Curator‘s Comments

The Greeks used amphorae for storing food and drink and sometimes—as was probably the case here—for rituals. On one side the hero Herakles, wearing a lion skin and brandishing a club, battles the Amazons, legendary women warriors shown with tall plumed helmets and round shields. One Amazon has already fallen, but another prepares to thrust her spear. On the other side of the vase, gods gather to listen to Apollo playing the kithara, a lute-like instrument. Behind him stand Artemis, identified by her bow and arrows, and Hermes, holding his staff. Facing Apollo is a woman who may be his mother, Leto. Behind her stand Dionysus, god of wine and revelry, holding a vine, and a satyr, who carries a drinking horn.

Amphora (Herakles Battling the Amazons and A Gathering of the Gods)

Unknown artist. Greek, Athenian, 525–500 B.C.E.

Amphora (Herakles Battling the Amazons and A Gathering of the Gods), n.d.

Glazed terra cotta, black figure


ID Number: SC 1999:56