Two-handled jar (amphora)
about 530-520 B.C.
the Three-Line Group
Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens
CVA Boston 1, pl. 36; 38, 1-2.
Height: 34.4 cm (13 9/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Ceramic, Black Figure
Not On View
Both sides, gigantomachy.
A: Herakles drives the chariot of Zeus. Hermes walks ahead, showing the way, and Athena follows. Under the chariot lies a wounded giantess or Amazon. Inscribed ΗΕΡΑΚVΕϞ (“Herakles”), IEVϞ (“Zeus”), HEΡMEϞ (“Hermes”), and AΘENAIA (“Athena”).
B: similar scene with unidentified bearded charioteer and helmeted warrior in chariot. Underneath, a dying, bearded warrior. Poseidon strides forth with his trident; a warrior with high-crested Corinthian helmet (Ares?) follows. Inscribed HIΠON KALOϞ (“Hipon is beautiful”) above Poseidon.
Under handles: woman seated on a folding stool; bearded man seated on a block or stone.
This amphora has the sloping shoulder and narrow neck of the vases given as prizes in the Panathenaic Games at Athens, but it has the pattern work of a standard neck-amphora. Athena, Zeus, Hermes, and Poseidon (identified by his trident, the others are labeled) are battling the Giants for control of heaven and earth. Although Herakles did not become a god until long after this primordial battle, he assisted in the battle.
Before 1883, Alessandro Castellani (b. 1823 - d. 1883), Rome; March 17-April 10, 1884, posthumous Castellani sale, Castellani Palace, Rome, lot 58. By 1897, Alfred Morrison (b. 1821 - d. 1897), Fonthill, Tisbury, Wiltshire; June 29-30, 1898, posthumous Alfred Morrison sale, Christie, Manson & Woods sale, London, lot 282. By 1901, Edward Perry Warren (b. 1860 - d. 1928), London; 1901, sold by Edward Perry Warren to the MFA. (Accession date: December 1, 1901)
Henry Lillie Pierce Fund