Mixing bowl (calyx krater) with the killing of Agamemnon

Dokimasia Painterabout 460 B.C.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Boston, MA, United States

While Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, was away at war, his wife, Klytaimnestra, alienated by her husband's sacrifice of their daughter Iphigeneia to obtain the favorable winds needed to sail to Troy, took Aegisthos as a lover. On the king's return home, the two plot to kill him in his bath. Here Agamemnon, diminished in stature and dripping wet, is trapped in a net, while Aegisthos stands over him, ready to strike with his sword. Behind Aegisthos, Klytaimnestra carries a double ax to lend a hand. Three other women are present-probably two of Agamemnon's daughters and Kassandra, his war prize from Troy-emphasizing that this scene takes place inside the palace at Mycenae; Ionic columns under the handles of the vase also frame the scene indoors. On the other side of this krater, Orestes, son of Agamemnon, avenges the death of his father by killing Aegisthos. The subject matter on the opposite sides of vases is not always thematically matched, but vessels that feature Trojan scenes often combine related episodes.


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