|A t h e n a D r e s
s e d f o r W a r
In the main scene the Goddess Athena, painted white to indicate her sex, helps harness her four-horse chariot.
She holds the reins of the pole, or middle, horses, while two grooms calm them.
Two more grooms lead the trace, or outside, horses forward to be harnessed under the supervision of the middle-aged, bearded charioteer.
This harnessing technique accurately reflects sixth-century BCE practices.
The appearance of Athena dressed for war may refer to her legendeary invention of the war chariot or perhaps to an episode from the Illiad.
The scene on the shoulder of the vase depicts Zeus, the central figure, intervening in the fight between Hercules (on Zeus's right) and Cycnus (on his left).
Hercules is supported by Athena and Hermes, while Cycnus is backed by his father, Ares, and two other figures.
This divine battle occurred because Cycnus stole Apollo's sacrificial animals.
Black-figure hydria, c. 525 BCE
Height 0.20 m
Attributed to the Antinaenes Painter
Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
(Click the image for a full screen view)
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Copyright ©1998-2000 Roy George