Alcmene appealing to Zeus against Amphitryon
Red-figured bell-krater. Paestum.
Attributed to the Python Painter.
Clay.
Ca. 360—320 BCE.
Height 56.5, diam. 51.5 cm, weight 12.5 kg.
Inv. No. 1890,0210.1.London, British Museum

Alcmene appealing to Zeus against Amphitryon.

Red-figured bell-krater. Paestum.
Attributed to the Python Painter.
Clay.
Ca. 360—320 BCE.
Height 56.5, diam. 51.5 cm, weight 12.5 kg.
Inv. No. 1890,0210.1.

London, British Museum

Origin:
From St. Agata dei Goti. Purchased from George James Howard, 9th Earl of Carlisle, 1890.
Description:
Pottery: red-figured bell-krater (wine-bowl).

Designs in panels, red on black ground, with accessories of white and purple. Above the designs, ivy-wreath and egg-moulding; below the designs, maeander and chequer.

(a) Alcmene appealing to Zeus against Amphitryon: In the centre is Alcmene, seated to left on an altar, which is painted white with egg-moulding along the top and an imitation of triglyphs below (markings in yellow); in front of it is erected a pyre of round logs. She has long curls, necklace and bracelets, an embroidered veil over her head, long chiton and apoptygma embroidered with chequer, palmettes, and other patterns, girdle with white studs, and sandals; her right hand is raised in supplication. Above the design is incised: ΑΛΚΜΗΝΗ, Ἀλκμήνη. On the right is Amphitryon to left setting fire to the pyre with a torch in each hand; he is bearded, with long hair, short embroidered chiton with engrailed and palmette patterns and border of white dots, embroidered chlamys with border of chequer over his arms, endromides, and purple cross-belt from which hangs a sheathed sword; above him is incised: ΑΜΦΙΤΡΥΩΝ, Ἀμφιτρύων. On the left is Antenor starting back to left, looking to right, beardless, with long curls, white pilos, short sleeved embroidered chiton with borders of engrailed and wave patterns, girdle and cross-belt with astragalus pattern, embroidered chlamys with border of dots, fastened with a fibula in front, and endromides; between his legs is a fallen yellow prochoos; above him is incised: ΑΝΤΗΝΩΡ, Ἀντήνωρ. Over the altar is a purple and white rainbow enclosing a black space which is filled with white dots, representing drops of the rain sent in answer to Alcmene’s prayer; below the pyre are two white thunderbolts, as if cast by Zeus at Amphitryon and Antenor. On each side of the rainbow, on a higher level (indicated by a wavy white line ending in a palmette), is the upper half of a female figure pouring water out of a hydria, which is indicated by black and white streaks; these two figures are the Hyades. The one on the left has long hair, a broad purple fillet with white chevron pattern, necklace, long purple chiton embroidered with white dots, and white girdle; the other has her hair tied in a club with a purple fillet embroidered with white dots, which goes twice round her head; otherwise she is attired as the first. On the left, on the same level, is the upper part of Zeus to right, bearded, with long curls, wreath, and drapery over left shoulder with chequer border, in right hand a sceptre, left extended; he is inscribed ΙΕΥΣ, Ζέυς. On the right is Eos to left, with hair gathered in a knot at the back under a purple cap embroidered with white dots, earrings, necklace, long chiton and apoptygma, embroidered with palmettes and engrailed border; in right hand she holds up a mirror; above her is inscribed ΑΩΣ, ώς. Under the lip of the vase is incised: ΠΥΘΩΝΕΓΡΑΦΕ, Πυθων ἐγραφε.

