IN THE Spring of 1930, Miss Annie May Hegeman of Washington very generously lent to the University Museum three vases, one of which, an Attic black-figured panel amphora, is reproduced in Figures 1 and 2. On the obverse is represented Poseidon hurling the island Nisyros at the giant Polybotes; on the reverse, a quadriga full face. The vase was purchased in Rome by Miss Hegeman’s mother some thirty years ago and remained in her residence in Washington until last year. The extensive repainting which the vase had undergone was removed with the owner’s kind consent.
The amphora is of the early type shown in Caskey, Geometry of Greek Vases, page 59, number 23. On the neck, and again on the foot are two lines of red paint; above the foot a ray pattern. Two lines of red once encircled the vase just below the panels. Above the panels are lotos and palmette friezes, irregularly drawn and embellished with both incised lines and red color. Around each panel is a fine line of black glaze which below the figures serves as a ground line. The portions once red are: on the obverse picture, Poseidon’s hair, the greaves of the giants, folds of their tunics, and, on the reverse, the hair of the charioteer, the entire manes of the outside horses, a strip along the manes of the inside horses, and the charioteer’s robe, unless possibly the latter was originally white. White dots in rows adorn the giants’ helmets and in groups of four, their tunics. There are no traces of fauna on the island Nisyros. The shields of the giants are shown in profile; their white blazons of bulls’ heads are cut in half, according to the old convention. White trefoils are suspended from the breast-bands of the horses on the reverse.
Nearly fifty years ago, Overbeck1 listed the vases in which Poseidon appears in conflict with the giants. On the first five of the black-figured vases of his list, Poseidon appears with other deities; in the last eight, lie is represented in single combat as on our vase. To this list Heinrich Bulle2 adds one fragment. There may also be added the vase in Copenhagen3 (which belies Overbeck’s statement that only on red-figured vases is the fauna of the island depicted) and an amphora in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. Number 14 of Overbeck’s list is now in the Fitzwilliam Museum.4
The vase dates from about 530 B.C.
A second vase lent by Miss Hegeman is the stamnos of Figures 3 to 5. It has been extensively restored; the neck is entirely modern, including all but one or two small patches of the tongue pattern on the shoulder; missing portions of the pictures have been supplied by pieces of unpainted pottery cut to the right size, covered with fine plaster and painted; the foot is ancient but does not belong; much of the area above the foot is plaster. The curve of the lower part of the vase is, however, correctly rendered on the evidence of one original piece which extends nearly to the base. The palmette of Figure 3 is original except for the tips of the lowest petals. The antique parts of the pictures are shown in Miss Baker’s drawings, Figures 4 and 5.
On both obverse and reverse are painted scenes of farewell; on the one a warrior leaving his young wife and father to go to war; on the other a man taking his farewell of two women, as he starts on a journey. For the departure of the young hero a libation has been poured. He stands, phiale in hand, his full panoply of war adding splendor to the simple scene. His accoutrement includes spear, sword, corslet, shield, helmet and greaves but, as often in scenes of farewell, the corslet is unfastened and the helmet is in his hand. The girl on the left, a statuesque figure, extends her left hand toward her husband; in her right she holds the oinochoe from which the libation has been poured. Between the warrior and his young wife is written retrograde. That the third figure of the scene was a man is shown by the portions of the staff which crosses the warrior’s shield. Traces of alterations of the preliminary sketch, done in dilute color may be seen near the warrior’s knees. The artist first planned to draw the legs of his figure straight with the tops of the greaves higher and close to the thighs.
On the reverse [Figure 5] the figure of a girl is preserved, except for the crown of her head; she extends her hand toward a central bearded figure facing her. Of the figure of the second girl, on the left, only head and lower portions of drapery remain.
The style of our artist may be deduced from this vase, fragmentary as it is. His figures are tall and imposing but impassive. His men and women look alike and, unless the men are armed, are dressed alike in Ionic chitons with voluminous folds and billowing sleeves and over them himations, which fall in impressive lines, nearly alike in all his figures. He has a penchant for women’s headdresses, for the ways in which locks of hair fall and for the various methods in which kerchiefs are tied. The necks of his figures are uncommonly large. Hands are expressionless, square when opened, fat when closed. The beard of the warrior on the obverse is full but suspended, as it were, by a narrow band on the cheeks, so that it looks like a false beard.
