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Title: Greek Tragedy in the Light of Vase Paintings

Author: John H. Huddilston

Release date: May 28, 2021 [eBook #65461]

Language: English

Credits: Richard Tonsing, Turgut Dincer, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)


Transcriber’s Note:

The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.


(Size, about 1 ∶ 9)


(Vid. p. 145 ff.)


B.A. (Harv.), Ph.D. (Munich)

Πλὴν ὁ Σιμωνίδης τὴν μὲν ζωγραφίαν ποίησιν σιωπῶσαν προσαγορεύει, τὴν δὲ ποίησιν, ζωγραφίαν λαλοῦσαν· ἃς γὰρ οἱ ζωγράφοι πράξεις ὁς γινομένας δεικνύουσι, ταύτας οἱ λόγοι γεγενημένας διηγοῦνται καὶ συγγράφουσιν.

Plutarch, De Gloria Athen., c. 3.

Nec mirum, si ista, quae tamen in aliquo posita sunt motu, tantum in animis valent, cum pictura, tacens opus et habitus semper eiusdem, sic in intimos penetrat adfectus, ut ipsam vim dicendi nonnumquam superare videatur.

Quintilian, Inst. Orat., xi. 3. 67.


Although the archaeologists and mythologists constitute for the most part the number of those seriously concerned with Greek vases, there still remain many engaged in the study of Greek literature for whom the vases are bound to possess an abiding value, since they often relate the stories that Homer, Pindar, Aischylos, and Euripides tell. One may find on vases of the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries B.C. illustrations for not a few of the famous pieces in Greek poetry. The paintings may have been an outgrowth of the common stock of legendary tales, having their origin in the folk-lore, and in such cases they are independent of the written literature and go along, so to speak, parallel with the work of the poets, who drew from the same source. These paintings are valuable as illustrations of the myths, quite apart from any literary version of the same. Another class still more interesting, perhaps, owe their origin to some particular poem or play, and are to be taken as direct products of the poets’ work. Such are of xprime importance for one who would understand the poet thoroughly.

The first class of paintings of the latter sort are based on Homer and the Cyclic poets. After the epic literature, the tragic drama became the chief formative force in Greek legend and its representation in art. Yet here again, as in the case of the Cyclic poets, one is compelled to interpret paintings inspired by works that have come down to us either as mere names or in a few wretched fragments. The relation of these monuments to the lost literature is of paramount importance, but the investigation is beset with many obstacles and will continue to be largely a field for the specialist. Extant tragedy and vase paintings, however, come together at so many points, and the former is so illumined by the latter, that every student of the classics should become acquainted with at least this part of Greek ceramics.

The present work represents an attempt to bring this material together in a convenient and accessible form. The first chapter, which deals with the influence of tragedy on other classes of monuments, is meant to be suggestive, not exhaustive; if I shall have succeeded here in setting the student to think along some new lines that in the end will place him in more direct touch with antiquity, and help him to a better understanding of Greek tragic poetry and the part it played in the artistic life of the Greeks and Romans, my aim will have been achieved. The foot-notes all the way xithrough are intended to contain somewhat full references to the literature of the different topics, and to be a sort of guide to one who desires to prosecute this study further.

In dealing with even the subject of vase paintings and extant tragedy, it was not possible to omit saying a word regarding the general question of the earliest influence of the drama upon the vase painters; this has been done, however, very briefly, and is no more than a sketch. Some may think that the subject is disposed of too quickly; many pages, indeed, might have been written to advantage on this much mooted point, but this would have required going far aside from the task which I set myself; and, further, it did not seem wise to encumber the work with a discussion necessarily of a nature to appeal to the archaeologist rather than to the student of Aischylos and Euripides. It is the latter’s needs that have been uppermost in my mind, and it will be found that I have written for him first and for the archaeologist second.

My aim has been to collect and publish all paintings that can with a high degree of probability be said to be inspired by any of the extant tragedies, and to unfold the relation of the two to each other in such a way as to throw the greatest possible light upon the interpretation of the literature. Many of the publications where one can find these paintings are so expensive and inaccessible that but a comparatively small number of classical students can make any use of the original works; the xiiresult is that this important class of monuments has been very little used by philologists. Wherever it seemed necessary, synopses of the plays have been given, and these will place the student in possession of everything required for a full appreciation of the reproductions. Reference has been made to other monuments representing scenes based on the plays, so that there is in fact a sort of archaeological commentary for those who care to go further and examine the general influence of the poet over the artist. It should be borne in mind, however, that I have not been concerned with the myths involved except in so far as they were the forms invented or followed by the tragedians. To be sure, opinions will not be unanimous regarding the interpretation of some of the paintings, but wherever I have not felt sure of the debt of the artist to a given play I have preferred not to publish the work; some such are mentioned in a separate chapter, where reference is also made to the literature. My endeavour has been to keep as far as possible aloof from conjectures and reckless theories into which one is apt to be drawn in dealing with questions in archaeology; sins of omission should be less reprehended in a work of this character than sins of commission, and although I shall no doubt be judged guilty of both, I hope to have erred rather on the side of the former.

It will be of special interest to archaeologists to have the painting on the Medeia amphora, in Munich, correctly xiiipublished; fig. 23 gives for the first time the correct reading of the inscriptions, and for this reason I could have wished that space had permitted a much larger reproduction. The frontispiece, presenting a general view of the whole vase, will, it is hoped, be of some help in affording those who have not had an opportunity of seeing the originals, some notion of the size and magnificent workmanship of this class of vases, called so appropriately by the Germans Prachtamphoren. Another painting, fig. 3, is published for the first time, and fig. 6, taken from a photograph, displaces the drawing in Jahn’s Vasenbilder. Further than this, the illustrations are the same as those that have already appeared elsewhere; it has been possible for me to add new information regarding the whereabouts of some few vases.

On the spelling of Greek names it need only be said that I have nearly always preferred the Greek forms to the Latin equivalents; yet I have not gone so far as to write Hiketides for Supplices, or Hepta for Septem; neither did it seem advisable to disturb a word so common in English as is Oedipus by writing it Oidipous, or much less Oidipus.

My thanks are due to Professor Otto Kern for help and encouragement while he was still at the University of Berlin. Professor Carl Robert has lent me valuable assistance, and I scarcely know whether I am more indebted to his suggestive replies to my numerous xivinquiries or to his writings, which latter have been a constant inspiration to me. Professor A. Furtwängler, whose profound knowledge in the field of Greek ceramics, as well as in every department of classical archaeology, is well known, has aided me by his counsel and has spared some of his valuable time to go over all the manuscript. I wish to express my indebtedness to all these eminent scholars as well as to Mr. Charles B. Newcomer, M.A., who has been kind enough to read the proof, and has favoured me with many valuable suggestions. Mrs. Huddilston, who more than any one else has followed all the work, deserves special mention; there is scarcely a page that does not bear evidence of her sound judgement.

I indulge the hope that this little book may, with all its defects (and I am well aware they are many), present much that is helpful in a field in which there is little addressed to the student of classical literature; and this brings me to remark that I have long wondered why the editions of the Greek tragedies are not enlivened more with reproductions of works of art pertaining to the myth involved. There is no reason why the student who is set to read the Choephoroi, Eumenides, Medeia, or Iphigeneia in Tauris, not to mention other plays, should look only at the literary and philological sides of the author. Is it considered unscholarly to illustrate books of this sort, or are the scholars who edit them ignorant of the archaeological apparatus? The time is coming, xvI firmly believe, when these two departments of classical studies will not be so divorced as they are at present, and when the monuments based upon a myth will be included in our text-books and examined quite as closely as is the text of the poet. When Greek art is thus made to supplement the study of the poetry, the latter will be invested with a still greater charm than it now possesses. More of the spirit is required and less of the letter, and this is bound to be brought about when Greek art is introduced more extensively into the instruction in Greek studies. I trust that these pages will be considered a contribution towards this manner of studying Greek tragedy, and that the plays which come in question will be read with renewed interest by all students, and reviewed with pleasure and profit by those who are instructors in classics; and again by those who in the various walks of life still have time and inclination to turn occasionally to the masterpieces of Greek letters—works that will always remain substantial parts of the world’s literary ballast.

J. H. Huddilston.

London, March, 1898.



§ 1. Introductory 1
§ 2. Tragic Influences in Sculpture 4
  1. Greek Sculpture 4
  2. The Etruscan Ash-Urns 10
  3. The Roman Sarcophagi 15
§ 3. The Influence of Tragedy on Painting 20
  1. On Greek Painting 21
  2. The Wall Paintings of Pompeii 24
§ 4. Tragic Elements on the Etruscan Mirrors 26
§ 5. Greek Tragedy and the ‘Megarian Bowls’ 27
§ 1. Theories advanced for the Earliest Traces 31
§ 2. Earliest Evidence 32
§ 3. The Fifth Century b.c. 33
§ 4. The Fourth Century b.c. and the Conditions in Lower Italy 37
§ 1. Introduction 42
§ 2. Choephoroi 43
§ 3. Eumenides 55
§ 4. The Lost Plays 73
§ 1. Introduction 78
§ 2. Andromache 83
§ 3. Bakchai 88
§ 4. Hekabe 94
§ 5. Hippolytos 101
§ 6. Iphigeneia at Aulis 112
§ 7. Iphigeneia among the Taurians 121
§ 8. Kyklops 139
§ 9. Medeia 144
§ 10. Phoinissai 171
§ 11. Supplementary 178
  A List of Vase Paintings sometimes referred to Extant Plays 178
  A List of Vase Paintings referred to Lost Plays 179
  Index 182


Annali d. Inst. = Annali dell’ Instituto di Corrispondenza archeologica (Rome).

Arch. Anz. = Archäologischer Anzeiger, Beiblatt zum Jahrbuch des Archäologischen Instituts (Berlin).

Arch. Ztg. = Archäologische Zeitung (Berlin).

Athen. Mitth. = Mittheilungen des K. deutschen Archäologischen Instituts in Athen.

Baumeister, Denkmäler = Baumeister’s Denkmäler des Klassischen Altertums.

B. C. H. = Bulletin de Correspondence Hellénique (Athens).

Compte Rendu = Compte Rendu de la Commission impériale archéologique (St. Petersburg).

C. I. A. = Corpus Inscriptionum Atticarum.

Élite Céram. = Élite des monuments céramographiques, Lenormant et De Witte.

F.-W. = Friederichs-Wolters, Die Gipsabgüsse antiker Bildwerke.

Furtwängler, Masterpieces = Furtwängler, Masterpieces of Greek Sculpture.

Gerhard, Auserl. Vasen. = Gerhard, Auserlesen griechische Vasenbilder.

Helbig, Wandgemälde = Helbig, Wandgemälde der vom Vesuv verschütteten Städte Campaniens.

Inghirami, Vasi fitt. = Inghirami, Pitture di vasi fittili.

Jahrbuch = Jahrbuch des K. deutschen Archäologischen Instituts (Berlin).

xxJ. H. S. = Journal of Hellenic Studies (London).

Mon. d. Inst. = Monumenti inediti pubblicati dall’ Instituto di Corrispondenza archeologica (Rome).

Nauck, Fragmenta = Nauck, Fragmenta tragicorum graecorum. 2 ed.

Overbeck, Bildwerke = Overbeck, Die Bildwerke zum thebischen und troischen Heldenkreis.

Overbeck, Schriftquellen = Overbeck, Die antiken Schriftquellen zur Geschichte der bildenden Künste bei den Griechen.

Reinach-Millin, Peintures
Reinach-Millingen, Peintures
= Reinach, Peintures de Vases antiques recueillies par Millin (1808) et Millingen (1813).

Vogel, Scen. eur. Trag. = Vogel, Scenen euripideischer Tragödien in griechischen Vasengemälden.



§ 1. Introductory.

Painting as a fine art has never been developed to any great degree of perfection independent of literature. The two are, in a sense, handmaids, each inspiring the other and assisting it to solve new problems. A great literature is, furthermore, a necessary precursor of great achievements in art, since the latter is the more dependent of the two, and seeks its inspiration from the poet. This may not be clear to one who looks about at painting in this age of eclecticism, and endeavours to satisfy himself that literature and art are thus related, and that the former is required to give the initial impetus to the latter. The principle can, however, be made plain by going back nearer the fountain spring of modern literary and artistic development. One should turn to the Italian Renaissance of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries—to the period when Dante became 2the teacher and guide of artistic notions—in order to observe the full meaning and force of the supremacy of literature. There, where for the first time in the modern world a great genius fashioned the thought of more than a century, one can study easily the power of the poet over the artist. The influence of Dante upon artistic notions from Giotto down to the present has, indeed, been incalculably great. No painter of the quattrocento, at least, worked in any other than the Dantesque spirit; whether consciously or unconsciously, he was under the spell of the father of Italian letters. Dante’s Hell and Paradise became the Hell and Paradise of Signorelli and Michel Angelo. Botticelli, Flaxman, Doré, and many others left their canvasses and frescoes to interpret the hidden secrets of the Divina Commedia. The great Christian Epic which Cornelius developed through many years of study and contemplation of Dante, and which he considered the crowning work of his life, is told in the altar fresco of the Ludwig’s Church in Munich. Yet this is but one of the many monumental works of this century which owes its existence to this poet. Delacroix’s ‘Barque of Dante,’ exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1822, has been called the first real painting of the century. When one turns to England there is Rossetti, with ‘Beatrice and Dante,’ ‘Dante’s Dream,’ and several other famous paintings that witness again to the influence of the Italian poet. But one may remark that Dante’s position in the history of human progress is unique. This is true. The world has not known another whose authority was so absolute or whose philosophy appeared so final. The influence of poets of less power has been correspondingly smaller. The principle, however, remains true. 3The poet ventures where the boldest artist has not gone and prepares, as it were, the way for him.

The closest parallel to Dante’s influence upon the trend of artistic notions must be looked for in ancient Greece; Homer must be named with Dante. The Homeric poetry has exercised a power which the Divina Commedia has scarcely surpassed; the thousand and more streams of influence which rose in the Greek epic literature went out in every direction to water the fields of art and letters in Greece and Rome, and flowed on again after Petrarch’s time, and are to-day mighty forces. Events and incidents of the Iliad and Odyssey have taken so permanent a place in modern art that one hardly stops to think that this or that is from Homer. But this company of persons which the world calls Homer was not the only vital force that shaped men’s thoughts and furnished the artist with fresh inspiration. The tragic poets are to be named with Homer. Had Aischylean, Sophoklean, and Euripidean elements not entered into ancient and modern works of art the world would never have known some of its most beautiful monuments. This is not, however, the place to linger over the influence of the Greek epic and tragic literature in modern times, interesting though this would be. It is in ancient times, when there was still among the people a peculiar interest in the mythic legends, that the contact of poet and artist is most apparent; it is with the three Greek tragedians that we have to do at present, and some traces of their work may be pointed out in the various classes of monuments before the vase paintings are examined.


§ 2. Tragic Influences in Sculpture.

