B i r t h o f A t h e n a
Poseidon stands on the left, in profile to the right. He wears a chiton and himation, a diadem in his hair, and holds a trident in his right hand. Above his head is the inscription POSEID‘N ("Poseidon").
Behind him a winged Nike moves rapidly forward and extends her right hand before her in an expression of amazement. Her hair is bound up with a double diadem, and she wears a chiton with sleeves over which is a bordered outer garment.
To Poseidon's right is Hephaestus, wearing a short sleeveless chiton and carrying his axe slung over his left shoulder. He wears a purple wreath in his hair, and has a chlamys thrown over his shoulder. He runs to the left, and looks back at Zeus. His hand is raised to his face and he points to Athena with surprise. Over his head is the inscription HEPHAISTOS ("Hephaestus").
Zeus is seated frontally in the center of the composition. He wears a sleeveless chiton and peplos with a thin black border near the bottom. His hair is gathered up under a laurel wreath, and his beard is long and pointed. In his left hand he holds a scepter, while with his right he gestures towards Poseidon and Hephaestus in surprise. The legs of his throne are richly decorated with palmette, star and lozenge patterns, surmounted by Ionic capitals. His feet rest on a transverse rail.
Athena (under life size) has just sprung out of his head, and stands on her left leg with the right one kicked out behind her. She is fully dressed, wearing a crested helmet, peplos, and aegis. She also carries a spear. Above each character are their names, ZEUS ("Zeus") and ATHENA ("Athena").
To Zeus' right is Eileithyia, who looks round at him as she moves away and gestures in surprise. She wears a diadem which holds up her hair, a chiton and a short overgarment reaching her hips. Above her head is the inscription in retrograde ILEITHUA ("Eileithyia").
To her right is Artemis, advancing toward the center of the scene. She raises her right hand with a gesture of surprise, and holds a bow in her left. She wears armlets and a chiton with a short overgarment reaching her waist. Her hair is bound up in a triple diadem, with a hairnet below to hold the ends of it. Over her head is inscribed ARTEMIS ("Artemis").
Attic red figure pelike from Vulci, Etruria.
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Copyright ©1998-2001 Roy George