Attic Black-Figure Neck Amphora

Leagros Groupabout 510 B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Scenes from the mythological Trojan War decorate this Athenian black-figure neck-amphora. On the front, Achilles and Ajax, two great heroes of the Greeks, sit playing a board game. 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. This scene of Ajax and Achilles gaming was very popular in Athenian vase-painting of the late 500s B.C. and was a favorite of the painters in the Leagros Group. Many 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.

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  • Title: Attic Black-Figure Neck Amphora
  • Creator: Attributed to Leagros Group
  • Date: about 510 B.C.
  • Location Created: Athens, Greece
  • Physical Dimensions: 30.4 x 45.3 cm (11 15/16 x 17 13/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Terracotta
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Object Type: Amphora
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 86.AE.81
  • Display Location: Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 110, Stories of Trojan War
  • Department: Antiquities
  • Culture: Greek (Attic)
  • Classification: Vessels


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