1. Greek Sculpture.

One does not expect the sculptor’s notions to be largely shaped by a definite situation in literature, as he has little to do with illustration; his art is too severe and confined to reproduce the dramatic and pathetic with great success. There is accordingly little direct influence of the Greek tragic literature over ancient sculpture except on the sarcophagi. Of the monuments belonging to the fifth century B.C., which owe their existence indirectly to the drama, three reliefs occupy the foremost place. These are the well-known Orpheus[1], Peliades[2], and Peirithoös[3] reliefs, all of which belong close to the time of the Parthenon frieze. Reisch has made it clear that these works were conceived and carried out in the spirit of the tragic drama[4]. They are claimed, indeed, as dedicatory offerings in memory of particular tragic exhibitions, but no attempt is made to name any poet or tragedy with which they were connected. Whether one is correct in holding these reliefs as ἀναθήματα, certain it is that in every particular they breathe forth the spirit of tragedy. The triple group in each has been pointed out as corresponding to the three actors. This, however, is an outer sign that might serve to indicate their origin. The 5relation of the figures to each other—the conflict of soul which one may observe—the pathos that pervades the groups—these are so unlike anything that occurs on the earlier monuments that a person involuntarily asks himself whence the artists received their motives. Tragedy provides the answer. The parting scene between Alkestis and Admetos which Euripides describes so beautifully belongs to the same decade as does the Orpheus relief. This touching episode may well have been the incentive to some such work as the parting between Orpheus and Eurydike. In all three instances the sculptor was at any rate occupied with the problems which concerned the tragic poet, and he reproduced true echoes of dramatic situations.

Related to these reliefs is another class of monuments which grew out of the tragic performances. From the middle of the fifth century B.C.[5] till at least the close of the third century B.C.[6] it was customary for the successful choregos to dedicate the tripod that the state had given him as a prize. The magnificence and elaborateness accompanying this ceremony can be learned from the still extant Lysikrates monument upon which the tripod once stood and on the intercolumniations of which tripods in relief are represented. A street in Athens was given over to the exposition of these prizes. Pausanias states that they were of bronze and stood on temples[7]. More important still for us in this connexion is the fact that together with the tripod, probably under the kettle, it was the custom to set up a figure of a satyr or Dionysos or Nike[8]. This practice 6does not appear to have been older than the time of Praxiteles. So it is that one learns of his famous satyr which Pausanias mentions in connexion with one of the tripods[9]. The Greek of this passage does not admit of a satisfactory interpretation, and it is not possible therefore to determine what the attitude of the figure was. It is probable that the statue which was thus intimately associated with the Dionysiac performances was the περιβόητος satyr of Praxiteles, existing in so many copies and known throughout English literature as the ‘Marble Faun.’ One can easily understand that this class of choregic monuments was alone of great importance, and that through this channel the tragic performances worked a wide influence over sculpture. There was a vast number of statues in bronze and marble that thus arose from the exigencies of the theatre. Along with these works may be classed the numerous pieces of sculpture that were put up as decorations for the theatre. Such were the εἰκόνες mentioned by Pausanias as being in the Dionysiac theatre at Athens. The periegete names the statues of Aischylos, Sophokles, Euripides, and Menander[10].

A large number of reliefs that represent Dionysos receiving the worship of mortals, or advancing in a train of satyrs before a man lying on a couch, makes up another class of sculpture, which probably owed its origin to the drama. On the Peiraieus[11] relief three persons carrying tragic masks advance before the god who reclines upon a kline. The work may possibly be dated as early as the close of the fifth century B.C.[12] 7It is at any rate an early example of the influence of the tragic muse upon sculpture. The so-called Ikarios reliefs illustrating Dionysos’ first appearance in Attica, and the consequent origin of tragedy, may not refer to Ikarios at all, but are nevertheless to be linked to tragedy in some way, as the masks clearly show[13]. They may have been purely decorative work, or were perhaps offerings of actors.

It remains to speak of a few monuments which seem to have been more directly under the influence of particular tragedies. One hears, for example, that the sculptor Seilanion made a ‘Dying Iokaste.’[14] This notion would appear to have been borrowed from some play. One may think of the Oedipus Tyrannus of Sophokles or the Phoinissai of Euripides. Of far greater importance is the relief on one of the columns from Ephesos which is known to every one[15]. The most satisfactory interpretation of this work so far offered explains the scene as Alkestis being delivered from Death. The heroine, rescued from Thanatos by Hermes, is being conducted to the upper world again. Unfortunately there is no agreement among archaeologists on this explanation[16]. Until a better one is brought forward, however, this important monument may be held as evidence for the influence exerted by Euripides’ handling of this popular myth. The Alkestis is known to have been exceptionally well received.

If tragic influences are only possibly at hand in the fragment from Ephesos, the excavations at Pergamon have brought to light extensive remains of reliefs that were inspired by Attic tragedy. The Telephos frieze, 8now in Berlin, is directly associated with the drama. The mythic founder of Pergamon had a long and varied career, which was told in dramatic form by both Sophokles and Euripides. The suggestions for the reliefs in question came from the Auge and Telephos of the latter, and the Mysoi of the former[17]. In these fragments one can see distinctly the high esteem in which the Attic drama was held at the court of the Attalidai. I know of no Greek sculpture which comes so near being an illustration of tragedy as does this frieze.

Another work of monumental greatness belonging to about the same period and exhibiting unmistakable signs of tragic influence is the Farnese Bull in the National Museum in Naples[18]. This colossal group, which represents Dirke being tied to a rampant bull by Amphion and Zethos, the sons of Antiope, is characterized by a passion and violence that are late products in Greek sculpture. Such motives made their appearance first in the fourth century B.C. Niobe and her children are the earliest representation on a grand scale of these elements that are so akin to the drama. Such compositions were first possible with Praxiteles and Skopas who broke away from the traditions of the Pheidian age. The generation that saw a new type of Dionysos and of Aphrodite, and could appreciate the frenzied maenad of Skopas, had been prepared for these new motives very largely through the theatre. The drama had not a little to do with impressing the artist and his public with the importance of delineating the human feelings. In the case of the Niobe group one would not attempt to point out any special influence of the Niobe of Aischylos 9or Sophokles, and still there is little doubt in my own mind that the sculptor was more or less influenced by the tragic literature. May not Praxiteles or Skopas, each of whom shares the credit of the Niobe group, have been led to the pathetic look upon the mother’s face by the lines of one of these lost plays? This new tendency in sculpture reached its highest expression in the Laokoön and the Farnese Bull. The latter can be traced to the influence of Euripides’ Antiope, which appears to have been the source of all Dirke monuments in ancient art; there is no dissenting voice as to Euripides’ right to occupy the honourable position thus assigned[19] him. Reference has already been made to the Laokoön[20] as representing the culmination of tragedy in marble. The view held by Lessing and many others that Virgil was the sculptors’ authority has been abandoned long since. The Pergamon altar frieze has enabled us to fix the date of the Laokoön with approximate correctness. It is surely some centuries older than the Aeneid and stands therefore in a possible relation to the Laokoön of Sophokles. Yet here again opinions vary widely. Sophokles’ play is lost, and the few remaining fragments are not enough to enable one to make a satisfactory reconstruction. The story came 10down from the epic literature, and, like so many incidents in the fall of Troy, needed no further popularization in order to appeal to the artist. That Sophokles’ tragedy, however, was wholly without any influence on the Rhodian sculptors who so tragically and realistically represented Apollo’s vengeance on his priest seems to me highly improbable. Such a conception as found expression in this masterpiece of sculpture may well have sprung from the masterpiece in poetry which was at hand in Sophokles’ Laokoön[21].

2. The Etruscan Ash-urns.

The reliefs on the Etruscan and Roman sarcophagi carry us to Italian soil and furnish us with a much larger field for pursuing our subject than could be found in Greek sculpture. Of all the Italian races with whom the Greeks came into contact, the Etrurians were by far the most advanced in civilization; and during the centuries of active commercial relations between the two peoples this nation, whose origin is the puzzle of historians, and whose language is the crux of philologists, came more under the influence of Greek literature and art than any of the Latin races that remained unhellenized. They have left abundant evidence of these hellenizing influences. In various classes of monuments which may still be studied—urns, mirrors, cistae, tomb-paintings, and vases—one discovers Greek mythology and poetry. The national mythology of the Etruscans is so much of an exception in their art, and the Greek is so universally adopted, that one is at a loss to account for 11the strange fact. On hundreds of Etruscan monuments one sees the workings of Greek poetry, which found its way into Etruria before Livius Andronicus produced the first tragedy in Rome 240 B.C. That the Greek drama was introduced for the most part directly and not through the medium of the early Latin tragedians, is shown by the fact that the latter flourished in the second and first centuries B.C., while the urns exhibiting tragic subjects are, for the most part, from the third century B.C. Some may, indeed, date from the fourth century. Roman tragedy can not be said to have really become at all a matter of general interest before Ennius went to Rome in 204 B.C. He died 169 B.C., and one should not think that the influence of these Latin adaptations and translations of Greek plays took an immediate hold upon the neighbouring Etruscans. Such elements percolate gradually into the various strata of national life, to say nothing of the time required to reach a foreign people whose language and customs are so different. But the summus epicus poeta[22] was not the most popular or most prolific pilferer of Greek plays. His tragedies numbered only about twenty. In Accio circaque eum Romana tragoedia est[23]; and the probable truth of this statement is well attested by the list of fifty plays that have come down to us under Accius’ name. This poet, however, was born 170 B.C. and first exhibited tragedies in 140 B.C. It is therefore very doubtful whether one can rightly speak of the influence of Latin tragedy upon the Etruscan artists. One dare not, at any rate, bring the ash-urns too far into the second century B.C., as Brunn and those immediately under his teaching formerly did. More recent investigations have proved the chronological impossibility of 12interpreting these reliefs with the help of Ennius, Accius, and Pacuvius.

Without taking time and space to review the arguments on which the interpretations of the reliefs are based it will be enough for my purpose to simply add a list of the scenes which one may reasonably refer to Greek tragedy. Examining the first volume of Brunn’s I rilievi delle urne etrusche, which is devoted to urns with scenes from the Trojan Cycle, one learns that those presenting a version of the stories ascribable to the tragic poets exceed those that are based on the Iliad, Odyssey, and other epics. The representation of Paris’ return to his Trojan home is, with one exception[24], the most frequent. The thirty-four reliefs were referred, even in the time of the former late dating, to Euripides’ Ἀλέξανδρος[25]. The fate of Telephos was, according to Aristotle, a common subject for a tragedy[26]. We have already met the story on the Pergamon frieze, and it is very frequent on the Etruscan urns. Telephos grasps the young Orestes and threatens his life on the altar after the manner of the drama. It may be the influence of Aischylos or Euripides, but if one judges from the comparative popularity of these poets in this period he would be inclined to assign the first place to the latter[27]. The offering of Iphigeneia occurs on twenty-six urns, nearly all of which were found in the vicinity of Perugia[28]. It was again unquestionably Greek tragedy that was the incentive for these scenes. Aischylos, Sophokles, and Euripides may all share the credit of having furnished the literary source. A smaller 13series of urns representing Odysseus’ adventure in taking Philoktetes from Lemnos is also to be placed under the influence of the fifth century tragedy[29]. The δόλιος Ὀδυσσεύς is seen playing his part as cleverly as he does in the extant play of Sophokles. The attitude of Philoktetes standing before Neoptolemos, having in two cases the arrow in his hand, corresponds well to the character drawn by this poet. The injured chieftain displays his courage and scoffs at the thought of being carried away by the detested Odysseus. The murder of Aigisthos and Klytaimestra represented on seventeen urns has been shown by Schlie to be essentially Euripidean[30]. The arrival of Orestes and Pylades at the precinct of the Tauric Artemis is possibly the subject of three reliefs[31]. This would also take one directly to Euripides[32]. The following are published in the second volume of the Urne etrusche by Körte. Medeia escapes on her dragon-chariot, driving over the bodies of her children[33]—an echo of the great tragedy that exercised so wide an influence in other fields of art[34]. The punishment of Dirke on four reliefs is based without question on the Antiope of Euripides[35]. The blinding of Oedipus at the hands of Laios’ sons seems to have been an invention of the same poet and is recognized in another relief[36]. The Theban fratricide and the assault 14on the city were both much-prized subjects[37]. Körte points out many features common to the numerous reliefs and the Phoinissai of Euripides[38]. The death of Alkmene is represented on five urns which one would associate with the Alkmene of the same poet[39]. Euripides’ Κρῆτες is traceable on seven reliefs, showing the legend of Daidalos and Pasiphaë[40]. Theseus’ fight with the Minotaur occurs four times and reminds us of Euripides’ Theseus[41]. The death of Hippolytos on eight reliefs does not present any essential variation from the extant Greek tragedy[42]. Perseus and Andromeda are met with likewise and emphasize the wide popularity of Euripides’ play[43]. The famous legend of Oinomaos’ death and Pelops’ triumph occurs on thirty-one urns[44]. It can be shown that these were inspired by one or more of the lost tragedies that dealt with the subject[45]. The Μελέαγρος of Euripides appears to have been the source of at least three of the many reliefs representing the Kalydonian Hunt[46]. To this long list of urns based on Euripidean tragedies one must still add seven that were probably inspired by this poet’s Μελανίππη ἡ σοψή and three more that follow his Μελανίππη ἡ δεσμῶτις[47].

More than two-thirds of the more than four hundred Etruscan urns examined are decorated with sculpture based on Greek tragedy, and in nearly all instances the 15drama was Euripidean. Such are the instructive facts regarding this important class of monuments.

3. Roman Sarcophagi.

Under the expression ‘Roman sarcophagi’ one understands those of the first and second centuries A.D. unless the expression is further qualified. Sarcophagi from the time of the Republic are very rare and they are withal modest in their workmanship. The florid decorations of the time of the Empire, and especially of the period just noted, are often of secondary interest, but the reliefs on the sarcophagi are for the most part of prime importance, as furnishing reminiscences of lost tragedies and ancient paintings of great renown. The majority are copies of very ordinary merit, while now and then a sarcophagus relief is not unworthy a Greek artist of the fourth century B.C.

It is a commonly known fact that long before the Laokoön, or the Farnese Bull, or the Apollo Belvidere was unearthed in the sixteenth and fifteenth centuries—long before the classical antiquities of Rome, Florence, and Naples had attracted students and lovers of art—the sculptures of these sarcophagi, scattered about in cathedrals and palaces, had begun to teach the Italian artist what the human figure really is, and what composition and decoration should be. The Renaissance artist first learned the charm and simplicity of the ancient costume from these marbles and perceived how vastly superior this was to the heavy, conventional church-dress that concealed the outlines of the form and rendered grace and beauty impossible. The study of the antique, we have reason to believe, was in the early Renaissance largely a study of these Roman sarcophagi.

16There is no need of going into detail. It will be enough to hint at the most important monuments of this class that stand under the influence of Greek tragedy. Whether they are a direct product of the Greek plays or are founded on the Latin translations, or whether they represent copies of Greek paintings based on Greek tragedy—this is for the present purpose all one and the same. It is not necessary to determine whence the incentive came. The important fact for one to grasp first is, that a surprisingly large number of the reliefs owe their existence to the tragic drama, and that these sculptures should be brought into one’s study of the tragic poets[48].

The series of reliefs illustrating Euripides’ Alkestis is of prime importance for one who wishes to see in art a scene worthy of the poet[49]. The touching farewell of Alkestis as she reclines upon her death-bed is in each instance the centre of the groups on the long side. Around her gathers the whole family. The children draw up close to their mother’s side. Her parents are also present, and this lends more interest to the sight, for they could scarcely be absent although the poet does not mention them in this connexion. The last words of Alkestis, and Admetos’ reply, form the real charm of the play. All else falls far behind these speeches, and 17following one of the gems in Greek literature the artist could afford to assign his illustration the first place on the reliefs. Arranged on either side are the other incidents of the drama, following the poet with considerable faithfulness. In this connexion should be mentioned the relief in Florence, also based upon the same source[50].

The Hippolytos sarcophagi are, so far as I know, the most numerous of those that are dependent upon tragedy. If we possess more than a score, either entire or in fragments, after the destructive elements have been at work on them since antiquity, there is reason to believe that many times this number were once in existence. Copies were made in large numbers, and many a Roman was laid to rest behind the tragedy in marble which in the Hippolytos of Euripides has continued with some interruptions to move the sympathies of the civilized world for more than two thousand years. The reliefs are in the main faithful illustrations of Euripides. One or two situations are foreign to him, and these would suggest the influence of a Roman poet. It is unnecessary to do more here than to refer to the following chapter, where the whole question finds a further discussion[51].

