Attic Black-Figure Neck Amphora

Leagros Groupabout 510 B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

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.


  • Title: Attic Black-Figure Neck Amphora
  • Creator: Leagros Group
  • Date Created: about 510 B.C.
  • Location Created: Athens, Greece
  • Physical Dimensions: 30.4 × 45.3 cm (11 15/16 × 17 13/16 in.)
  • Type: Amphora
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Terracotta
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 86.AE.81
  • Culture: Greek (Attic)
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Creator Display Name: Attributed to Leagros Group (Greek (Attic), active 525 - 500 B.C.)
  • Classification: Vessels (Containers)

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