Pitcher (oinochoe) fragment

Greek, South Italian
Classical Period
about 400–380 B.C.

Place of Manufacture: Italy, Apulia

Catalogue Raisonné

Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 011.


14.6 cm (5 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure

Not On View


Europe, The Ancient World



Death of Aktaion
(a) Aktaion and dogs
(b) Head of satyr with horns.

Two Fragments of an Oinochoe (shape 3)
about 400-380 B.C.
Death of Aktaion. On a larger fragment (A), Aktaion, wearing a baldric and a cloak around his shoulders, falls to the right, attacked by three of his hounds. Red blood flows from his thighs. His head, right arm and shoulder, and left hand are missing. A female figure is at the left, moving away from Aktaion, her legs and part of her patterned chiton-skirt remaining, the latter having a fringe and a design of red and black chevrons. Part of her wrist may be preserved to the left of Aktaion’s cloak. The smaller fragment (B), from the right side of the scene, preserves the head of Pan, facing left and holding up one or both hands.
Part of the right lateral frame of chevrons is preserved to the right of Pan’s head. The groundline consists of groups of maeanders to right alternating with saltire-squares.
Beazley suggested that the female may be Lyssa, the personification of madness, who appears in several representations of this subject (Caskey and Beazley, II, p. 86). Trendall and Webster (Illustrations) note that Aeschylus puts Lyssa on the stage to drive the maenads mad in the “Xantriai”. In the playwright’s “Toxotides” the Death of Aktaion is described in a messenger’s speech; if Lyssa was shown on stage and was the inspiration for the vase-painters to include her in scenes of the hero’s death, she was probably shown in a dialogue with Artemis, who urged her to turn the dogs on their master; see Trendall and Webster, “Illustrations”, pl 62; and Kossatz-Deissmann, “Dramen”, pp. 142-165, pls. 27, 2-32. Pan appears in several paintings of the Death of Aktaion, as do satyrs, perhaps as symbols of the wild, uncivilized setting and of Aktaion’s transformation from man to beast. For an example with Lyssa, Pan, and a satyr, compare a volute-krater in Taranto by the Gravina Painter (RVAp, I, p. 32, no. 2/1, pl. 8, 1-2); for Lyssa and Pan, but no satyr, compare Gothenburg R.K. 13-71 (RVAp, II, p. 476, np. 18/7. l.169, 3-4); for Pan and a satyr, without Lyssa, compare a chous by the Felton Painter in Taranto (RVAp, I, p. 175, no. 7/63, pl. 57, 2) and the volute-krater Naples Stg. 31 (RVAp, I, p. 203, no. 8/100) Several versions of Aktaion’s death include Pan but neither Lyssa nor a satyr; for example, the situla Bloomington 70.97.1 (RVAp. I, p. 203, no. 8/100). Several versions of Aktaion’s death include Pan but neither Lyssa nor a satyr; for example, the situla Bloomington 70.97.1 (RVAp, II, p. 478, no. 18/11). For the subject, see P. Jacobsthal, “Marburger Jahrbuch für Kunstwissen-schaft 5 (1929), pp. 1-23; K. Schauenburg, Jdl 84 (1969), pp. 29-46;L. Guimond, LIMC, I, 1, pp. 454-469; I, 2, pls. 346-363. For Lyssa, see A. Kossatz-Deissmann, LIMC, VI, 1, pp. 322-329; VI, 2, pls. 166-168.


By 1903: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought in Tarentum where it is said to have been found.); purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren, March 24, 1903

Credit Line

Francis Bartlett Donation of 1900