‘The Orestes myth appears upon the sarcophagi exclusively in the form given to it by the Attic drama. The first part—the slaying of Aigisthos and Klytaimestra—follows the Oresteia of Aischylos. The second part—the meeting of Iphigeneia and Orestes and the rape of the Tauric idol—is based upon the Iphigeneia in Tauris of Euripides.’[52] One exception only is noted 18and this appears to represent the influence of a later play which handled the subject of the Oresteia[53]. The scenes on the other sarcophagi are indeed illustrations of Aischylos. In each case the final moment of the Choephoroi, when the Furies rush in upon the murderer, guilty of a mother’s blood, is chosen for the middle group. Right and left from this the succeeding events are arranged. The right end scene invariably represents Orestes as he is about to escape from the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi and go to Athens. He picks his way with circumspection over the sleeping Furies, and one is led up to the triumphal verdict of the Eumenides[54]. Robert has shown very clearly the relation of these sculptures to Aischylos’ words, and it is enough to refer to his discussion.

The Iphigeneia-Orestes sarcophagi breathe from first to last the spirit of Euripides. A study of them is scarcely less instructive than a reading of the play. Step by step the story is unfolded. Orestes and Pylades are taken captives and stand before the priestess, whose dreadful office is made more horrible by the remains of human sacrifices that are fastened up around the sanctuary; the recognition scene with the letter follows. Then Iphigeneia appears with the idol in her arms, and asks Thoas’ permission to go and purify it in the sea. The two Greeks stand bound, ready to follow her, and last of all comes the mêlée at the ship. One after another of the barbarians is laid low by the strong arms of Orestes and Pylades. Iphigeneia is placed safely aboard with the image, and one sees the beginning of the homeward 19journey that closed the history of the house of Atreus[55].

The Euripidean Medeia is discussed at length in another place, and I have pointed out there the part that the sarcophagi occupy in art representations of the tragedy[56]. The two extremes of touching tenderness and violent passion, which no one ever combined more successfully in one character than did Euripides in his Medeia, come prominently to the foreground in these reliefs. I know of no monuments of ancient art that grasp the spirit of a Greek tragedy more effectually than the Medeia sarcophagi. The strange and secret power of the sorceress hovers over and pervades the whole. The dreadful vengeance exacted by the slighted queen is shown in the most graphic manner. Standing before the Berlin replica, which is the best preserved and most beautiful of all the sculptures, one cannot but feel that he is face to face with a marvellous illustration of the great tragedy. The marble all but breathes; the dragons of Medeia’s chariot may be heard to hiss.

A small number of other monuments of this class belongs to the ‘Seven against Thebes,’ and, as in the case of the Etruscan urns, the Phoinissai of Euripides is the main source of the illustrations. Perhaps Seneca’s Phoenissae also entered into the work. Robert conjectures that Euripides’ Oedipus may have furnished suggestions for parts of the scenes[57].

The Philoktetes of Sophokles is illustrated on one relief very much in the manner of the Etruscan urns already referred to. The wounded Philoktetes stands at 20the mouth of the cave and speaks to Neoptolemos on the right. Odysseus keeps safely out of sight on the left[58].

The story of Pasiphaë’s unholy love is told on a fragment of a sarcophagus in the Louvre[59]; Daidalos and his cunning work play the leading part. The ultimate literary authority was Euripides’ Κρῆτες. The latter may not have been used directly, as the myth enjoyed after this play a continuous popularity. The relief on one end represents a fruit offering, and as this would agree with the vegetarian vow of the chorus, Robert prefers to recognize a direct connexion with Euripides[60].

Mention may be made lastly of the Meleager sarcophagi, which, like the Etruscan urns, have much in common with Euripides’ Μελέαγρος[61].

§ 3. The Influence of Tragedy on Painting.

Our knowledge of Greek painting is entirely literary. No vestige of this art has survived that one may study the real monuments. The wall paintings of Pompeii and Herculaneum are, however, a sort of recompense for this loss, and with these and the assistance of Pliny and a few other writers one can get some notion of certain masterpieces of ancient painting. But the records are at the most very scant, and the student has, after all, to allow his imagination to fill in many gaps.


1. On Greek Painting.

The first probable point of contact between tragedy and painting is in the time of Polygnotos. The series of paintings mentioned by Pausanias as being in the Propylaia may be brought under the name of the great painter, since it is expressly stated that two of the ten were from his hand[62]. Among the subjects were Odysseus fetching Philoktetes from Lemnos; Orestes slaying Aigisthos; Polyxena on the point of being sacrificed at Achilles’ tomb. The question arises, have these works any connexion with the drama? If Polygnotos was the author of all the paintings, the period of his activity excludes both Sophoklean and Euripidean influence in the Philoktetes scene. The Philoktetes of Sophokles is known to have been produced in 409 B.C., and the same play by Euripides appeared in the trilogy with the Medeia in 431 B.C. This leaves Aischylos’ tragedy, which could have served Polygnotos’ purpose. Orestes killing Aigisthos seems also a possible product of the Oresteia, but Pylades engaging the sons of Nauplios who came to the usurper’s assistance renders the Aischylean source improbable. Polyxena’s sacrifice is described by Euripides in the Hekabe[63], and was the subject of Sophokles’ Polyxene[64]. Nothing, however, can be made out of the few fragments belonging to the latter. The character of this picture, in which πάθος excluded ἦθος, led Robert to assign it to the fourth century and base it upon Euripides[65]. All these subjects are from 22the Trojan Cycle, and agree well with what is known of Polygnotos’ taste in selecting his legends. One has but to recall the painting in the Lesche of the Knidians at Delphi—τὸ μὲν σύμπαν τὸ ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς γραφῆς Ἴλιός τέ ἐστιν ἑαλωκυῖα καὶ ἀπόπλους ὁ Ἑλλήνων[66]—to learn that the drama was not essential to inspire Polygnotos. On the other hand, a closer examination of the Philoktetes-Orestes legend reveals the fact that the crafty Ithacan’s part in bringing Philoktetes from Lemnos was an invention of the Attic drama[67]. The tragedians placed Odysseus in the room occupied by Diomede in the Trojan Cycle. It is absolutely necessary therefore to place this painting under the influence of tragedy, whether it was by Polygnotos and inspired by Aischylos or by a later artist and inspired by one or more of the three tragedies. If the Polygnotos authorship be rejected (and as it is based on pure conjecture there is nothing to forbid placing it aside), one is at liberty to point out a relation between these works and later tragic literature, as has already been done in the case of the Polyxena scene.

In the latter half of the fifth century B.C. painting appears to have reflected pronounced tendencies of the drama. The legends of the heroic time when tried in the crucible of the dramatic poet appealed more strongly to the imagination of the artist who had been accustomed to epic severeness and calmness. The conventionality and regulation types gave way, and the tragic drama 23remained thereafter the vital force in shaping the character of paintings occupied with heroic legends. At this time we learn of a Telephos by Parrhasios, which one naturally associates with Euripides or Aischylos[68]. The Iphigeneia of Timanthes was a work that was scarcely possible but for the fresh interest awakened in the story by the three tragedians[69]. It is highly probable again that Euripides was the inspiration for the Andromeda of Nikias[70] and the Medeia of Timomachus[71]. These were both works of great renown. Apollodoros’ painting representing the Herakleidai can with some certainty be referred to Euripides’ tragedy[72]. Theorus, a Samian, painted Orestes slaying Aigisthos and Klytaimestra, and could hardly have worked independent of Aischylos[73]. The fate of Pentheus and Lykurgos was painted in the younger of the two temples in the Dionysiac precinct south of the Acropolis[74]. The date of this temple has been fixed at approximately 400 B.C.[75] The punishment of Pentheus was particularly popular with the tragedians, and the dependence of this painting on the play of Aischylos or Euripides is all but certain. The former’s Lykurgeia was the source of the numerous vase paintings of Lower Italy representing the madness of the Thracian king[76], and one may infer that this 24painting mentioned by Pausanias was essentially the Aischylean Lykurgos. In the same place were two other scenes from the career of Dionysos. Ariadne was represented as being forsaken by Theseus and rescued by the god, and in another place Dionysos was conducting Hephaistos to Olympos. Euripides’ Theseus handled the love episode in the first of the two latter, and this play was probably not without its effect upon the popularity of the story which was of frequent occurrence, particularly in Pompeii[77]. This poet’s power in dealing with love exploits and depicting the sad case of unrequited love and the attending calamities, was a new force in literature and a never-failing spring from which the painter could draw. These compositions are one and all connected with Dionysos, while three of them are parallel with subjects handled in tragedy. Such scenes were possible only after the drama had popularized the subjects and prepared the way, so to speak, for the reception of the same in art. Even though one does not go so far as to contend that these paintings were an outgrowth of tragedy, they must be accepted as signs of the increasing interest in Dionysos and his worship—and this was primarily the Greater Dionysia, where the first editions of Greek tragedies were published. This was the period of Zeuxis and Parrhasios—the time when Euripidean πάθος was shaping artistic conceptions.

2. The Wall Paintings of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

The Pompeian wall paintings, representing scenes from tragedy, are largely reminiscences of earlier paintings, 25and many famous works that have already been referred to are doubtless preserved in more or less exact copies in these invaluable monuments. Besides the Medeia and Andromeda, which have been noticed above, there is a series of paintings based on the Hippolytos-Phaidra casualty[78], and another representing the sacrifice of Iphigeneia[79]. The latter exhibit a marked similarity to the work of Timanthes and the final scene in Euripides’ Iphigeneia at Aulis. Several important paintings represent the meeting of Orestes and Iphigeneia in the Tauric sanctuary, and there can be no question regarding the decided dramatic colouring here[80]. Two pictures are based on the Telephos legend, and remind one again of the Pergamon frieze and the relation of this to Euripides and Sophokles[81]. Daidalos with his wooden cow before Pasiphaë was another favourite Euripidean story told at Pompeii[82]. The excavations in 1895 brought to light an unusual number of priceless treasures in the casa dei Vettii. Among the paintings was one showing the death of Pentheus[83]. The maenads are hurling stones at him and thrusting him through with their thyrsoi; the wildness of the locality and the tone of the whole work make it highly probable that Euripides’ Bakchai was the artist’s inspiration. Mention may be made lastly of the punishment of Dirke, told in several paintings[84]. After what has been said touching the 26Farnese Bull, it is not necessary to point out again the part played in the Dirke monuments by Euripides’ Antiope.

A glance at this brief sketch of ancient paintings on tragic subjects cannot but impress one with the permanent and far-reaching influence of the tragic poet over the painter. The striking fact that stands out prominently before all others is the firm hold exercised by Euripides. Note the following subjects—Andromeda, Dirke, Hippolytos, Iphigeneia at Aulis, Medeia. Each of these characters has stamped upon it the form given by this poet. Others after him adapted and translated his work, but the ultimate authority remains none the less the Greek tragedian, and neither the ancient nor the modern world accepts any other than the Euripidean Andromeda, Hippolytos, or Medeia[85].

§ 4. Tragic Elements on the Etruscan Mirrors.

The engravers of the mirrors were less inventive than were the sculptors of the ash-urns, and they moved in a much narrower sphere. Their work is for the most part that of the ordinary mechanic whose hand is none too sure. The compositions taken from tragedy are common with those already met with on the Etruscan sarcophagi. There are Orestes and Pylades at the temple of the Tauric Artemis[86]; the Kalydonian Hunt, following the Μελέαγρος[87]; Daidalos constructing the 27wooden cow[88]; Polyxena taking her farewell of Hekabe[89]; three scenes from the Telephos legend[90]; the parting scene between Alkestis and Admetos[91]; and Prometheus chained to the Caucasus[92]. These instances at least may be adduced to emphasize the fact of the wide-spread familiarity of the Etruscans with tragedy. There is no doubt whatever that in these common everyday articles, as well as on their sarcophagi, the Etruscans had illustrations of the tragic poetry that may have been brought to them by troops of ‘Dionysiac artists’[93].

§ 5. Greek Tragedy and the ‘Megarian Bowls.’

Intermediate between sculpture and vase paintings appears a remarkably interesting class of vases, or rather cups, which are decorated with a band of relief. Certain of these are so intimately connected with the drama, and with Euripides in particular, that at least 28a brief reference should be made to them here. Examples of this ware are to be seen in nearly every large museum, and I have seen fit to include reproductions of three in the present work, as well as a small fragment of a fourth[94]. The inscriptions and general style of the vases lead one to date them in the second or third century B.C. They are surely not later than this, and not much earlier. They owe their origin to a wide-spread interest in the older Greek poets. The majority of the reliefs represent scenes from the Trojan and Theban Cycles, and illustrate some poetical work. We have to do at this time with those that are related to tragedy. It is plain from a casual glance at the nature of the compositions taken from tragic literature that it was not the words of the poet that suggested the figures to the artist so much as the theatrical performances themselves. The posings, gestures, groupings—in short, the general attempt at effect, take one past the written work to the Hellenistic stage. The motives are borrowed from Euripides, as played in the second- and third-century theatre. The humble artist who conceived these designs had visited the exhibitions of the Iphigeneia at Aulis or of the Phoinissai, and received fresh ideas for his work. It is necessary to emphasize the fact that these little monuments date from the time when the dominating force in art was the tragic drama. The influence of the theatre was felt among all classes of people. The guilds of Dionysiac actors travelled around from one village to another, and from one city to another, producing their répertoire from the three great tragedians, and, even when there was no 29permanent stage, delivered from an improvised platform bad and indifferent versions of the well-known plays[95]. The result was that tragedy was the one popular form of literature in the Hellenistic period, and this meant practically that the people were feasted on Euripides. The ‘Megarian Bowls’ are priceless treasures from this period when the drama had permeated all classes of society. The unpretentious reliefs are replete with the spirit that one may discover at the same time in Italy, Asia Minor, Athens, and Alexandria. They are direct witnesses of the fact that Euripides was the people’s poet, and re-enforce the impression gained from the study of all other classes of monuments.

For my own part I prefer to think of these cups as answering the place of text illustrations and corresponding to our illustrated editions of poetical works. One cannot imagine the papyri texts of the ancient poets illumined with illustrations, but these ‘Megarian Bowls’ meet every requirement of this kind of art. In order to keep the reader from going astray in the interpretation the scenes are often accompanied by inscriptions that render any misunderstanding impossible. The several groups showing the successive stages of the play serve in fact every end that is demanded of illustrations. Whether the vases were used by schoolmasters in drilling their boys in classical poetry, or whether they were ornaments for the home, the poet was sure to appeal to his admirers in a new manner. He could be easily remembered by this means if artificial aid was at all necessary. They had, moreover, the great merit of being cheap; any number of copies could be made 30from the mould, and such cups are really in existence[96]. If three replicas of one and the same work have accidentally survived the centuries and can to-day be studied as text illustrations of Euripides, how extensive must have been the production and use of this sort of art in ancient times![97]



§ 1. Theories advanced for the Earliest Point of Contact.

