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Amphora

Greece, 6th century B.C.
H.42.3 cm

The word "amphora" is Greek for "a vase with handles." This example has the typically elegant shape of the classic amphora, set off by painted figures of two warriors flanking a woman. Scenes from Greek mythology or heroic tales, such as found in Homer's Illiad are common decoration on amphora, and this work is no exception. The female figure is fitted with armor and carrying a spear, indicating that she is likely the goddess Athena, while the two armed warriors on either side battle each other fiercely. Three more warriors fight on the opposite side of the vase. The scenes are augmented by bands decorated with stylized palmetto branches and spirals. A similar amphora in the British Museum has been dated to circa 525 B.C., and it is thought that this vase dates from around that time.

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