Water jar (hydria) with the apotheosis of Herakles

Archaic Period
about 560–550 B.C.
the Archippe Painter

Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens

Catalogue Raisonné

CVA Boston 2, pl. 69, 2-4; 70


Height: 42 cm (16 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Black Figure

Not On View


The Ancient World



The processional scene on the main panel depicts the apotheosis of Herakles. Above and below the panel are animal friezes.

In the center of the main panel, Herakles faces left and stands behind a quadriga. He wears his lion skin and carries his club and a bow. Under the bellies of the horses is the inscription ‘Herakles’ (HERAKLES). Iolaus, armed, drives the chariot. In front of his face is the Greek inscription, ‘Ioleos’ (IOLEOS) in retrograde. At left, Hermes and Demeter lead the group. To the right of each figure are the inscriptions ‘Hermes’ (HERMES) and ‘Demeter’ (DEMETER). At right follow Artemis and Aphrodite. The inscriptions ‘Artemis’ (ARTEMIS) and ‘Aphrodite’ (APHRODITE) are to the left of each figure. Both goddesses wear a peplos and hold a wreath.

At the center of the upper animal frieze, two seated sphinxes confront each other with their heads turned backwards. A lion, cock, and siren are depicted after each sphinx. Between the sphinxes and lions are nonsense vertical inscriptions. On the right (from the top) OTEUZP and on the left ZREXZI. The lower frieze also has an animal pattern, but differs from the upper in that it runs continuously around the vase. It consists of two lions, two stags, three panthers, and two goats.

Broken in various places and mended. The neck and lip are restored. (Beazley)


"Hermes," "Demeter," "Herakles," "Iolaos," "Artemis," "Aphrodite"
On the shoulder:
On the left, from the top, ΟΤΕΥΣΠ
On the right, from the top, ΣΠΕΧΣΙ

In the body, all in retrograde inscriptions:


By 1967, Robert E. Hecht (b. 1919 – d. 2012), Rome; 1967, sold by Robert E. Hecht to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 13, 1967)

Credit Line

William E. Nickerson Fund