The question as to when the tragic drama first began to influence the vase painters has been in late years a much mooted one. When our knowledge of vase chronology was far more fragmentary than it is now, and the black figured fabric was dated as largely a fifth-century B.C. product, the attempt was made to point out the dependence on the drama of certain paintings of this style[98]. Later, when the improbability of this theory became more and more plain, and an earlier date was fixed for the black figured vases, other scholars endeavoured to show that the painters of Euphronios’ set—the masters of the severe red figured kylikes—stood under the influence of the three tragedians[99]. No 32one would venture, however, to speak now of the influence of any of the dramatists upon the vase painters of this style that flourished at the end of the sixth and beginning of the fifth century. More nearly correct was the principle laid down by Robert, in his famous book Bild und Lied, that no vase painting of the fifth century B.C. shows the influence of heroic legends as recast by the tragedians and produced in the theatre. Before the year 400 B.C. one should not expect to find scenes upon the vases that are the direct outcome of the tragic drama. This, however, is going too far to the other extreme. There is a mean that may be struck, and this is, as will appear, more in accord with the present knowledge of Greek ceramics.

§ 2. Earliest Evidence.

There is one point on which there seems to be little difference of opinion, and that is, that the lusty choruses of satyrs that abound on the early red figured vases were largely popularized through the Dionysiac trains. These groups of dancing, springing satyrs along with Dionysos are direct reflexions of the scenes that actually took place, and as these celebrations were the simple beginnings of the tragic drama there is in this class of pictures a remote echo of the theatre. Yet one must not understand that the artists were conscious of following any particular performance[100]. These scenes 33border more on what we should imagine a satyric drama to have been. It was a long way from this comical, kick-about dance of the satyrs around Dionysos and his altar to the time when the actual performance of the theatre, such as is seen on the Andromeda krater, occurs on the vases. Still these were beginnings. Another exceedingly instructive bit of evidence for the development of tragic influences (or rather it is better to speak still of Dionysiac influences) is found on a black figured vase in Bologna[101]. The painting represents the epiphany of the god who rides in a ship borne on wheels and drawn by two satyrs before whom march two others leading a steer. The god who sits enthroned upon the ship is being entertained by flute music furnished by two satyrs riding with him. Such sights we have reason to believe were not uncommon in Attica, and it may have been in such a carrus navalis that Thespis travelled the country and established the beginnings of the later drama. These πομπαί and the satyr-trains appear therefore to be a very significant inheritance which the earlier vase painters have left us for the disentangling of the all too bare literary records touching the origin of the tragic drama.

§ 3. Fifth Century.

Long before one can distinguish definite plays reflected in the vase paintings, certain marks of interest in tragedy may be detected. There are, for example, 34representations of the ceremony connected with the dedication of the tripod-prize. The painters of cir. 460 B.C. have already taken up this part of the dramatic performances and have indicated thereby the growing interest in the theatrical exhibitions[102]. About the same time also the personification of tragedy and comedy makes its appearance on the vases[103]. These are not in themselves points of so great weight, but they help to clear the way for understanding the tremendous influence which the drama had upon artists of the succeeding generations.

Down to the middle of the fifth century the predominating force in the legendary scenes on the vases was Homer and the other epic writers. At this point the latter began to share their popularity with the tragedians, and gradually but surely passed into the second place. That Robert’s position is not a correct one seems to me highly probable, and nevertheless one finds his words so often quoted that there is need of placing the evidence together and inquiring anew into the question. For my own part I am unable to understand why the theatre did not exert an influence upon the smaller art of vase industry as well as it did upon the more important art of painting. When one notes in the fifth century that great artists like Timanthes and Parrhasios were drawn under the spell of tragedy it is but natural to suppose that the same was true also in the case of the less famous vase painters. Why should the influence have been more pronounced in one instance than in the 35other? If Aischylos and Euripides were popular enough to warrant the support of the illustrious artists, one may correctly assume that the vase painter grasped this point likewise. The latter was primarily concerned in producing something saleable, and the pictures that were popular and saleable for the first class were no less so for the second class. This so far has, however, no further weight than one’s personal opinion. Let us turn to the monuments and see what there is to bear out this view.

The Berlin Andromeda krater may be referred to first[104]. This is one of the most brilliant examples ascribable to tragedy. The profusely decorated costumes induce one to believe that the artist really reproduced the dress of the actors in Euripides’ play. The theatrical air about the work is quite unmistakable, and its Attic origin leads one to connect it directly with the immense success won by the Andromeda in 412 B.C. The Kyklops vase, published and discussed below, also dates from the last quarter of the fifth century[105]. A vase in Naples representing Diomedes’ rape of the Palladium has been referred to Sophokles’ Λάκαιναι, and its date is cir. 420 B.C.[106] The painting on the Lower Italy vase published below is also from about this same time and follows the Eumenides[107]. I refer lastly to the celebrated satyr-play vase in Naples as belonging to this period, and furnishing at the same time the most palpable evidence of theatrical influence upon 36the artist[108]. The picture shows a recital of a satyr chorus in the presence of Dionysos and Ariadne, and is, as it were, a snap-shot of this peculiar institution. The painting has long been the keystone of the ancient testimony concerning the nature of the satyric drama. The richness of the costume worn by Dionysos and Ariadne gives an invaluable illustration of the actors’ dress. In this regard the work is in direct accord with Pollux’s καὶ ἐσθῆτες μὲν τραγικαὶ ποικίλον ... ὁ δὲ κροκωτὸς ἱμάτιον· Διόνυσος δὲ αὐτῷ ἐχρῆτο, καὶ μασχαλιστῆρι ἀνθινῷ καὶ θύρσῳ[109].

These are the most important examples that can be brought forward to show the influence of the drama on fifth-century vase painting, and although not to be compared with the vast number of paintings of a later period that indicate the development of tragic tendencies, they seem nevertheless to constitute a considerable array of evidence for the occurrence of definite tragic scenes borrowed from the drama. The vase paintings therefore of the last quarter of this century do furnish undoubted traces of the forms of the myths seen in the theatre[110].


§ 4. The Fourth Century and the Conditions in Lower Italy.

Till the close of the fifth century, or at least till the time of the Peloponnesian War, the export of vases from Athens, Corinth, and other centres in Greece was a lively and paying industry. This traffic had been carried on with all the Mediterranean and Black Sea ports, but especially with the cities of Italy. By far the largest number of sixth- and fifth-century Attic vases now in the European museums and private collections have come from excavations in Etruria. This article of trade must have been highly prized by the Etruscans, and it is to their fondness for Greek vases that we owe a very large part of our knowledge in this important field of classical archaeology. With the founding of Greek colonies in Italy the Greek industries were likewise established, and it was but a question of time till Thurii (founded 445 B.C.), Tarentum, Herakleia, and other cities supplied the western demand for vases, and so destroyed the Attic trade. As a matter of fact, few Attic vases belonging to the fourth century have been discovered in Lower Italy, and this means that from about 400 B.C. the demand had fallen off, and the manufacture in Athens had become gradually less and less important.

It was to favourable soil that this industry was transplanted. The cities of Magna Graecia and Sicily were as Greek as were Athens and Corinth, and they were, besides, far more prosperous. The fourth century was 38one of great luxury in these western capitals and Athenian art and letters found a hearty welcome here. It is instructive to observe the clear traces of Athenian art that are at hand on the coins of these regions. The legends on the coins of Thurii, Herakleia, Terina, and Syracuse, dating from the latter half of the fifth century b.c., are as distinctly Pheidian in style as are those of the corresponding time at Athens[111], and this shows clearly the intimate intercourse that existed between the East and the West, and how rapidly the colonists took up and appropriated the artistic notions of Athens. Many other things point to the thoroughly Greek landscape of Southern Italy. Greek names of cities abounded everywhere, and the ancestral hero of most of the Apulian towns was Diomede—the Aeneas of the South[112]. Each town had its own mint and struck its own coin with, of course, a Greek legend and a Greek inscription. Tarentum soon became the largest and most influential city of Magna Graecia. The city founded by Taras was destined to be the Athens of the West for some time to come. Here was the centre from which Attic influences penetrated inland. The literature and art of Hellas were received here and handed on to the neighbouring cities. It is but natural that this flourishing capital should have become the seat of the vase industry for this part of Italy. The manufacture was not, however, confined to the limits of the city. We know that other towns in Apulia contributed to the vast number of vases that we know as ‘Tarentine’ fabric. There is every 39reason to believe that this thoroughly Greek industry continued without any interruption till the capture of Tarentum, 272 B.C.; but at this point the interest in vase manufacture no doubt began to abate somewhat. When the commercial independence and rank of Tarentum were gone the period of decline began, and the vases that belong to the third century B.C. are neither numerous nor of great worth artistically. The mysteries of Lower Italy vase chronology are, however, too great to be settled for some time to come, and it is best not to be rash in assigning hard and fast dates to a class of monuments, the investigation concerning which is quite in its infancy.

But what can be said about the drama at Tarentum? The remarks already made hardly render it necessary to emphasize the high esteem in which the Attic tragedy was held. That it was patronized extensively and that it was the literature of the time was true in any Greek city of the fourth century, and here where a new Athens flourished it must have been doubly true. It is interesting, however, to learn something definite in this regard concerning the Tarentines. We learn from Plato that the people were inveterate theatre-goers, and that they did not stop short of drunkenness at the Dionysiac feast[113]. In another place one is told that when the Roman general Valerius sailed into the harbour in 282 B.C. the Tarentines were celebrating the Dionysia and paid no heed to the practical Roman[114]. Worse than this, Pyrrhus found it necessary to order the theatres to be closed that he might succeed in getting the men out for military service[115]. Such was the favourable soil in which 40the Attic drama took root in Lower Italy, and in this centre the influence of tragedy on the vase decorators was perhaps more far-reaching than in any ancient city.

The extent of the influence may be seen by an examination of the paintings on the Lower Italy vases. It has long since been noticed that many of the Apulian, Campanian, and Lucanian vase paintings have a marked theatrical composition. The costumes, posings, and gestures are often notoriously stage-like. In many cases one can observe the reminiscence of the stage setting; the scene often represents a temple or palace in or before which the action occurs[116], and even where one is not able to determine upon the literary source of the picture the dramatic handling is plain, and one is convinced that some tragedy furnished the suggestion for the work. The paintings are not to be considered by any means reliable copies of any particular scene in a theatre. They were abridged, extended or modified at the notion of the artist. When he took his ideas from the tragedian, he might turn the characters round to please his own fancy, putting in or omitting others. He never illustrated. The value of these paintings in helping one to reconstruct the lost plays is very considerable. They are generally certain to provide more valuable information regarding the lost literature than the few fragments that may have come down to us[117]. As the three tragedians of the fifth 41century B.C. were practically the only ones that were read and heard with pleasure in the fourth century, their work is the source of nearly all of the paintings based on tragedy. We may pass on therefore to our study of Aischylos, Sophokles, and Euripides in their influence upon the vase painters.



§ 1. Introduction.

Notwithstanding the fact that the oldest of the tragedians was the least read in the fourth century B.C., he easily rivals Sophokles in his influence on art. This was not due to his being more admired, and can only be accounted for by the bold situations that he invented-situations new and striking. There are certain of his plays that left a lasting impression on Greek and Roman art. Such are the Choephoroi, the Eumenides, and the Lykurgeia. Further than these, Aischylean plays did not appeal to the artist to any great extent. It is the peculiarly popular inventions distinguishable in these tragedies, their uniqueness, so to speak, that set them apart by themselves, a mark for the artist. The character of the plays is easily denoted. They ring with cries of murder and resound with the storming fury of avenging deities; we are struck by the perils of the situations and remain all but breathless to learn the issue. These features attracted the painter and sculptor, and this is what meets one on all the monuments that may be called Aischylean. The deep 43religious vein that pulsates in every line of the mighty tragedian is reflected to some degree on the vases and the sarcophagi. This force in art was rather epic; it was, in a way, Polygnotean, and the ethical nature of it all but condemned it for the artists who sought the πάθος of Euripides. This very fact explains why Aischylos and Sophokles did not address themselves more to the succeeding generations of artists. The ethical was more difficult to express than was the pathetic, and it was not so attractive. The spirit of the times, moreover, demanded the latter as it demanded Euripides, and consequently one should not expect to meet a large number of vase paintings that were made under the influence of either Aischylos or Sophokles. Those that can be associated with the extant tragedies of the former are given in the following pages. It will be observed that certain scenes from Aischylos were greatly in favour in Lower Italy. All of the nine paintings published are from Italian ware. Not one Attic vase that shows an Aischylean scene has, so far as I know, been discovered. In the West, however, where he was quite as much at home as in his own Athens and where he was destined to end his days, the vase decorators were largely influenced by him.

§ 2. Choephoroi.

There is no proof at hand that epic literature knew aught of Elektra or the part which she played in avenging her father’s murder. The fragments from the lyric poet Stesichoros furnish the oldest literary source for the Oresteia which became later so popular 44under the hands of the fifth-century tragedians. The trilogy of Aischylos which has happily come down to us is, therefore, the oldest extant authority. When one turns to works of art one discovers a series of vase paintings representing the death of Aigisthos; yet these are but a little older than Aischylos’ work[118]. Events concerned with Orestes’ return are even less common in early art. The Melan terra cotta plaque in the Louvre, which represents a scene somewhat similar to the opening of the Choephoroi, is the oldest of the Oresteia monuments, but still must be dated within the fifth century B.C.[119] It may be considered as fairly well established that Elektra and Orestes first appeared in art but a few years before the production of Aischylos’ trilogy in 458 B.C. Nor is it possible, so far as I know, to discover any influence of the Agamemnon or Choephoroi upon artistic productions in the last half of the century. A small group of vase paintings from Lower Italy belonging to the fourth century B.C. do, however, present situations which one may well believe to have been suggested by the early part of the Choephoroi.


Fig. 1.

The painting shown in fig. 1[120] represents a tomb, the base of which is decorated with triglyphs. Surmounting this is a stele, crowned with a Corinthian helm, and bearing the name ΑΓΑΜΕ[Μ]ΝΩΝ. Sitting with her back to the stele on the left is Elektra, ΕΛΕΚΤΡ[Α, wearing a chiton and mantle and clasping her left knee in a meditative mood; beside her is another female figure similarly dressed and holding a toilet box in the left arm, an unusually common article on the vases of Lower Italy. Perhaps the box is meant to recall the offerings which were brought in it to the grave. This person is not necessarily Chrysothemis, although her dress would be more appropriate for Elektra’s sister than for her attendant. It is, however, the work of the latter to carry such a box of offerings for Elektra. The figure may therefore be left unnamed. Her face is turned towards Orestes, ΟΡΕΣΤΗΣ, who stands on the right and appears to be speaking to Elektra, who pays no attention to his words or his gesture. He is in travelling costume, chlamys, petasos, and carries a spear and sword, but curiously enough wears no boots. Below 46him to the right in a similar attitude stands Pylades. He has simply a chlamys and a spear. Another youth sits above on a terrain. He serves to round out the picture, and indicates at the same time the attendants of Orestes. In the background are a sword and shield; on the grave is an amphora, as an offering, exactly the shape of the vase on which the painting occurs. There are numerous restorations in the work, but the main part seems to be antique. Heydemann states that the inscription on the stele is genuine, and also ΕΛΕΚΤΡ[Α. Doubt is expressed concerning ΟΡΕΣΤΗΣ.

