Two-handled jar (amphora)

Archaic Period
about 550–540 B.C.
The Painter of Munich 1393

Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Black Figure

On View

Greek Classical Gallery (Gallery 215B)


The Ancient World



Side A: Amphorae transported in a cart drawn by a mule team and accompanied by armed men. Although this picture of amphorae being transported in a cart drawn by a team of mules seems to represent an everyday event, the presence of armed men and the ithyphallic mule point to a different interpretation. Mules in this condition usually appear with Dionysos, but the wine-god is not present.

Side B: Six armed men approach each other in two groups of three. The three on the left seem to be waving their spears about, while the three on the right are advancing in order, and the one in front reaches out to his adversary’s chin, a gesture of supplication. The three men on the right are also somewhat smaller in stature. These visual clues may suggest that the men on the right are surrendering to the men on the left. Inscriptions between the figures indicate the desire to name the figures, but the letters are illegible, so these are most likely “mock inscriptions”.

The scene on Side A has been interpreted as a representation of the introduction of wine to Attica by Icarius, to whom the god Dionysos was said to have revealed the art of wine-making. The scene on Side B has been interpreted as a depiction of Icarius’ imminent death at the hands of his fellow townspeople, who believed that they had been poisoned.

Condition: Vessel is missing a significant portion of the body.


By 1979: with Fritz Bürki, 76 Thurgauerstrasse. Zurich, Switzerland; purchased by MFA from Fritz Bürki, December 19, 1979

Credit Line

Classical Department Exchange Fund