeander in white on black; she looks down to right, and her left hand rests on the stool. Her hair is arranged as the Nymph's, and she wears earrings, necklace, bracelets, long girt chiton with looped-up sleeves, bordered embroidered himation, veil drawn forward in right hand, and sandals. On the extreme left is Pan, youthful and beardless, with left foot raised on a rock, facing Aphrodite; he wears a wreath of reeds, and has short horns and a tail (?); his left hand is placed on his knee, and in right he holds out a laurel-branch tied with a taenia. In the field, two flowers; ground-lines indicated by dots.
- Production date
- 350BC-340BC (circa)
Diameter: 50.80 centimetres
Height: 58.42 centimetres
- Curator's comments
The crater shows the madness of Lycurgus. He has been driven mad by Dionysos and has killed his son Dryas, and goes on to attack his wife. Above hovers Lyssa, the personification of madness. At the bottom is an old retainer. The scene was perhaps inspired by Aeschylus' Edonoi. The other side shows Pelops preparing for the chariot race against Oinomaos, watched by his future bride Hippodameia and her mother Sterope. Oinomaos' charioteer Myrtillos holds the wheel, and is about to replace the lynch pin with wax in order to cause a fatal accident.The scene may have been inspired by Euripides' or Sophocles' tragedy Oinomaos.
Additional bibliography: O. Taplin, Pots & Plays. Interactions between tragedy and Greek vase-painting in the fourth century B.C. (Los Angeles, 2007), no. 13.
BM Cat. Vases
Mon. dell’ Inst, v. pls. 22, 23; Ann. dell’ Inst. 1850, p. 330, and 1872, p. 249; Engelmann and Anderson, Pictorial Atlas to Homer (Iliad), pl. vii. fig. 32 (obverse); Melanges d'Arch. 1881, p. 360; Arch. Zeit. 1846, p. 253, 1853, p. 41, 1872, p. 67, and 1873, p. 85; Vogel, Scenen Eurip. Tragdd. p. 130; Baumeister, p. 837; J.H.S. xi. p. 228; Rosenberg, Die Erinyen, p. 67; Korte, Personifik. psychol. Affekte, p. 24.
For the subject of side a, cf. Müller-Wieseler, Denkm. d. a. Kunst, ii. 38, 442, and Harrison and Verrall, p. 259; for Ares, see Bloch, die zuschauenden Goiter, p. 52.
For the subject of side b, cf. Mon. dell’ Inst. iv. 30; Baumeister, p. 1203; Roscher, i. p. 2671.
- On display (G73/dc70)
- Exhibition history
2014-2015 18 Nov-31 May, Athens, Museum of Cycladic & Ancient Greek Art, Hygieia: Health, Illness and Treatment in the Ancient Greek World
- Repaired and restored.
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number