We have before us the grave of Agamemnon, at which the first 585 verses of the Choephoroi were played. There is no trace of palace or royal building. Orestes, accompanied by Pylades, enters the orchestra and lays his tribute upon his father’s tomb, τύμβου δ’ ἐπ’ ὄχθῳ (v. 4), but suddenly withdraws to avoid the company of women which approaches with ceremonial step. The chorus and Elektra proceed to perform their services when the latter discovers the lock of hair, ἄγαλμα τύμβου (v. 200), and the footprints—two proofs that Orestes must be near. While she is still examining the tracks the latter comes up and proves beyond a doubt, by pointing to the garment that Elektra had once woven, who he is (vs. 212–232). Perhaps one may think of Elektra as sitting upon the grave at some point between v. 84 and v. 212, but when she had discovered the traces of Orestes’ presence, she must have been actively scanning the surroundings. It pleased the artist, however, to represent her as ignoring the appeal of her brother, or at least manifesting no signs of recognizing him. But for the presence of the τύμβος one would be inclined to see the influence of Sophokles’ 47Elektra, where Orestes’ words gain credence very slowly, and where Elektra hesitates long, before believing his assertions that he is living and standing before her (v. 1219 ff.). But the Sophoklean tragedy is played before the palace. The pedagogue and Orestes leave the orchestra to pour their libations on the grave (v. 82 ff.) when Elektra comes out of the house. The fact that the recognition scene is represented as taking place at the grave gives us therefore ample reason for accepting our painting as under the influence of the Choephoroi. This painting is strikingly free in its conception; no words of the poet can be cited as fitting the situation. The suggestion, the setting, are Aischylean; all else is the artist’s. The work is far removed from the character of an illustration.


Fig. 2 (vid. p. 47 ff.).

49The second painting is on a Lucanian hydria[121]. The central scene is again the τύμβος of Agamemnon, built up with several steps and surmounted by a stele with Ionic capital and bound by a fillet. Elektra sits upon the upper step in veil and chiton. She holds the former with her right hand and looks away into space. On other steps below her are a lekythos and other small vases, also a pomegranate and a fillet. The offerings are much more abundant here than in fig. 1. Unnoticed by his sister, Orestes approaches the stele on the left, dressed as in fig. 1, with the addition of boots. He is about to pour a libation from a kylix in his left hand. The male figure sitting next to him is doubtless Pylades. He turns his head towards the main scene. The remaining figure here is but remotely associated with the action. The persons on the right are more interesting. The youth standing on the step of the grave about to lay a wreath upon the stele is denoted by his kerykeion as Hermes. He wears a travelling costume without the usual boots. An elderly, bearded, male figure stands behind him. He is not characterized except by a mantle and a long staff, but has been interpreted as Orestes’ pedagogue. The only objection to this is his dress[122], but this may be due to the carelessness of the artist. Behind him is another bearded male figure sitting upon a sort of bag, or pack. His short chiton, shoes, and staff all point him out as a traveller. The peculiar, close-fitting cap denotes him as a foreigner. The female figure on the extreme right in Doric peplos carries an aryballos in her left hand, and gazes at the group before her. Perhaps she belongs to Elektra.

The discussion of fig. 1 above applies equally well to Orestes and Elektra here. We have practically a repetition of the group. The former figure is, however, thought of at an earlier moment. By removing Elektra one may think of Orestes at the opening of the play. He holds the vase in his hand rather than the lock of hair. The first words of the prologue are suggestive—

Ἑρμῆ χθόνιε πατρῷ’ ἐποπτεύων κράτη,
σωτὴρ γενοῦ μοι ξύμμαχός τ’ αἰτουμένῳ.

Chthonian Hermes, who guards the ancestral rights, has really manifested himself in the painting, and has appeared as a particular ally. The act of crowning the stele declares Hermes’ friendliness toward the family and his interest in Agamemnon’s shade. Elektra addresses him also and beseeches him to hear her supplications 50and pity her and her dear Orestes (v. 124 ff.). We may note, therefore, a special fitness in the artist’s expressing this double relation of Hermes to the children. Invoked by both of them as a protecting god he introduces nothing that is not in harmony with the spirit of Aischylos. The addition of this figure is, moreover, a good instance of the liberty which the vase painters took with their authors, and shows well the difference between illustration and independent work. It cannot be denied that with the assistance of this monument one is led to see between the lines of the Choephoroi. The pedagogue who does not appear in Aischylos is nevertheless a natural extension of the group. It will be remembered that he speaks the prologue in the Elektra of Sophokles and occupies the place which Pylades usually fills. In Euripides’ Elektra (v. 16), Autourgos says that Orestes had been given into the charge of a τροφεύς. The person resting on the pack appears at first sight a gratuitous addition of the artist, but on closer examination the suggestion for him is found in the poet. When Orestes explains to the chorus that he and Pylades will attempt to gain an entrance to the palace, he states that they will disguise themselves as foreigners by speaking the Phokean dialect (v. 563 f.). To Klytaimestra’s interrogations (v. 668 ff.) he replies—

ξἐνος μέν εἰμι Δαυλιεὺς ὲκ Φωκέων·
στείχοντα δ’ αὐτόφορτον οἰκείᾳ σαγῇ
εἰς Ἄργος ...

In other words, he is a stranger from Phokis who has to carry his own pack. It is upon this σαγή that the figure is resting. The artist has characterized him as 51a foreigner by the peculiar cap. No Greek ever wore such a head-dress. The make-up hints at the appearance of Orestes seeking admittance to the palace, while, of course, the person is to be understood merely as one of the latter’s servants. Whatever he may have said about carrying his own pack, no artist would have thus represented him. On the oldest of the Orestes-Elektra monuments, the Melan relief[123], there is such a figure standing behind Orestes with his luggage strapped to his shoulders. It seems to me that the painter has naïvely caught up the spirit of the text and brought in a figure which goes far towards adding a charm and interest to the scene.

Another Lucanian hydria representing the same scene is published here for the first time, in fig. 3[124]. It will be more instructive to point out the few points in which the two paintings differ from each other than to describe this one entire. The column in 3 has a Doric capital, with maeander and checker-board ornament; in 2 the capital is Ionic. In 3 Hermes stands on the ground; in 2 he stands on the step to the grave. Elektra reaches out her left hand in 3 as though to receive the libation; in 2 she is unmindful of Orestes. The latter holds a kylix in 2, and in 3 a pitcher. His hat is a pilos in 3, and he wears it; in 2 the petasos hangs on the back of his neck. The Phokean attendant sitting upon the luggage is in 3 upon the left, and in 2 upon the right. There is an extraordinary likeness between the two. There is the same crooked nose, short chiton, and odd cap, but the latter has no tassel in 3. The servant wears, besides, a chlamys and rests his stick over his leg. Behind him is the nude youth, as in 2, upon the left, holding an ointment vase in a sort of carrier. The two male figures of 2 adjoining the main scene are wanting in 3. In their stead is a female figure sitting upon a stool and holding a large toilet box. She is dressed in a Doric peplos with an apoptygma. She is evidently an attendant of Elektra, and reminds one strongly of the figure in fig. 1. Behind her is the charming girl, exactly as in 2, except that she carries the aryballos in her right, and in the left hand a small box.


Fig. 3 (vid. p. 51 ff.).

53The painting is, it would seem, more beautiful than that of fig. 2, although the publication of the latter is an old one, and may be more or less inaccurate. I have not seen the vase myself. The scene is abbreviated by one figure; Pylades would be expected.

Still another painting is given in fig. 4[125], showing a further step of simplification. Only the middle group, with the female attendant carrying the aryballos, occurs. Hermes’ position is the same as in fig. 2, but the artist has forgotten to draw the wreath in his right. His chlamys, too, is buttoned properly instead of being wrapped around his arm. The latter, however, has the same stumpy appearance seen in 2 and 3. As the scene is simpler, so the offerings on the tomb are fewer. Orestes’ libation is here in a kantharos. The painting is a careless piece of work, and cannot be ranked with the other two. It is, however, very interesting as giving another link to the chain of evidence.

There can be little doubt that these vases all belong to the same artist or that they come from the same 54locality. The marvellous agreement that runs through them is something quite extraordinary. I know of no other similar cases in vase paintings of the red figured ware. The popularity of this scene, and therefore of Aischylos’ Choephoroi, is attested by such a series of paintings as one cannot find in the case of any other work in Greek literature.

Fig. 4.

Since writing the above I have discovered in the Louvre another Lucanian vase that represents a further simplification of this scene[126]. The painting is practically identical with the middle group in fig. 3. Peculiar to the Louvre painting are the tomb with five steps and 55the rather tall column, Doric order, surmounted by a krater; an aryballos and strigil, in addition to the taenia, are fastened to the column. There is a further slight variation in Elektra’s position, for on her right is a krater. On her left is a lekythos; below are the two pomegranates, taenia, and black lekythos, just as in fig. 3. The only difference in the other persons is that Orestes holds out a kylix and not a pitcher.

The painting is evidently a product of the same studio as are those in figs. 2, 3 and 4. It forms another member of this remarkable class of pictures that stands alone, unique in Greek ceramics, and bears witness to the enormous popularity of this scene from Aischylos. In the face of this important chain of evidence one is safe, it seems to me, in claiming that Aischylos was acted in the fourth century B.C. and that considerably. What kept this scene before the public and induced the artist and his pupils to turn out so many copies of the same work? To have been thus so saleable the picture must have been popular, and this could have come about best through the acted drama. These vases and those following, based on the Eumenides, must impress the impartial student with the fact that Euripides and Sophokles did not by any means oust Aischylos completely in Lower Italy.

§ 3. Eumenides.

The various stories which may have been popularly told in regard to Orestes’ purification, and his reconciliation with the Furies, prior to March 458 B.C. were swept for ever into oblivion by the last member of Aischylos’ trilogy. The stamp of his genius has ever 56remained upon the myth, and no one ever attempted to repeat his work[127]. All the elements of the persecution were cast by him into their final mould. The immense influence of this work is attested in no way more forcibly than by the monuments of art to which one can point. There is a long line of vase paintings, dating from the fifth century, that bear witness to the wide popularity of the Eumenides, and that give the most direct and authoritative testimony of the influence of the play upon the masses of the people. A sharp distinction must be made, however, between paintings that illustrate the general myth and those that exhibit unmistakable Aischylean features. Orestes’ pursuit and expiation were universally known, and the tale was so popular that it often found its way into art where the artist had in mind no poetic version of the story. So it is that there is a number of paintings representing Orestes either pursued by the Furies or already having reached the omphalos, which do not represent any situation or combination of situations that can be traced to Aischylos[128]. Of the number whose subject is Orestes at Delphi, at least four, it seems to me, are to be explained as substantially under the influence of the Eumenides and representing the first scene of the tragedy in more or less modified form.

I discuss first the scene on the St. Petersburg krater[129], fig. 5. The painting belongs to the latest period of ceramic art, and is in nearly every detail a hasty and careless piece of work. In an Ionic temple on four 57columns, all painted white, Orestes, flesh dark red, sits en face with his left arm around the omphalos which is covered with a white net. He holds the sword in the right and the sheath in the left, and wears boots and chlamys. On the steps of the temple lie five sleeping Furies. They are painted, flesh black, only in rough outline. Their dress is a short chiton. On the right, hastening from the temple, is the Pythia in long chiton and veil. She carries the big key—emblem of her office as κλῃδοῦχος[130]. Her flesh is white.

Fig. 5.

58The addition of the temple strikes one at once as being in harmony with the poet. To be sure, this need not mean a particularly close relation with the actual production of the play in a Greek theatre. Our temple is merely one of the numerous buildings of this class found upon the vases of Lower Italy, some of which were intended evidently as suggestions of the stage setting. In the present instance the coincidence is a happy one. The Agamemnon and the Choephoroi, which had just been produced, were both played before the palace at Argos, and this scenery was changed to represent the Apollo temple at Delphi for the third play. There can be no question as to this σκηνή for the Oresteia, at least, even though one does not allow an extensive background for the earlier plays. The painting is well adapted, therefore, for placing the opening scene vividly before us. It brings one closer to the meaning of the text than is apparent at first sight. In v. 1048 ff. of the Choephoroi Orestes saw the Furies. They wore bright chitons, and had snakes in their hair. He calls them hounds from whose eyes oozed ugly drops of blood. The chorus evidently did not see them, for Orestes cries, ‘You do not behold them here, but I do’.[131] At these words he is away to Delphi to seek Apollo’s protection. During the intermission which followed between the two plays the necessary alterations were made in the σκηνή and the costumes were changed. The chorus in particular, which had represented Argive maidens, underwent considerable transformation in order to appear again as Furies. The Eumenides is opened by the Pythia, who comes from the temple. She recounts the nature of her duties, and mentions various 59gods in her address until v. 30, at which point she turns from the orchestra to re-enter the temple and attend to the delivery of responses. In a moment she reappears in great fright, and begins to relate the cause of her alarm. The sight described is exactly that which the painter had in mind. One is able, however, to get behind the scenes with the aid of the picture, for the front of the temple is removed so that the interior is plainly in view. To compare the words of Aischylos and the painting more closely—the Pythia says that a terrible sight drove her ἐκ δόμων τῶν Λοξίου[132]. The artist has expressed this with some action, for she is actually represented as leaving ‘the house of Loxias.’ She adds further—

ὁρῶ δ’ ἐπ’ ὀμφαλῷ μὲν ἄνδρα θεομυσῆ
ἕδραν ἔχοντα προστρόπαιον, αἵματι
στάζοντα χεῖρας, καὶ νεοσπαδὲς ξίφος
ἔχοντ’ ...

The picture shows the man upon the omphalos, and in his hand the drawn sword. One may imagine that the suppliant’s hands are stained with blood, when but a short time before he had fled from the scene of the murder in Argos. Even greater explicitness characterizes the next words of the priestess:—

πρόσθεν δὲ τἀνδρὸς τοῦδε θαυμαστὸς λόχος
εὕδει γυναικῶν ἐν θρόνοισιν ἥμενος.

Surely a ‘marvellous troop of women’ fits the group which we see before us. In this particular the work is practically an illustration of the text. The distinction 60is at once made that the figures are not women nor Gorgons nor Harpies[133]. They are ἄπτεροι and μέλαιναι, and snore with unapproachable blasts. It should be noted that the figures in the painting are also black, as though in direct agreement with Aischylos[134]. They are further wingless, while the unpleasant details added are conceivable from the appearance of the ugly creatures. The number five is of course a mere accident. They lie here in an unconscious stupour till the ghost of Klytaimestra arouses them again. The Eumenides is, as is well known, the only extant Greek tragedy in which the chorus is not visible from the beginning of their part. In the Persai and Supplices of Aischylos and the Bakchai and Supplices of Euripides the chorus is, however, in the orchestra when the play opens.

There are still two other vase paintings to be considered in this connexion. They present minor variations from the one just discussed, but on the whole the three betray a common source. In fig. 6[135] one sees also the interior of the temple represented by three Ionic columns. Various dedicatory articles hang from the wall and ceiling. Further indications of the sanctuary are the two tripods, the laurel tree, and the omphalos. Orestes, characterized as usual by the drawn sword and flying chlamys, has fled to the latter 61and embraces it. His erect hair shows his fright. Apollo with bow and arrows hastens behind him and gestures with his right hand to drive back a Fury who is swooping down upon Orestes. She is but half in sight, and wears a short Doric peplos, and her flesh is black. The Pythia, with dishevelled gray hair and frightened mien, quits the sanctuary on the left. Her key, indistinctly drawn in Jahn’s publication, owing probably to the copyist’s ignorance of what the article really was, has just fallen from her hands. Artemis in her huntress-costume, carrying two spears, stands on tiptoe on the right of the omphalos and shades her eyes with her right hand as she peers at the disturbance. Two dogs are with her.

Fig. 6

The time of the Pythia’s exit from the temple, as in fig. 5, and the later moment when Apollo orders the 62Erinyes from the sanctuary, are well combined in this painting:—

ἔξω, κελεύω, τῶνδε δωμάτων τάχος
χωρεῖτ’, ἀπαλλάσσεσθε μαντικῶν μυχῶν,
μὴ καὶ λαβοῦσα πτηνὸν ἀργηστὴν ὄφιν,
χρυσηλάτου θώμιγγος ἐξορμώμενον,
ἀνῇς ὑπ’ ἄλγους μέλαν’ ἀπ’ ἀνθρώπων ἀφρόν.
vs. 179 ff.