Literature:
Monuments publies par la section francaise de l’Inst. Arch. pl. 10, and vol. i. p. 487 ff., pl. Β; J.H.S. xi. pls. 6, 7, p. 225, and vi. p. 40; Duruy, History of Greece, iii. p. 513; Roscher, i. pp. 247, 2755; Ann. dell’ Inst. 1872, p. 7; Jahn, Vasensamml. zu München, p. ccxxxi., note 1445; Welcker, Alte Denkm. iii. p. 300; Hirt, Bilderbuch, p. 21, and Gesch. d. bildenden Künste, p. 264; Waagen, Art and Artists in England, iii. p. 211; Michaelis, Ancient Marbles in Gt. Britain, p. 332; Morgenblatt, 1811, p. 651; Arch. Zeit. 1872, p. 93; Class. Rev. 1890, p. 135; Brunn, Künstlergesch. ii. p. 731; Klein, Meistersig. p. 210; Vogel, Scenen Eurip. Tragod. p. 33; Engelmann, Beitrdge zu Euripides (Berlin, 1882), p. 6; Rayet and Collignon, Hist. Cer. Grecque, p. 313; Murray, Handbook of Gk. Archaeology, p. 105; Overbeck, Kunstmyth. (Zeus), p. 404; C.I.Gr. 8492; Kretschmer, Gr. Vaseninschr. p. 223; Amer. Journ. of Archaeol. 1890, p. 256; Athenaeum, 1890, i. p. 313; Bloch, die zuschauenden Gotter, p. 35.
For the scene of a, cf. BM Vase F193.
For the chiton with dots, see J.H.S. xi. p. 229.
Credits:
(cc) 2020. Photo, text: The British Museum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).
© The Trustees of the British Museum.
Keywords: κεραμικά ceramics clay terracotta ceramica keramik céramique νοτιοταλικό southitalian southern italy mezzogiorno meridione süditalienisch süditalien suditalien paestum paestan pestana paestanische paestane technique tecnica vasenmalerei ερυθρόμορφος red figure red-figure red-figured a rosse rotfigurige rotfiguriger à figures rouges κρατήρ κρατήρας krater сrater cratere cratère κωδωνόσχημος bell campana glockenkrater cloche ελληνική μυθολογία mythologia graeca greek mythology mitologia greca griechische mythologie grecque ἀλκμήνη ἀλκμάνα αλκμήνη alcmene alcmena alkmene alcmène ἀμφιτρύων αμφιτρύων αμφιτρύωνας amphitryon amphitruo anfitrione ἀντήνωρ αντήνωρ ο τρώας antenor antenore anténor ὑάδες υάδες hyades hyade iadi hyaden ζεύς δίας zeus νύμφη nymphe νύμφες nympha nymph nymphs ninfa ninfe nymphes ἠώς ηώς έως αύως dea eos goddess of the dawn divinità eo göttin der morgenröte déesse éos female dress clothes clothing garment abbigliamento femminile damenbekleidung vêtements pour femmes γυναικεία ρούχα hairdo hairstyle pettinatura acconciatura weibliche frisur coiffure féminine θηλυκό χτένισμα male maschile herrenbekleidung hommes ανδρικά footwear footgear calzatura frauenschuhe chaussures παπούτσια corona hedera ivy wreath di edera efeukranz couronne de lierre στεφάνι κισσού armilla bracelet braccialetto bracciale armband armreif armspange spange βραχιόλι ara altar altare autel βωμός ensis sword spada schwert épée ξίφος σπαθί balteus baldric balteo wehrgehänge laurea laurel alloro laureata lorbeerkranz lauriers δάφνινο endromis cothurnus topboot boot boots stivali stiefel stiefeln bottes ἐνδρομίς solea sandal sandals sandalo sandali sandale πέδιλα σάμβαλα σάνδᾰλον σανδάλια σανδάλι earring earrings orecchino orecchini ohrring ohrringe boucle d’oreille barba barbatum beard bearded man uomo barbuto bart bärtiger mann barbe homme barbu γενειάδα γενειοφόρος άνθρωπος taenia tainia band ribbon fillet tenia tänie binden tænia ténia ταινία capite velato veiled sceptrum sceptre scettro zepter σκήπτρο torquis necklace collana halskette collier κολιέ palmette palmetta fulmen with thunderbolt lightning bolt fulmine blitzbündel blitz donnerkeil foudre αστραπή aqua water acqua wasser eau νερό cassis pilos helmet elmo pileo helm casque πῖλος belt cintura cingolo gurt gürtel ceinture ζώνη meander meandros meandro mäander méandre μαίανδρος chlamys clamide χλαμύδος jug pitcher brocca krug broc κανάτα funeral pyre pira funeraria bûcher funéraire blazing burning torch torcia accesa brennende fackel brûlant flambeau rainbow arcobaleno regenbogen arc-en-ciel ουράνιο τόξο mirror specchio spiegel miroir egg moulding ovolo mouldings ovoli ove oves wave-pattern wave-like ornament wavy apoptygma prochoos sakkos cap σάκκος entreaty in supplication prayer implorazione flehen ardente prière bun long hair capelli lunghi lange haare cheveux longs transparent and translucent trasparente traslucido transparente durchscheinende kleidung vêtement translucide python painter pittore vasenmaler chess chequer ornamento scacchi schach-ornament ornement d’échecs hydria hydrie ὑδρία υδρία chiton khiton chitone lungo langer χιτών embroidery embroidered ricamo stickerei broderie short corto kurzer court log logs tronco tronchi holzstamm stamm rondin rondins astragalus pattern rain pioggia regen pluie pouring versando gießen verser l’eau miracle marvel wonder miracolo wunder rescue salvezza salvataggio rettung errettung salut f193 f 193 inv no 1890,0210.1