- Museum number
Pottery: red-figured pelike.
(a) Thetis and a Nereid bringing arms, made by Hephaistos, to Achilles who mourns Patroclus. In the centre Achilles is seated in a chair to left in a dejected attitude, closely wrapped in his mantle, which is passed over the back of his head; he holds on his left arm a knotted staff, and wears a fillet with a vertical piece over the forehead, and sandals; on the chair is a fringed and embroidered cloth; beside his head, KAΛΟΣ, καλός. Thetis, approaching from left, has thrown her arms around his neck; she wears an Ionic chiton with dotted sleeves and embroidered diploidion, bracelets, and earrings, and her hair is looped up with a radiated stephane. Behind her a Nereid stands (similar dress, large brooch fastening diploidion on right shoulder, saccos with crosses, dotted fillet, bracelets), holding a spear and a high crested helmet. On left is Athene, who from the gesture of her right appears to be speaking. She carries a spear on her left arm and wears an Ionic chiton, tied, and a himation over her shoulders, aegis with scaly surface reaching to below waist, bracelets, and a helmet with raised cheek-pieces. The cheek-pieces of this helmet are decorated with a snake moving upwards; those of the other helmet have scale pattern; and in both the crest is supported by the arched back of a snake, whose head and tail project in front and at back. On right of Achilles a woman stands to front, holding the shield which Thetis has brought (device, in silhouette, a woman to front in chiton with apoptygma, looking to left, and holding at full extent of both arms a festooned taenia); she covers her face with her right at the sight of the goddesses. She wears sleeved chiton, himation, bracelets and earrings, and an opisthosphendone. On right stands a bearded old man looking on, leaning on his staff, draped in a mantle. The earrings have triple pendants.
(b) Nereids with arms, and a Greek. The Greek, wreathed, stands to left with right resting on spear, closely draped in a mantle, which passes over the back of his head. Facing him are two Nereids, one holding a cuirass (side view), the other, holding a sword in her right (the scabbard decorated with zigzags), raises with her left the edge of her chiton; the alternate flaps of the cuirass and the chape of the scabbard are black. On right a third Nereid stands to left, holding up in her right a helmet of different form; in her left a sword, hanging by its belt, drawn entirely in silhouette, and against her left arm a spear; all three wear sleeved chiton and himation; the one on left wears a radiated fillet, the next one a dotted saccos and bracelets, and the one on right a radiated fillet and bracelets. On right ΚΑΛΟΣ, καλός. Beneath the handle on left of a, an altar in form of an Ionic capital, with volutes and necking. Beneath the other handle, a square base, on which is a helmet to left, the crest ornamented with a snake in light brown.
Purple fillets, inscriptions, and wreaths in b. Brown upper folds of chiton of Thetis and of two Nereids. The hair and beard of the old man and his fillet are indicated in brown outline; the hair of Achilles, in single wavy brown lines. Eye in transition type. Below, a continuous band of key pattern; above each side, a strip of linked lotus buds. On the lower part of each handle, an inverted palmette. Around the neck, and below the design, a thin line of purple. The spears overlap the border.
- Production date
- 470BC (circa)
Height: 36.15 centimetres
- Curator's comments
BM Cat. Vases
Mon. dell’ Inst. xi, pl. 8; Ann. dell’ Inst. 1879, pp. 237-42 (Engelmann); Heydemann, Nereiden mit d. Waffen d. Achill. p. 8 and p. 19; id. 3tes Hallische Winckelmannsfestftr. p. 113, note 303; Robert, Bild und Lied, p. 141.
Engelmann names the woman on a as Briseis. If so, this implies a prolepsis in the story, in which Briseis was not restored to Achilles until after the episode of the arms (?).
Attributed to Fikellura grave 254, based on evidence from Biliotti's marking on the object (grave number on label), Biliotti's Kamiros diary, Kamiros tomb list, British Museum register, departmental Kamiros index card. Description in Biliotti's Kamiros diary: Amphora large – red human figures on black ground. Subject cannot be distinguished, it being broken in several pieces, the word KALOS is written on it (1 broken).
Attributions to find-spots are based on (1) Alfred Biliotti’s diary kept during excavations at Kamiros between November 1863 and June 1864, which records the contents of two votive deposits and over 300 graves; (2) entries in the Museum Register, often stipulating the find-spots of individual objects excavated by Biliotti; (3) the Kamiros tomb list, produced around the same time as his entries in the Museum Register. It lists the contents of each grave and votive deposit, along with their corresponding registration numbers; (4) the Kamiros index cards, written by Donald Bailey in the 1960’s. These mainly record the contents of graves from the Fikellura cemetery and are organised according to tomb group. All archives are kept in the Department of Greece and Rome. In addition, Reynold Higgins’ Catalogue of the Terracottas in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1954) has been checked for attributions to the Fikellura cemetery.
- On display (G69/dc40)
- Exhibition history
2019-2020 21 Nov-8 Mar, London, BM, SEG, Troy
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number