Apollo’s authoritative bearing and absolute power in his own precinct are very well brought out by the artist. One can all but hear the ἔξω, κελεύω of Aischylos, and the arrows that the god holds in his left hand seem to show that Apollo is quite ready to carry out his threat. The whole is, moreover, dramatically told, and in this respect the stage influence is easily traceable in the painting. That the Fury is black accords again with the poet’s μέλαιναι (v. 52). The presence of Artemis lends a certain charm that one can attribute to the artist’s desire to appear original[136].

The following work falls still further away from the scenery of the play. Fig. 7 shows a painting on the neck of a large Apulian amphora in Berlin[137]. The limited space, and the secondary position likewise, have perhaps curtailed the scope of the work. No architectural details are given. The sanctuary is denoted by the omphalos and the tripod. Orestes has sought protection at the former, as in the preceding scenes, and looks back at 63a Fury, with short dress and huge wings, who runs toward him with a dagger in her right and a burning torch in the left hand. Apollo, who sits upon the tripod, a laurel bough in his hand and wreath in his hair, extends his right hand to repel the Fury as in fig. 6. On the right the Pythia, dressed as in fig. 5, leaves the shrine in fright, gesturing at the unexpected visitors. The painter has forgotten to give her the key. Beside her is an attendant carrying a sort of kylix in the left hand and looking back at the sanctuary.

Fig. 7.

It does not appear necessary to take up the details here after the examination which has been given to the preceding paintings. The artist’s debt to Aischylos was quite as direct as in the case of the two other works. The greatest modification occurs in the figure of the Fury, which is a being far removed from the Aischylean type.

A painting on a bell-shaped krater in the Louvre is less hampered by the scene given in Aischylos, and is accordingly more artistic[138]. The inventiveness and 64individuality of the artist come prominently to view, and the result is an intensely interesting composition. The combination of events and the manner in which all is told bring one a great deal nearer to the deeper meaning of Eumenides than any other monument with which I am acquainted.

Fig. 8.

The shrine of Apollo, the μυχός of vs. 39 and 170, is denoted by a platform on two steps, above which are the laurel tree and the omphalos. The god stands to the left in large, embroidered chiton or chlamys, grasping the tree with his left hand and extending his right, in which is a young pig, over the head of Orestes, who sits with his back to the omphalos. The latter holds his sword in his right hand, which is raised meditatively to his chin. Artemis stands behind the platform on the right, characterized by her costume and the spears. In the left-hand 65upper corner the shade of Klytaimestra, veiled, is engaged in arousing two Furies who sit fast asleep. She points toward Apollo with her right hand. Below is the half-figure of another Fury apparently rising out of the ground wide-awake. The Erinyes are all dressed like Artemis, in short costume and high boots.

The artist has combined with the first scene a moment earlier than the action of the play. Orestes’ expiation preceded the prologue of the Pythia. The purificatory rite had been performed immediately on his arrival at Delphi, for, when he first appears in the Eumenides, he is undefiled. This is plainly declared to Athena in vs. 237 ff., and to the Chorus and Athena in vs. 280 ff. While the purification is represented in various ways upon the other vase paintings[139], this ceremony is the only one that reminds us of Aischylos. The latter hints at the manner of the rite, and this passage has unquestionably suggested the group which we have before us:—

ποταίνιον γὰρ ὂν πρὸς ἑστίᾳ θεοῦ
Φοίβου καθαρμοῖς ἠλάθη χοιροκτόνοις. vs. 282 f.

‘While the blood was fresh it was cleansed at the shrine of the god Phoibos by purification with the blood of pigs.’ The ceremony is referred to again in

σφαγαὶ καθαιμάξωσι νεοθήλου βοτοῦ. v. 450.

There is, therefore, in the painting a representation of this service with pig’s blood. The freshness and beauty of the scene are peculiar to works of art in the Pheidian age, and the painting must be considered as a valuable 66witness of Aischylos’ influence. The fact that the work is Apulian and not Attic supplies an interesting bit of evidence for the extension of Athenian literature in Lower Italy during the fifth century B.C. Tarentum, which was scarcely less Athenian than Athens, received an edition of the plays brought out at the Greater Dionysia soon after their appearance in Athens. It is further to be remembered that Aischylos’ long connexion with Syracuse had probably made him more widely known in the West than was either Sophokles or Euripides during the fifth century. Our vase belongs to the last decades of the century, perhaps as early as 420 B.C., and in this period Euripides had scarcely gained a large following in Magna Graecia.

Apollo’s speech follows directly upon that of the Pythia’s. How the god appeared in the orchestra is a question on which scholars are not agreed. The most widely accepted view is that the ekkyklema was brought into use, and that on it the whole company was in some manner rolled or pushed out from the temple to the orchestra. This means that the chorus of twelve or fifteen, together with Orestes, Apollo, and Hermes, was moved bodily forward from the σκηνή, far enough at least to give the audience a glimpse of what had been the interior of the temple with all its surroundings. Apollo seems to speak of the Furies and Orestes as though he himself saw them and as though the audience could see them[140]. They are in fact in plain view if one insists upon the literal meaning of his words. It is argued on the other hand that such a ponderous weight could not have been moved by any machinery at Aischylos’ 67command. In other words, the ekkyklema, in the interpretation usually given the term, is not to be counted apart of the Aischylean scenic apparatus[141]. If Apollo stood in the doorway of the temple where he could look in upon the Furies and Orestes, and at the same time be seen by the audience, one has really no need of any machinery. The shade of Klytaimestra must also be thought of as appearing in the same place. She glances in upon the Furies who continue to give forth their grunts till v. 140, when they for the first time appear in the orchestra. There is much in favour of this explanation of the arrangements for the scene. Fortunately for our purpose it makes little difference which of the two opinions one follows. Conclusive evidence is hardly to be reached either one way or the other, yet the notion that Aischylos did not employ such extensive machinery as the ekkyklema must have been certainly does not harmonize either with the extant plays or with the tradition in regard to Aischylos’ inventions. My conviction is that from v. 64 the interior of the temple was in some way visible, and that the whole audience could see Orestes at the omphalos, surrounded by the slumbering Furies. The god reassures the suppliant of his support, and bids him leave for Athens and embrace the sacred image of Athena. He turns to Hermes, who is at hand for the occasion, and bids him accompany Orestes. At this point, v. 93, the two quit the orchestra, Orestes passing over the bodies of the Furies[142].

68Our painting follows the development in vs. 94–140, where the shade of Klytaimestra appears and chides the Erinyes for neglecting their duty and forgetting her and her rights. The artist has grasped the spirit of the poet, and has given a graphic account of the scene such as one is not likely to forget. The dread figure of the veiled ghost, who glances searchingly at the sleeping instruments of her vengeance and endeavours to rouse them into consciousness, is a creation but little inferior to that in Aischylos[143]. Her position on the extreme limits of the sanctuary serves to express the uncleanliness of the spirit and the incongruity of its appearing within the sacred ground. The gesture towards the main group connects the two scenes and lends a unity to the whole. This is real art and no illustration. One must remember that Orestes is at this time on his way to Athens, and that the shade did not appear in his presence. The very fact that the painter chose to unite the two moments adds greatly to the general effect. The tragedy is played in part before us. The number of Furies representing the chorus is the same that one meets first in Euripides[144], and that is particularly emphasized also by Aischylos in

ἔγειρ’, ἔγειρε καὶ σὺ τήνδ’, ἐγὼ δέ σε. v. 140.

Their dress is that of the later type of Erinyes—the huntress-costume of Artemis. This facilitated their motion. Perhaps the half-figure of the awakened Fury may be rising from the earth to continue the pursuit, 69but it seems to me more probable that the half-figure is such from choice. After the appearance of the Erinyes in the Choephoroi they are certainly above ground till conducted to their new home under the Areopagos.

While the story of Agamemnon’s murder and the succeeding terrible revenge wrought by Orestes, as well as the latter’s atonement at Delphi, were all a part of the legendary inheritance from a very early period and had played for some centuries, at least, before Aischylos an important rôle in the epic[145] and lyric[146] literature, it remained for the great tragedian to break new ground for the last chapter of the Oresteia. Orestes’ acquittal and deliverance were, prior to Aischylos, distinctly Delphic in setting; in his hands all became decidedly Athenian. Apollo had once been the sole divinity to absolve the murderer; Athena became the new arbiter and director of the case. The temple at Delphi gave way to the ‘Old Temple’ of Athena upon the Acropolis. Keeping these facts in mind, one has to look about for vase paintings which show traces of this Attic turn. So far, only the early scene at Delphi has claimed our attention, and here it has been possible to point out several compositions that demand the Eumenides to the exclusion of popular tradition.

From v. 235 the scene is transferred from Delphi to Athens, and remains throughout the rest of the play the ‘Old Temple’ on the Acropolis[147]. Athena becomes 70the centre. Everything moves about her. The one impressive figure in this part of the tragedy is the goddess. Orestes is simply a poor helpless mortal—the apparent subject of the action. He and the Erinyes sink into insignificance when compared with the majestic figure of Athena. Substantial traces of the influence of Aischylos’ invention have reached us on the vases. A small number of paintings claim the right to be considered under this head. The composition of all (I know three such) is so similar that it seemed necessary to reproduce only one.


Fig. 9 (vid. p. 70 ff.)

72The painting shown in fig. 9[148] represents the sanctuary at Delphi with the tripod and the omphalos; kneeling upon the latter is Orestes, in the same costume as that noticed in the preceding monuments, holding two spears in addition to the νεοσπαδὲς ξίφος. He glances up to the right, where Athena looks down upon him. Her right foot rests on a sort of plinth; she carries a double-pointed spear in her left hand and wears a Corinthian helm with peculiar crest[149]. Her dress is an embroidered Ionic chiton and large aigis. The latter is not uncommon on the fourth-century vases, and is characteristic of the exaggeration of types in this period. Apollo stands on the left of the omphalos, with a laurel branch on which are hung fillets and πινάκια[150]. He looks to the left at a winged Fury with a very elaborate costume, a huge serpent about her body and one in her hair; above the tripod is the bust of another Fury on whom are four snakes. In the left-hand upper corner a bust of a youth with chlamys, pilos, and a spear is most likely meant for Pylades. Corresponding to this on the other side are the head and shoulders of a woman, interpreted as Klytaimestra.

The two other vase paintings are, in the main, close counterparts of this and need not be described here. The Vatican amphora[151] is particularly interesting as representing Athena with aigis extended over Orestes to protect him from the Furies. The Capua hydria in Berlin[152] takes precedence over the other two in age, and 73furnishes us with the nearest approach to Aischylos’ time. It falls within the fifth century, while the others are to be placed in the last half of the fourth century.

The introduction of Athena is the unmistakable sign. She intervenes at Delphi simply because Aischylos introduced her in Athens. The artist transferred her to Delphi and combined the two scenes of the tragedy. If one considers only Orestes and Athena in fig. 9, and reads the interview between them in the Eumenides, he will appreciate at once how well the painter has managed his task. The whole make-up of the figures is that of stage characters. This is especially noticeable in the dresses of the Fury and Athena. This elegance and finery on vases of the fourth century were widely regulated by dramatic performances.

The set of paintings which thus associates Athena with Orestes’ delivery may be counted as the direct product of the Eumenides, and therefore important witnesses for the influence of Aischylos upon the succeeding century of Greek art.

§ 4. The lost Plays.

One might carry on a long and fruitless discussion concerning certain of the lost plays, and paintings that present subjects common to them. It must be all but ‘fruitless,’ since we know next to nothing about the character of some of these tragedies, as, for example, the Pentheus. But this whole question lies outside the province of the present work, and I shall not go further than to append a list of the vase paintings that do in all probability owe much to Aischylos.



Apulian amphora, Munich, no. 853. Pub. Millin, Tombeaux de Canose, pl. 13.
Apulian krater, Naples, no. 2874. Pub. Müller-Wieseler, Denkmäler der Alten Kunst, ii. pl. 37, 440. Cf. Welcker’s Aeschyleische Trilogie, p. 327.
Amphora from Ruvo, Naples, no. 3219 (p. 500 of Heydemann). Pub. Mon. d. Inst. iv. 16, B.
Krater from Anzi in the Basilicata, no. 3237 in Naples. Pub. Reinach-Millingen, Peintures, pl. 1 = Müller-Wieseler, op. cit. ii. pl. 38, 442 = Baumeister, Denkmäler, ii. p. 834.
Krater in Ruvo-Jatta coll. Pub. Catalogo Jatta, pl. 2. 5 = Annali d. Inst. 1874, pl. R.; cf. ibid. p. 194 ff.
Krater, also from Ruvo, in Brit. Mus.; cat. iv. F 271. Pub. Mon. d. Inst. v. pl. 23. Cf. Brunn in Annali d. Inst. 1850, p. 336 ff.
Fragment of an Apulian amphora in Dresden museum. Pub. Arch. Anz. 1891, p. 24; cf. p. 23 f.
Marble relief-vases. Pub. Welcker, Alte Denkmäler, ii. pl. 3. 8; cf. ibid., p. 94 ff.; Mon. d. Inst. ix. 45.
Cf. further for a discussion of most of these monuments, Michaelis, Annali d. Inst. 1872, p. 248 ff.


Tarentine amphora. Pub. Mon. d. Inst. v. pl. 11; cf. Annali d. Inst. 1866, p. 249 ff., and Arch. Ztg. 1879, p. 16, and G. Haupt. Commentationes archaeologicae in Aeschylum, Dissertationes Hallenses, xiii. 1895, p. 13 ff. Vid. also this work for the whole subject of Aischylos and the monuments.


Sophokles appears to have enjoyed together with Euripides a large share of popularity in the fourth and third centuries, and it is well known that with the Roman tragedians he was a very important factor. It must be held as passing strange that we can point to but few monuments inspired by him. One feels that there is abundant material in the Antigone, for example, to have aroused both painters and sculptors, and yet there is, so far as I know, no trace in Greek art of any Antigone scene that owes its existence to Sophokles. It is, however, true that tragedies which were known in ancient times as among the most celebrated, and which are to-day counted the masterpieces of Greek tragedy, were often particularly neglected by the artists. How meagre is the record of monuments based on the Prometheus, the Ion, or the Oedipus Rex! The reputation of a play cannot be taken as any guaranty, therefore, that the artist found in it the required motives. The gentle and calm Sophokles, who ‘made men as they ought to be and not as they are,’ wrote in a grand and dignified manner that charmed the people of his own time and won the 76praise and admiration of all posterity. How then is one to account for the small part that he played in ancient art? It seems to me that it rests on the fact that Sophokles was not a creative power. Say what we may of the elegance and grace of his style and the perfection of his diction, a glance at his extant work convinces us that he seldom allowed his imagination to carry him beyond the bounds of the accepted form of a myth. He preserved the mythological fabric with religious fervour and altered little. He was neither an iconoclast nor an innovator. The gods and heroes in their old-time relations to each other and to humanity served him fully, and he showed an unwillingness either to shatter the popular faith or to disturb it with new doctrines. So long, therefore, as nothing new mythologically was introduced, the value of the Sophoklean plays, from an artist’s point of view, was far below the fresh and dashing manner of Euripides, who left the old and beaten paths and added new chapters to the lives of the heroes and the exploits of the gods. It has already been observed that where Aischylos broke new ground he was followed by the painter and sculptor. The novelty of the Eumenides appealed to the artist even more strongly than to the public; here was something absolutely new, unheard of before. So it was with the Choephoroi, and we have already seen that of the extant plays these two are the only ones that influenced vase painting. Had Sophokles grafted new branches on the old trees of myths he would likewise have had a far larger following among ancient artists. As it is, it does not seem possible to point to a single vase painting that is indisputably a Sophoklean product, and one must be perplexed by the strange problem. 77To be sure conjectures have not been wanting, and here and there a painting has been named in connexion with Sophokles. But this is by no means a frequent occurrence, and there has never been any consensus of opinion among archaeologists that this or that picture must be the outgrowth of one of his extant tragedies. I have accordingly not published any painting under this head. It seemed best merely to point out the few instances where Sophoklean influences have been seen by some, and leave the student free to determine each case for himself[153].