The artist is easy to identify; he is the painter of the pointed amphora in Munich on which is pictured the rape of Oreithyia by Boreas, and of its replica in Berlin. Mr. Beazley named this artist the Oreithyia painter and in his Attische Vasenmaler5 attributed six vases to his hand. In his Vases in Poland6 he added three more,7 but one, the Louvre pelike, was subsequently withdrawn. The style of the Oreithyia painter will be recognized in our vase if the young wife on the obverse picture is compared with the figure of Deianeira on the London Hydria;8 or if the head and hand of the girl on the reverse of our vase is compared with those of the girl on the right in the obverse picture of the Berlin amphora. The beard of the man on the reverse of the Munich amphora closely resembles that of our warrior. The same retrograde inscription as is found on our vase occurs between figures on the London Hydria.
Mr. Beazley has kindly confirmed this attribution and has pointed out that the obverse of our vase is a free replica of the reverse of the stamnos in Edinburgh, which is number four in his list. I am indebted to Mr. Alexander O’Curle, Director of the Royal Scottish Museum, for permission to publish this vase and to Mrs. Beazley for the privilege of reproducing her excellent photographs of it [Figures 6 to 9].
The Edinburgh vase is less a stock piece than the Hegeman stamnos. In the obverse picture a youth lays hands on a woman. He wears a chlamys and petasos and is therefore a traveller, and he comes armed. The woman moves to the right to escape him. This central pair is flanked by two onlookers, a girl at the left who stretches out her hand in protest of the action of the youth, an older man on the right who stands quietly by.
It is perhaps wiser not to try to name the figures in the scene, but it may be pointed out that the picture might be considered a milder version of that on the obverse of a stamnos, E446, in the British Museum, by the painter of the Yale Oinochoe9 which has been held, but hardly proved, to represent Orestes’ murder of his mother. Two other vases painted by the same artist,11 a contemporary of the Oreithyia painter, represent again an armed man threatening a woman. An unarmed man seizing a woman who might therefore better be Hermione than Clytaemnestra is painted by the Deepdene painter on a stamnos in the Louvre.11 In the decade after Salamis some ten years before Aeschylos’ great triology was produced, when works of art both major and minor were representing the great themes of the Oresteia,12 it is tempting to believe that such pictures represented the personages of these tales. The connection of the Boreas and Oreithyia vases with the stage has already been pointed out.13
It is, however, the reverse picture of the Edinburgh vase [Figure 6] which chiefly concerns us. The scene corresponds closely with the obverse picture [Figure 5] of our vase, with only such minor variations (the departing hero is beardless and carries no sword) as show that the one is not a slavish copy of the other. Two repetitions of pictures in a total list of eight vases—to omit the Tubingen fragment—imply that our artist was given to producing variants of his favorite themes.14
1 Griechische Kunstmythologie, II, Abteilung III, p. 328. ↪
2 Roscher, Lex. der Myth., s. v. Poseidon, p. 2867, fig. 5. ↪
3 C.V., Cop. 3, p1. 105, 1. ↪
4 C.V., Cambridge, pl. XI, 1. ↪
5 pp. 292-3. ↪
6 p. 19. ↪
7 J.H.S., 50, p. 161. Mr. Beazley writes that the ‘I think’ may now be omitted. ↪
8 Mon. Linc., IX, p. 22, fig. 4. ↪
9 C.V., Br. Mus. 3, Ic, p1. 22, 1. ↪
10 C.V., U.S.A., pl. 182, and A.J.A., 1924, p. 285; and C.V., Belgique, pl. 341 a. ↪
11 C.V., France, 90, 8. ↪
12 Cf. F. & R., II, pp. 77 and 78, figs. 41 and 42. See also Séchan, Études sur la tragédie grecque, pp. 86 and 87. ↪
13 F. & R., Text II, p. 189. ↪
14 On the subject of variants and replicas, see von Mercklin in Röm. Mitt., 38. pp. 105.106, footnote 2. ↪