Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Pottery: red-figured pelike.
    (a) Birth of Athene. In the centre Zeus seated en face on a throne, the legs of which have Ionic capitals; below the volutes is a band of dotted chequer pattern; below this a star, and an ornament consisting of a double palmette. It has a high cross-rail on which the feet of Zeus rest. He is bearded and has long hair looped up and wreathed with laurel; he extends his right arm to the left (only the thumb and two first fingers are shown) and looks to the right, holding upright in his left hand his sceptre. Over him is inscribed IEVΣ, Zeus. From his head springs a diminutive figure of Athene running to right, with right foot thrown back, long hair, high crested helmet with cheek-pieces, long tied chiton, and aegis with fringe of snakes, which she extends on her left arm as a shield; in her right hand she carries her spear couched. Over her is inscribed ΑΘΕΝΑ, Αθήνα. On the left of Zeus, Hephaestos, a bearded wreathed figure in a short tied chiton, carrying his double-headed axe over his left shoulder, moves away, looking up at Athene, and raising his right hand with a gesture of surprise; he has short rough hair and beard. Over him, ΕΦΑΙΣΤΟΣ, Ήφαιστοσ. On the left Poseidon stands, looking on, a bearded figure in a long sleeved chiton and himation, with his trident along his right arm, and hair falling to his neck, confined with a fillet (left red); above him ΠΟΣΕIΔOΝ, Ποσειδών. On the right of Zeus Eileithyia moves away, looking back, in an attitude parallel to that of Hephaestos; she has a Doric chiton with apoptygma and a border down the side, a girdle with trefoil ends, and her hair is looped up with a fillet (left red); above her is inscribed (retr.) Έίλείθυ(ι)α. On the right Artemis, with long hair passed through a roll, long sleeved chiton with apoptygma, bracelets, and a fillet, approaches, looking up at Athene, and raises her right hand with a gesture of surprise. In her left, hanging, at her side, is a bow. Above her (retr.) Άρτεμις.
    Beneath the left handle Nike, a small winged figure in long sleeved chiton and himation with embattled border, approaches rapidly, holding out her right hand.
    (b) Continuation of a. On the right two figures move to the right. The first is a draped youthful figure with hair looped up over his ears and wearing a wreath. The second is Dionysos, bearded, with long wavy hair wreathed with ivy, a long sleeved chiton and himation, and holding a thyrsos upright in his left hand; over him is inscribed ΔΙΟΝΥΣΟΣ, Δίονυσος. He looks back at a bearded, draped man, bald on the crown, and wearing a wreath, who stands en face, resting his right on a staff, but who looks at Dionysos. On the left an old man stands to left, draped in a bordered mantle, and resting his right on a staff; his hair and beard have been indicated in white, which is now nearly faded. The surface around the heads of these two figures has been injured and revarnished. On the bottom of the foot a monogram is painted in black glazed colour.
    Large style. Purple wreath of Hephaestos and youth in b and berries and stalk of wreaths of Zeus and Dionysos; also berries of thyrsos, fillets, bracelets, and inscriptions. White hair of old man in b. Brown inner markings, ends of hair and beard, pupil of eye, and folds of Athene's chiton. Eye in developed profile type, with eyelashes above and along lower lid. Below, a continuous band, pairs of maeanders set alternate ways, separated by red cross squares. Above each side, a band of palmettes; the design in a overlaps the upper border.


  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 460BC-450BC (circa)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Ware

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 41.5 centimetres
    • Diameter: 31 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

  • Curator's comments

    BM Cat. Vases

    Cat. Beugnot, no. I; cf. Bull. dell’ Inst. 1834, p. 12, and 1838, p. 53. Gerhard, A. V. i, pl. 3-4, p. 6; Él. Cér. i, pll. 64-5, p. 211; Birch, Anc. Pottery2, plate facing p. 203; Harrison and Verrall, p. 433, fig. 39; Roscher, s.v. Hephaistos, p. 2062 (left hand group in a); Forchhammer, Die Geburt der Ath. plate; Schneider, Geburt der Athena, p. 11; Overbeck, Kunstmyth. (Zeus, p. 181, A; Poseidon, p. 309, o); Loeschcke in Arch. Zeit. 1876, p. 118; Heydemann in Rhein. Mus. N.F. 36, p. 466, n. 4; Kretschmer, Vaseninschr. p. 157; C.I.Gr. 7403.
    For the monogram on the foot, see Old Catalogue, pl. B741*.


  • Bibliography

    • Old Catalogue 741* bibliographic details
    • Vase E410 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G20a/dc8

  • Exhibition history


    2016, 4 May-4 Sep, Frankfurt am Main, Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung, Athens: The Triumph of Imagery

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated events

    • Associated Event: Birth of Athena
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number


Pottery: red-figured pelike: Birth of Athena (back: Dionysos and others).

Pottery: red-figured pelike: Birth of Athena (back: Dionysos and others).

Image description



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Object reference number: GAA7253

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