Antigone. A Lucanian amphora in the Brit. Mus., cat. iv. F 175. A. 2. Pub. Reinach-Millingen, Peintures, pl. 54; cf. Hirzel in Arch. Ztg. 1863, p. 70, who bases the scene on vs. 376 ff. It may be remarked that the oriental cap of the king does not at all fit the position of the Theban Kreon.

Oed. Rex. Painting pub. Inghirami, Vasi fitt. iii. pl. 248 = Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 2. 11; cf. ibid. p. 62 ff., where vs. 316 ff. are thought of. A much more satisfactory interpretation is that kindly sent me by Professor Carl Robert. The scene represents Chryses before Agamemnon and is based on Il. 1.

Trachiniai. Herakles wrestles with the river god Acheloös in the presence of Deianeira. Reinach-Millingen, op. cit. pl. 10. B. 11. Robert in Arch. Ztg. 1883, p. 262, refers the painting to vs. 9–24 of the prologue, and calls my attention in a letter to another similar painting, unpublished, in the Jatta-Ruvo coll. no. 1092.

Two of the lost plays that have been held by some to be represented on vase paintings have already been referred to above[154].



§ 1. Introduction.

It has already been made clear that Euripides enjoyed an enormous popularity among Greek and Italian artists, and that he was the chief inspiration for works of art based on tragedy. This latter feature assumes a new interest when studied with the Greek vases. The great majority of these paintings, as has been pointed out, is to be placed within the fourth cent. B.C., and through them one approaches very near to the poet’s own time. They are to be valued, therefore, as most direct and reliable testimony concerning Greek tragedy and the place it occupied in the life of Lower Italy. Not a few of the paintings published in the following pages may have been seen by people who had known the Athenian society in which Euripides himself had moved. This proximity of the vases to the poet’s own day is an important point, and should be thoroughly comprehended in order to bring the true value of the paintings before one. The text of a classical Greek author, exposed to the emendatory zeal of the ancient grammarians and the ignorance and carelessness of scribes, had a precarious sort of existence before it was microscopically dissected 79and violently revised by modern philologists. Our oldest manuscript hardly goes back more than one-third of the way to the original. Between 1000 A.D. and 340 B.C., when the archetype of the three tragedians was ordered by Lykurgos, how long was the line of copies! It is vastly different with the edition of the Medeia, for example, on the amphora, p. 145. The vase relates the tragedy at first hand, and furnishes the student with an exhibition of the play that is more than twenty-two hundred years old. The original work and no copy carries one into the century succeeding the first production of the play. Such facts impress one with the importance of this class of monuments.

Before taking up the discussion of the vase paintings that are under the influence of Euripides, it may be well to examine for a moment the ancient testimony touching the poet. It is well known that he did not follow the orthodox form of tragic composition established by Aischylos and adhered to by Sophokles. He was less religious than either of the other two and, in the same degree, more a man of the world. He was interested in politics, rhetoric, and philosophy, and these elements accordingly found room in his plays. For introducing the common, ordinary affairs of daily life he was stoutly condemned by Aristophanes. His policy continued the same in spite of the virulent attacks of his enemies, and the individual appealed to him more strongly than the body politic; where the former poets had preached ἦθος and directed their messages to the world καθ’ ὅλον, Euripides disclosed for the first time the power of πάθος, and that of itself was specific and applied to the community καθ’ ἕκαστον. Herein lay Aristotle’s unfavourable criticism. The philosopher admired Homer, Aischylos, 80and Sophokles more than Euripides simply because he considered ἦθος to be a more potent factor than πάθος, and so he complains that none of the younger poets have the former[155]. By νέοι he evidently meant post-Euripidean writers, and yet there is no trace of the Aristotelian conception of ἦθος in Euripides. We may imagine that the great thinker looked for something more stable than πάθος. But this was all cold, calculating criticism, and Aristotle appears, for the most part, alone in placing Euripides below Aischylos and Sophokles. The Alexandrian grammarians were his chief followers. Plato found in Euripides an authority of great pre-eminence[156]. The immediate success that he enjoyed in his own time is well illustrated by the anecdote related in Plutarch’s Life of Nikias[157]. The fugitives from the Athenian army in the Sicilian expedition are said to have maintained themselves by reciting from Euripides’ works, and captives were able to gain their freedom by teaching their masters new selections from the Euripidean plays. The element of truth in this remarkable story enables one to understand something of the place held by this poet in the West. It is related of Alexander that he was particularly fond of Euripides, and that he performed the feat of reciting a whole scene from the Andromeda at his fatal banquet[158]. A certain Axionikos wrote a comedy called the ‘Lover of Euripides,’ in which he represented the people as suffering from the Euripides-fad to such an extent that they counted all other poetry worthless[159]. A fitting finale to all this is reached in the story told in the vita of Euripides to the effect that Philemon would have been willing to hang himself if 81thereby he might have seen Euripides. That he was always in men’s mouths is attested by the large number of fragments from the lost plays. It is instructive to see that he was quoted in the Hellenistic period to the exclusion of Aischylos and Sophokles. Wisdom and state-craft were found in Homer, Hesiod, Pindar, and Euripides[160]. One is not surprised, therefore, to learn that his tragedies were the only ones produced at certain Dionysia[161]. This was the period in which most of the vase paintings in the following pages belong, and it is only these numerous traditions of the unparalleled popularity of this poet, east and west, north and south, that makes it possible to appreciate his wide-spread influence over art. The vases have to be studied in this light, and only then does their importance as a Euripidean commentary become sufficiently clear.

A glance at the conditions in Magna Graecia is necessary before leaving this topic. The theatre-going propensities of the Tarentines has been mentioned above, and one has now to ask himself who their favourite poet was. There can be but one answer. Here, as in Africa, Asia Minor, and Sicily, the public was sure to find the greatest satisfaction in a Euripidean répertoire. The travelling troops of actors performed in all the towns of Apulia, Campania, and Lucania, and the tragic forms of the myths were widely published. Euripides was, in short, more than ever the people’s poet, and he became later, with the rise of Latin tragedy, the poet of the Republic. Roman tragedy was Greek in everything but 82the language. The 166 years between the death of Euripides and the production of Livius Andronicus’ first play in Rome were a seed-time for the works of the Greek poet. The titles of Livius’ ten tragedies include two from Euripides—the Andromeda and the Danaë—and the father of Latin poetry was a native of Tarentum. Ennius, born in Rudiae, which Strabo calls a πόλις Ἑλληνίς[162], was educated at Tarentum, and became the first national poet of the Romans. Among his twenty-two plays the following are either translations of Euripides or adaptations from him: Alexandrus, Andromacha, Andromeda, Erechtheus, Medea, Medea exul, Melanippa, Phoenix, Telephus, and perhaps Alcumena. Pacuvius, a nephew of Ennius, and the third one of the Latin tragedians, also followed Euripides more than Aischylos or Sophokles. He was born in Brundusium 268 B.C. and died in Tarentum 140 B.C. These three poets who come first in the history of Latin literature are peculiarly indebted to Euripides and likewise have a special relation to Magna Graecia and Tarentum. More than half of the whole number of works produced by them would appear to have been Euripidean. Whether it was the rhetorical or pathetic element that appealed to the Romans more strongly, the fact that Euripides was the primary force in Latin tragedy is very important.

In this attempt to indicate the wider influence of the Attic drama upon the Latins I have been carried beyond the time of the vase industry, but the Latin literature of the third and second century B.C. was the legitimate product of the conditions that had prevailed in the preceding period. The Greek literary and artistic genius blossomed into an Italian flower and flourished in the 83soil that had been fertilized by centuries of Hellenic influences. It is to a small section of this wonderful life in Magna Graecia that the present work is devoted. The vase paintings that follow can best tell their own story of the wide-spread Hellenization of Lower Italy in the fourth century and of the place held by Euripides in the onward march of Hellenism.

§ 2. Andromache.

It does not appear that in the pre-Euripidean literature Orestes played any part in the death of Neoptolemos. Pindar at least did not know anything of the Menelaos-Orestes conspiracy against the son of Achilles[163] but Menelaos’ relation to Sparta afforded a rare opportunity for a political polemic. The latter could be painted as a much more despicable character, as could also the Lakedaimonians in general, provided Orestes were involved in the unholy murder. The anti-Spartan feeling in Athens was sufficient to guarantee a hearty reception to any drama depicting the crookedness and treachery of the Spartan character. Such a play was certain to meet the demands of a campaign document.

The Andromache has, however, little of the merit which one can usually discover in Euripides; it was classed even by the ancients among his second-rate works[164]. There is but one effective situation in the whole tragedy, and that is the speech of the messenger, vs. 1085–1165, which gives the account of Neoptolemos’ murder at Delphi. The beginning is remarkably simple and unaffected, but when once the poet gets under way 84the action increases rapidly in violence, becoming at every step more and more intense until at last the whole temple of Apollo resounds with the roar of the unholy tumult. Orestes’ party is, of course, victorious over the single-handed descendant of Peleus. This manœuvring inside the temple is unique, and intensely dramatic and picturesque. The pictorial importance of the scene is attested by a painting on a large amphora found in Ruvo[165].

Fig. 10.

In the centre is the sanctuary of Apollo denoted by two tripods, the laurel tree, the omphalos covered with a netting, and the altar. To the latter, already dashed with blood, Neoptolemos, ΝΕΟΠΤΟΛΕΜΟΣ, has fled. He holds a drawn sword in his right hand and whirls his 85chlamys about his left. He wears a petasos and has a sword-cut in his left side from which blood is oozing. His face is turned towards the omphalos behind which Orestes, ΟΡΕΣΤΑΣ, appears to be dodging. He has a chlamys and a pilos; in his left hand the sheath of a sword, the latter being in his right. On the left, behind the altar, is another youth, nude except the chlamys on the left arm. He holds a spear in the right hand as though about to cast it at Neoptolemos. The centre of the upper section is filled out with an Ionic temple, the doors of which are open. On the left, the half-figure of a woman, recognizable by the key as the temple priestess (κλῃδοῦχος)[166], appears in great alarm. Apollo, ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝ, with his bow, occupies a seat on the right of the temple[167].

In order to understand the painting it is necessary to bear in mind what preceded the speech of the messenger. Andromache, the wife of Hektor, had fallen to the lot of Neoptolemos on the division of the Trojan spoils and had been taken by him to Phthia. As his captive she had raised him a son, Molossos, while his lawful wife Hermione, daughter of Menelaos and cousin of Orestes, continued barren. Hermione, being suspicious that it was through some drugs of Andromache that she had been rendered thus unhappy, determined upon the 86latter’s death, and while Neoptolemos was absent at Delphi to atone for certain family wrongs the desperate Hermione proceeded to carry out her resolve to destroy both the mother and the young Molossos. This spiteful work of the injured wife occupies the first part of the tragedy. The two are finally saved by the intervention of the aged Peleus, and Hermione thereupon resolves to kill herself. At this point, Orestes, who is on his way to consult the oracle at Dodona, enters. On learning of the insults and injuries that had been heaped upon Hermione, once promised him for a bride, he at once undertakes to relieve her of any reason for dreading the return of Neoptolemos and the attendant disclosure of her wicked plans.

He leaves accordingly for Delphi. The messenger comes in after a song by the chorus and relates what has taken place. Orestes had gone round putting the Delphians on their guard against this Neoptolemos whose plan was to sack the temple. Credence was at once given to the fabrication, and the inhabitants determined upon a bold step. When Neoptolemos was at the altar addressing the god, the band of armed Delphians who were lying in wait for him behind the sacred laurel tree sprang out and fell upon him.

This furnishes the setting for our painting, and we may turn for a little to a closer examination of the account given by the poet. It will be noticed that the artist, while in some respects keeping close to the latter, has in the main done his work rather independently. Common to both are the δάφνη (v. 1115) and the βωμός (vs. 1123 and 1138). The attacking party in the painting includes Orestes, thus emphasizing the point which Euripides really had in mind. In this particular 87the artist has gone ahead of the poet. It appears, indeed, as though Orestes had just made the slash in Neoptolemos’ side. The moment represented is, therefore, that when the fight was on. The Delphians appear to have but one representative, who is certainly creating far less annoyance for Neoptolemos than does the company in Euripides, where they hurl rocks and fill the air with dust and din. The setting of the scene in the painting is magnificent. Everything points to the great shrine; both the exterior and interior of the temple are visible. As for the Ionic order it should be remembered that this has nought to do with the historic facts in the case. An examination of the buildings on the vases of Lower Italy reveals a decided preference on the part of the artists for this order of architecture[168]. The painting is an excellent example of the influence of the poet over the artist. This is, however, no mere illustration, a fact to be remembered in dealing with all the paintings of this class; the spirit and not the letter is what one can trace most readily in works of art based upon the tragedians. The agreement between the literary source and the picture is more apparent here than in most instances, and this is largely due to the fact that the Andromache is particularly Euripidean. This turn does not occur in any other author. A parallel case will be observed in the chapter dealing with Iphigeneia among the Taurians. It is this alteration and extension of old myths which characterizes Euripides’ work. These new features were popular and attracted the public, and here one gets the key to the unparalleled influence which this poet exercised upon artists.


§ 3. Bakchai.

Euripides’ Bakchai is our chief authority concerning the fate of Pentheus[169], yet this writer did not by any means establish the details of the story. This was done long before Thespis may have assayed to dramatize the tragic episode[170] and before Aischylos wrote his Pentheus[171]. It is not probable that Euripides materially altered the accepted form of the myth, and there may be in his play a mixture of the traditional and Aischylean versions. Pentheus’ death, like the madness of the Thracian king Lykurgos, was inseparably connected with the advent of the Dionysiac worship. The series of victories won by the orgiastic god from the wild North was not bloodless; his coming was attended with opposition. In the end, however, his foes were annihilated or ruined, and the new joy brought in by the foreign god captivated a nation and made it his devout worshipper. Euripides could say little or nothing new touching the triumph of Dionysos over the king of Thebes, yet this tragedy, one of the most brilliant pieces of Greek literature, paints in glorious colours the history of the victory.

