Pitcher (oinochoe) with battle of the Greeks and Amazons

Greek, South Italian
Early Hellenistic Period
about 320–310 B.C.
The Helios Group

Place of Manufacture: Italy, Apulia

Catalogue Raisonné

Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 066.


Height: 45.5 cm (17 15/16 in.); diameter: 18.3 cm (7 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure

Not On View


Europe, The Ancient World



Principal design: Battle of Greeks and Amazons. In center an Amazon and a Greek, mounted on white horses; an Amazon prostrate on the ground.
The handle has female heads in relief at the mouth and base. Both modeled heads are glazed back, the lip is undecorated, and the grooved foot has a tall, broad stem.

Oinochoe (shape 1)
Attributed to the Helios Group
about 320-310 B.C.
Battle of Greeks and Amazons. In the center, back to back, an Amazon and a Greek are mounted on rearing white horses. The Amazon wears a short chiton, embades, a sleeved tunic (red with white spots), a belt with white dots, and a yellow Phrygian cap. Holding a spear in her right hand, she lunges at a Greek standing at the left who holds a spear in his right hand and a shield on his left arm. The shield is turned with the interior toward the viewer, so that the white porpax and antilabe are visible. He wears a yellow Phyrgian helmet with a red crest and two plumes, a chlamys, a yellow cuirass with pteryges, and yellow greaves; on the ground between his feet is an Amazon’s cap, with the opening turned toward the viewer. A second Amazon is prostrate on the ground at the right, about to be run through by the mounted Greek, who raises a spear in his right hand, its upper shaft lost in the ornament on the shoulder. The Greek wears a short chiton, a chlamys, a yellow Phrygian helment without crest or plumes, and a white cuirass. The fallen Amazon wears a short chiton, yellow Phrygian cap, shoes, and red trousers with white spots. She holds a white pelta, like the one lying on the dotted groundline at left, with lacy designs in dilute glaze (a central floral framed by tendrils). Her hatchet has fallen on the ground by her side. Floating in the field at far left and center top are two rosettes; a plant grows at lower left.
A dense complex of palmettes and scrolling tendrils covers the back of the vase. On the neck are white rays beneath a band of white wave-pattern framed by stripes. There is a band of rosettes with white-tipped petals on the shoulder. The groundline consists of linked maeanders to right.
The vases of the Helios Group, all oinochoai, are by late followers of the Baltimore Painter. Compare the Amazonomachy on Leipzig T 956 (RVAp, II, p. 932, no. 28/124). The Boston vase is particularly close to the White Sakkos Painter.


By 1889: with Pio Marinangeli (said to be from Puglie?); March 1889: purchased by R. Lanciani from Pio Marinangeli; purchased by MFA from R. Lanciani, 1889

There is a problem with this provenance. Registrar's Register seemed to give the provenance as Lanciani and the vase falls within the group purchased from Marinangeli. Are we sure it is a Bigelow gift as the credit line and Robinson vase catalogue indicated? The Bigelow credit line and provenance of said to be from Ruvo were carried on from the Robinson catalogue into the South Italian vase catalogue.

Credit Line

Gift of H. J. Bigelow