Drinking cup (kylix)

Late Archaic Period
510–500 B.C.
Potter Pamphaios

Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens


Overall: 41.4 x 13.2 cm (12 3/8 x 5 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure technique

On View

Daily Life in Ancient Greece Gallery (Gallery 212A-B)


The Ancient World



Eight nude, beardless youths are engaged in battle. At the left a helmeted youth wearing a tunic pulled down to his waist sounds a trumpet used to signal commands to hoplites. Another figure, who is nude except for his greaves and raised helmet, kneels on one knee and holds a spear and a shield close to the ground. He is followed by another who is attired in the same way, rushing aggressively to the right. A fallen youth lies at his feet with his helmet raised, but he still clings to his shield perhaps signaling that he is still clinging to life. Another youth, naked except for his helmet and greaves, rushes with his spear and shield aggressively to the left. Another follows in the same way. A second fallen warrior falls to the right and his helmet falls off. The complete loss of the helmet is a metaphor for death in Greek art. The last figure on the right is a nude archer, wearing greaves and a helmet. The Greek name “Panphaios” inscribed above the image (PANPHAIOS). It is difficult to find any strict formation in this battle, and indeed the limitations of Greek ceramic painting do not allow for complicated renderings of the phalanx. Each figure instead represents different stages of the battle or different units of the military. After phalanxes met, battles in literature often dissolve into a series of duels, but here hoplites and an archer and trumpeter move forward, over fallen comrades, to meet the nearest enemies in an asymmetrical composition. Etruscan letters incised on the bottom of the foot may refer to the price of the kylix on the market in ancient Italy.

Exterior side B: Youths arm themselves for battle. From the left is a bearded man holding a staff in coversation with a nude boy, who gestures to him. He holds a spear and a shield. A woman carries a shield which has a cat as its shield device, and a helmet to a boy who is putting on his greaves. Another woman moves to the left, carrying a spear, and a fully armed soldier follows her. His shield device is a frontal face of a satyr. A bird flies by above a woman who sits in a chair, wrapped in drapery and holding a helmet. Above the image the Greek inscription “made (it)” (EPOIESEN).

Interior: Bearded satyr running to right, looking back. Greek inscription “Pamphaios made (it)” (PANPHAIOS EPOIESEN).

Etruscan letters incised on the bottom of the foot may refer to the price of the kylix on the market in ancient Italy.

Condition: On under surface of foot the inscription. Repaired with slight restoration.


"Panphaios made (it)" (PANPHAIOS EPOIESEN)



By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: said to have been discovered at Cervetri); 1895: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren for $ 29,857.37 (this figure is the total price for MFA 95.9-95.174)

Credit Line

Catharine Page Perkins Fund