Achilles and Ajax playing a board game
(Achilles on the left; Ajax on the right, between them stands Athena.)
Black-figure neck-amphora. Attic.
Attributed to the Leagros Group Painter.
Clay.
Ca. 510 BCE.
Height 45.3—45.8 cm.
Inv. No. 86.AE.81.Los Angeles, John Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa in Malibu

Achilles and Ajax playing a board game.

(Achilles on the left; Ajax on the right, between them stands Athena.)
Black-figure neck-amphora. Attic.
Attributed to the Leagros Group Painter.
Clay.
Ca. 510 BCE.
Height 45.3—45.8 cm.
Inv. No. 86.AE.81.

Los Angeles, John Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa in Malibu

Description:
Two warriors sit playing a board game, while the goddess Athena stands in front of the board and gestures. The warriors have their armor and weapons ready, as if just pausing during a break in the conflict. Based on similar scenes with inscriptions, the two warriors can be identified as Ajax and Achilles, the leading men in the Greek army. This scene was very popular in Athenian vase-painting of the late 500s B.C. and was a favorite of the painters in the Leagros Group. Some scholars believe that this mythological scene also served as a contemporary political parable on the value of staying alert, since the tyrant Peisistratos had been able to take control of the city of Athens while the army was distracted. The back of the vase depicts three hoplites, or warriors, in a line. Such files of hoplites are rather unusual in vase-painting, and this depiction may have been meant to relate to the scene on the front of the vase. These hoplites may be Greeks on the march to counter a Trojan attack, while Ajax and Achilles are notified by Athena. Such an interpretation would explain Athena’s unusually prominent position on this rendition of the scene.
Credits:
(cc) 2019. Photo, text: The J. Paul Getty Museum (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.
Keywords: κεραμικά ceramics clay terracotta ceramica keramik céramique ελλάδα grecia graecia hellas greece griechenland grèce αττική attika attica attic attique technique tecnica vasenmalerei μελανόμορφη black-figure black-figured a figure nere schwarzfigurige schwarzfiguriger à figures noires αμφορέας amphora anfora amphore neck collo distinto halsamphora col ελληνική μυθολογία mythologia graeca greek mythology mitologia greca griechische mythologie grecque θεά αθηνά παλλὰς ἀθηνᾶ ἀθήνη athene athena pallas goddess dea atena göttin déesse athéna athéné ἀχιλλεύς αχιλλέας achilleus achilles hero eroe achille heros achill héros αἴᾱς τελαμώνιος μέγας αίας ο ajax the great telamonian aiace telamonio held aias der telamonier große τρωικός πόλεμος bellum troianum trojan war guerra di troia trojanischer krieg guerre de troie ensis sword spada schwert épée ξίφος σπαθί vagina scabbard sheath fodero guaina scheide fourreau θήκη armour armor armatura rüstung armure πανοπλία crista crest crested helmet elmo crestato kammhelm casque crête κράνος λοφίο aspis circular round shield scudo rotondo greco griechischer rundschild rundem schild bouclier rond grec ἀσπίς ασπίδα barba barbatum beard bearded man uomo barbuto bart bärtiger mann barbe homme barbu γενειάδα γενειοφόρος άνθρωπος knemis knemides ocrea ocreae greave greaves schiniere schinieri gambiera gambieri beinschiene beinschienen cnémide cnémides κνημῖδες hasta spear lancia speer lance δόρυ aegis aigis ègida egida ägis égide αἰγίς αιγίδα αιγίς palmette palmetta corinthian corinzio korinthische helm corinthien κορινθιακό leagros group painter pittore gruppo leagros-gruppe-maler εργαστήριο του λεάγρου chiton khiton long chitone lungo langer χιτών warrior guerriero griechisch krieger guerrier and playing board game e intenti un gioco da tavolo und beim brettspiel et jouent aux dés και αίαντας παίζουν πεσσούς inv no 86.ae.81