The Ransom of Hector's Corpse: Priam begs Achilles (see below)

Information on the image above (from Perseus):

Collection: Toledo Museum of Art

Summary: Side A: the ransom of Hector.

Ware: Attic Black Figure

Shape: Neck amphora

Painter: Attributed to the Rycroft Painter

Date: ca. 520 B.C. - 510 B.C.

Period: Archaic

Dimensions: H. 68.6 cm., D. of rim 34.0 cm., D. of body 45.0 cm., D. of foot 25.7 cm., W. of handles 7.0 cm.

Primary Citation: CVA, USA 17, Toledo 1, pp. 2-4, figs. 1-2, pls. 4-

Decoration Description: Side A: The ransom of Hector. Achilles (second from the right), wreathed and beardless, reclines on his couch. His himation is draped loosely around his legs and waist, and he holds a phiale in his extended right hand. Priam, in the center of the scene, wears a chiton and himation and strides towards Achilles, his arms extended imploringly. Hektor's nude corpse lies on the ground in front of Achilles' couch and food-laden serving table. To the left of Priam is a youth who carries the ransom goods: a tripod and three stacked phialai. He wears a short chiton and grasps a leg of the tripod with each hand and carries it with the cauldron above his head. The phialai rest in the crook of his right arm. The upper two are incised with loops (as is Achilles'), the lowest one with simple curved strokes. Hermes, wearing a winged pilos, a chlamys and boots, stands at the far left, holding the kerykeion in his right hand. At the far right stands a serving girl wearing a chiton and himation and holding a hydria. She moves left towards the center, the hydria is another part of the ransom. Hektor's corpse lies on its back, the legs bent at the knees. His left hand is drawn as if it were a right hand (as is Achilles' left hand). His right arm is shown resting on his body and thigh. Priam's legs are drawn in front of Hektor's body, but his left hand is on the far side of Achilles' right shoulder. On the wall behind Achilles hangs a high-crested Corinthian helmet, a sword in its scabbard and a round shield. A pair of spears leans against the wall to the right of the shield. Achilles reclines on a thick mattress, with a pillow at his back. For the inscription in the field, cf. CVA, USA 17, Toledo 1, p. 3, fig.1. Added red: Hermes' fillet, forehead hair, beard, dots on his chlamys and short strokes along its lower border, and the flaps of his boots; the youth's forehead hair, belt and dots on his chiton; the upper and lower borders of Priam's himation and dots thereon; Achilles' wreath, the upper border of his himation and dots thereon; Hektor's fillet, beard and bloodstains on his chest; dotted borders of the serving maiden's hair ribbon, the borders of her himation and dots thereon; the attachments for the rings of the tripod, the eye of the helmet, strokes on the scabbard and stripes on the pillow. Added white: Priam's hair, eyebrows and beard; the serving maiden's flesh the border of the helmet, the decorations on the couch leg and a stroke (accidental?) above the food at the right of the table.

The main panel (Side A) illustrates a well-known scene from Homer's Iliad (Hom. Il. 24.468-670) wherein the aged Priam, King of Troy, goes to the enemy camp to plead with the Greek hero, Achilles, for the body of Hector, Priam's son, whom Achilles had killed in battle. Among Greek vases depicting the ransom of Hector, the Toledo amphora is remarkable for the intense emotion expressed in the plaintive figure of Priam and for the attention focused on the pitiful figure of this bereaved king. For the treatment of the subject generally, see E. Kunze, Archaische Schildb§nder, Olympische Forschungen II (Berlin 1950) 145-148; R. Lullies, "Eine Amphora aus dem Kreis des Exekias," AntK 7 (1964) 82 ff.; K. Friis-Johansen, The Iliad in Early Greek Art (Copenhagen 1967) 127 ff. and 267-268; Mºnzen, 75-76, no. 149; andBrommer 1973, 464 ff.

 

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