The events, as told by Euripides, are briefly as follows. Dionysos has arrived in Thebes from Lydia and the East, where he had already established his choirs of Bacchanals. Thebes was the first city to which he came, and here, where he least expected 89opposition, scepticism met him. The sisters of his mother Semele circulated the report that he was no god but an impostor. He forthwith drove the Kadmeian women maddened from their homes to wander in the mountains attired in the Dionysiac dress; the Bacchic craze spread further, and seized even the seer Teiresias and Kadmos, who with thyrsoi and fawn-skins joined the orgies. Pentheus, on hearing of these strange doings, appears and chides them both, and threatens to hunt the women from the mountains and punish the stranger who has made his family drunk with frenzy. At v. 434 Dionysos, bewitchingly beautiful, is led a prisoner before Pentheus, who orders him to be bound and cast into the royal stable. Soon afterward the walls are heard to crash in and flames burst forth in every direction (v. 593 ff.). The god, to be sure, is safe, and Pentheus is mocked and wild with anger, while the former bids him be quiet and subdue his anger. At this point a messenger arrives to recount the strange sights that had met his eyes on the mountains. Three bands of women, led by Autonoë, Agave, and Ino, had rushed upon his herd of cattle and torn them limb from limb, and afterward they washed the blood from their hands in a fountain made to flow by the god. In the face of these wonders he urges Pentheus to honour the latter, but the king will not brook this Bacchic insolence and threatens to sacrifice a hekatomb of women on Kithairon rather than propitiate the unwelcome visitor. Dionysos advises him not to kick against the pricks (v. 795); in a moment Pentheus’ attitude is seen to change; the secret power of the god is working on him; he will see the strange actions himself, and would rather forfeit a thousand-weight in gold than forgo the opportunity (v. 812). 90The linen chiton is at once provided, and Dionysos, who is to lead the way, directs the arrangement of the dress so that Pentheus shall not be mistaken for a man. After some scruples as to the figure he may make before his citizens he is anxious to be off. Once in the mountains giddiness comes upon him. He sees two suns, and a double Thebes, and twice seven gates; he declares that the god himself has taken on a bull’s form with horns (v. 918 ff.). Immediately thereafter he obtains the first glimpse of the women. There are Ino and his mother Agave. Then he worries lest he may not hold his thyrsos correctly. This shows his sad predicament too plainly. Dionysos has done his work; his vengeance on the recalcitrant Pentheus is at hand. At first the latter feels himself able to overturn the whole mountain and asks the advice of the god as to the best means of annihilating the troop. When violence is not recommended he suggests that he had best hide in a pine-tree to view the sight (v. 954). Nothing further is ever heard from the king’s own lips except in his death-cry reported by the messenger who had accompanied him. When they had reached the band in the glen, shadowed by pines (πεύκη, v. 1052), the thicket was so dense that Pentheus requested that he might be allowed to ascend the bank or climb a tree (v. 1061) in order to command the field. Dionysos bent a tree to the ground, placed the king upon the boughs and allowed it to rise again, and, turning to his devotees, pointed to their prey. Stones and darts are directed at Pentheus, and finally the tree is pulled up by main force and he falls an easy victim to the maddened women. Agave, heeding none of his cries, tears out a shoulder; Ino, Autonoë, and the rest help in dismembering the king. 91His mother fixed his head upon a thyrsos and led the troop on a wild dance over Kithairon, finally coming to the palace. Gradually freed from the insanity, she realized the enormity of her crime. Dionysos’ godhead was, however, established, and the house of Kadmos remained a terrible witness of his power. These are the harrowing details of the murder, and one cannot wonder that there are numerous vase paintings based on the tragedy.

There is a long list of vases that can for the most part be passed over with a mere reference. They are all, with perhaps one exception, later than 500 B.C. This means that the impetus for the tragedy in art was given largely by the tragic drama. The oldest painting is older than the Pentheus of Aischylos and cannot, therefore, be connected with his play. There may have been an earlier dramatization, such as that recorded of Thespis, which figured in this monument[172]. All the remaining paintings belong to the latter part of the fifth century B.C. and the fourth century B.C., and are, with one exception, of too general a character to be used as evidence for one of the tragedies[173]. On the Munich hydria it seems 92to me there are clear traces of the Bakchai, and this widely-known work is given here in fig. 11[174].

Fig. 11.

Pentheus, wearing chlamys, pilos, and boots, crouches, with a drawn sword in his right hand, in a thicket denoted by two trees. A maenad who appears to have just discovered him rushes into the hiding-place with a torch in her right hand[175]; she is dressed in a plain, Doric peplos. Another maenad, similarly dressed but having a fawn-skin over the left hand and a sword in the right, does not seem to have sighted Pentheus. A third, dressed like the first one, holding a tympanon in the left hand and a thyrsos in the right, approaches wholly unconcerned with the discovery of her companions. On the right is another group of three maenads all dressed alike and all in rapid motion. The first holds in either hand the quarters of a kid or roe. The second shoulders the thyrsos with her left hand and makes an ecstatic gesture with her right. The third one, in even more violent motion, swings her veil about her and rushes on towards the left.

93It should be noted, to begin with, that the vase is a Lower Italy fabric of the fourth century B.C., and that there is therefore no chronological difficulty in placing it under the influence of the Bakchai. The troop of maenads is arranged symmetrically, an equal number being on each side of the central scene, and this suggests the chorus in the play. The striking feature is the introduction of the landscape; there is no doubt as to where the catastrophe occurs. The artist did not allow himself the licence of placing Pentheus in the tree, for this had been too grotesque a sight for the fourth-century painter. The frequent references to the thicket[176] and the protection it was or the inconvenience it caused, is happily brought out in the picture, but the poet has not been followed in details. Pentheus does not appear with the thyrsos, talaric chiton, and dishevelled hair, for the simple reason that he would have been indistinguishable from the maenads. As he appears in the painting the contrast is striking and the eye at once grasps the situation. The torch held by the foremost maenad lights the way to the retreat of Pentheus, suggesting the words—

καὶ πρὸς οὐρανὸν
καὶ γαῖαν ἐστήριζε φῶς σεμνοῦ πυρός. v. 1082 f.

That one is armed with a sword while the others have no weapon finds also a parallel in Euripides, who says one time that they used nought but their hands—

χειρὸς ἀσιδήρου μέτα. v. 736.

and again that the sword shall do its work—

ἴτω ξιφηφόρος. vs. 992, 1012.

94The wild revelry of the whole is instructive when studied with the poet. The Bacchanal who flaunts the quarters of her victim reminds one at once of the words—

ἀγρεύων | αἷμα τραγοκτόνον, ὠμοφάγον χάριν. v. 138 f.

In conclusion, reference should be made again to the newly discovered wall painting in Pompeii. It is so remarkably preserved and so thoroughly in the spirit of Euripides that there can be little doubt as to the influence of the Bakchai[177]. The only Pentheus painting recorded in classical literature was that in the Dionysos temple in Athens, which may also have been inspired by Euripides[178]. Is the Pompeian painting an echo of the celebrated one in Athens?

§ 4. Hekabe.

The Hekabe is one of those plays which, like the Andromache, embraces a series of events loosely associated. There are in fact two distinct parts to this tragedy, having no other connexion than one would observe between two separate works where the same heroine appeared. Two heavy blows which the Fates dealt Hekabe after the fall of Troy constitute the subject of the action.

The first of these new calamities was the death of Polyxena. The Greeks are encamped on the Chersonesos side of the Hellespont. Among the captives 95are the former queen of Troy and her daughter. Achilles, who is among the shades, demands of the Greeks that Polyxena be sacrificed to him. The request cannot be ignored, and Odysseus and others are commissioned to secure her from her mother. The parting scene between Hekabe and the daughter is heartrending, but the courage and self-control exhibited by the latter are remarkable. Talthybios, the faithful herald of Agamemnon, afterwards reports to Hekabe the details of the sacrifice, and this description of the fair and innocent Polyxena is one of the gems of Greek literature. The lines in particular which describe her actions immediately before the fatal moment are famous for their beauty.

Although the offering of Polyxena was known in Greek art and letters before Euripides’ time[179], the subject must have been far more popular after the production of this tragedy. It appears to me a mere accident that no vase painting representing the scene has so far come to light. There is, however, on a so-called ‘Megarian Bowl’ a relief decoration, probably dating from the third century B.C., which doubtless owes its existence to Euripides[180]. It has seemed to me desirable to include 96this here, even though it carries us beyond the limits prescribed to the present work. The cup, found in Thebes, is in the Berlin Antiquarium[181]. The middle of the composition represents the tumulus of Achilles, above which is raised a stele with akroteria and a fillet. On the left, Polyxena, with exposed bosom and flowing hair, kneels with extended arms. Approaching her is Neoptolemos wearing a chlamys and holding his sword ready for the fatal stroke; behind the latter is a figure in a short undergarment, mantle and pilos. The cap distinguishes the person as Odysseus. Agamemnon sits with back to the beholder upon the extreme left, and lifts his left hand (not his right hand as Robert says), evidently astonished at the remarkable composure of the victim. On the right of the tomb are three warriors, who are more or less closely connected with the others. The first one appears to raise his hand in wonder at the fortitude of Polyxena; the second, who does not seem to be armed, has the appearance of one weeping; the third is apparently little interested in the tragedy. It 97is not necessary to name these three persons, evidently representatives of the Achaeans. The first one may perhaps be Talthybios, since he says he was present (v. 524). The dolphins upon the vase are meant no doubt to characterize the sea-shore where the sacrifice took place.

Fig. 12.

The essential part of the composition is, however, the tumulus and the figures on the left. Everything here illustrates Euripides. One reads in v. 221 of

... ὀρθὸν χῶμ’ Ἀχιλλείου τάφου.

The attitude of Polyxena is based upon the beautiful verses in the messenger’s speech:—

λαβοῦσα πέπλους ἐξ ἄκρας ἐπωμίδος
ἔρῥηξε λαγόνος ἐς μέσον παρ’ ὀμφαλόν,
μαστούς τ’ ἔδειξε στέρνα θ’ ὡς ἀγάλματος
98κάλλιστα, καὶ καθεῖσα πρὸς γαῖαν γόνυ
ἔλεξε πάντων τλημονέστατον λόγον·
‘ἰδοὺ τόδ’, εἰ μὲν στέρνον, ὦ νεανία,
παίειν προθυμεῖ, παῖσον, εἰ δ’ ὑπ’ αὐχένα
χρῄζεις, πάρεστι λαιμὸς εὐτρεπὴς ὅδε.’
ὁ δ’ οὐ θέλων τε καὶ θέλων, οἴκτῳ κόρης,
τέμνει σιδήρῳ πνεύματος διαρῥοάς. vs. 558–567.

Even the hesitation of Neoptolemos, expressed in the last two verses, finds its place in the relief. Odysseus, who was intimately identified with the proceedings from first to last (vs. 218–437), could not be wanting in an illustration of the final scene. Agamemnon too is fittingly present, for, according to Euripides, he had given the order to carry out the sacrifice,

Ἀγαμέμνων τ’ ἄναξ
εἶπεν μεθεῖναι παρθένον νεανίαις. vs. 553 f.

and had dismissed Talthybios to Hekabe (v. 504).

The second part of the play begins with v. 658, where the servant of Hekabe enters with the body of the latter’s young son Polydoros. Priam had intrusted the boy to Polymestor, king of Thrace, when the Greeks attacked Ilion. A considerable sum of gold accompanied the child to ensure his maintenance if the city should be captured. As long as the Trojans held out, Polymestor was true to his charge, but no sooner had the news of the downfall of Priam’s house reached the ears of the good Thracian than he put the child to death for the money and cast his body out unburied. This is related in the prologue by the ghost of Polydoros, who also prophesies the death of Polyxena on that day. His body was accordingly discovered by the attendant, who happened upon it by mere chance, and immediately 99after receiving the terrible message from Talthybios, Hekabe was made to bow beneath another sorrow. She at once summons her courage and determines to have revenge upon the unrighteous Polymestor. She first relates to Agamemnon the story of the boy’s death, and the king, deeply incensed at the ἀξενία of the Thracian, agrees to her plan for avenging herself on the latter. She sends for Polymestor under the pretence of disclosing to him some weighty matter. He comes, and at her request dismisses his bodyguard, not mistrusting in the least that his crime had been discovered. To questions as to the welfare of Polydoros and the safety of the gold he replies that all is well and that the child would gladly have come to visit his mother. Hekabe then proceeds to tell him of some treasures which she wishes to commit to his keeping. These are in the tent, and he shall go inside and examine them for himself. ‘No Achaean is within; we are quite alone,’ she says, and with this assurance Polymestor leaves the light of day for ever. Once inside, his cries of agony soon announce that Hekabe has done her work with swift and certain hand.

The scene representing the reappearance of the blinded Polymestor has been recognized on a Lucanian vase[182]. In the middle stands the helpless king, his arms extended in a distressed manner. He is dressed in a short, embroidered chiton and a mantle, and wears a tall head-gear that indicates his barbarian nationality. Agamemnon is on the left, with sceptre and himation; he appears to be addressing the former. Following is a doryphoros. On the right are Hekabe and an attendant, 100both dressed in chiton and mantle. The latter places her arm over Hekabe’s shoulder and seems to be comforting her, as she shrinks away from the figure in the centre. The cane is suggestive of the queen’s age and of the wandering life upon which she is entering. A sword rests upon the ground, pointing probably to the weapon which was used to blind Polymestor. It is not necessary to cite any particular verses from Euripides which the artist may have had in mind. He simply told the story as it recurred to him. Especially suggestive of the king’s staggering step are the verses beginning

ὤμοι ἐγώ, πᾷ βῶ,
πᾷ στῶ, πᾷ κέλσω; vs. 1056 ff.,

spoken when Polymestor first appeared before the tent of Hekabe after the latter had put out his eyes. The chorus, Agamemnon, and Hekabe are then present, and with alternating parts fill out the rest of the play (vs. 1109 ff.).

Fig. 13.


§ 5. Hippolytos.

In the Phaidra of Sophokles and the first Hippolytos of Euripides it was Phaidra herself who acknowledged to Hippolytos her love for him. The votary of Artemis, at once enraged at this effrontery, cast her aside. She then defamed the youth to Theseus, who, believing her statement, prayed to Poseidon to destroy his son. The god accordingly sent a sea-monster to frighten the horses of Hippolytos, and the latter was soon dragged to his death. On receiving the news of this, Phaidra hung herself[183]. Sophokles’ play does not appear to have ever made any impression upon the world and must have been soon forgotten, and Euripides’ tragedy met with great disapproval. Such a Phaidra was more than the Greeks would tolerate. The poet grasped the situation and wrote another Hippolytos, which set him right with his public. It was no longer Phaidra in and of herself who became the instrument of the youth’s death; Aphrodite, angered at Hippolytos’ serving Artemis instead of herself, starts the gentle flame within Phaidra’s bosom and visits her with a love-sickness that drives the unfortunate woman into a confession of her illness to her attendant. On the latter’s placing the matter before Hippolytos, all to no avail, Phaidra takes her own life, not forgetting, however, to leave behind a letter containing delicate charges against her step-son. Theseus returns, finds his wife a corpse, and reads the letter. The curse and death of 102his son follow, as in the earlier Hippolytos. This ruin was brought on him not so much by Phaidra as by Aphrodite.

The tragedy was counted among the best of Euripides’, and has always retained its popularity. The subject was dramatized again in Greek[184], and there is extant the Latin version of Seneca[185]. The theme was one which was sure to appeal to modern authors, and among the French alone one hears of no less than seven tragedies on the love of Phaidra, written between the years 1573 and 1786. Four of these, the most famous of which is Racine’s Phèdre, belong to the seventeenth century. They are, however, more directly indebted to Seneca and Ovid[186] than to Euripides. Mention should be made also of the two operas by Pellegrin, 1733, and Lemoine, 1786. But after all has been said on versions of the story either in classical or modern times, one turns to the masterpiece of Euripides as the great work. According to the author of the Hypothesis, the play is among the best of this poet and was given the first prize. In reflecting that Hippolytos has stood forth since March, 428 B.C., as the beau idéal of innocent, unsullied, young manhood, one is inclined to credit the judges with possessing good sense.

There was hardly a more attractive legend than this which the artists might have been tempted to make their own, yet one discovers a surprising dearth of Greek monuments that can be referred to the myth. From these I select two vase paintings that appear to be based upon Euripides.


Fig. 14 (vid. p. 102 ff.).

104Fig. 14 represents a painting on a krater in the British Museum[187]. The upper section alone concerns us here, and this shows the interior of a gynaikonitis with kline. On the left is a group of two females. One sits on a stool to the right, wears chiton and veil, diadem, bracelets, and necklace, and leans forward, with head dropped to one side, clasping her right knee thrown over the other. Her left foot rests on a foot-stool. Behind her a white-haired servant in the usual costume holds her right hand to her chin, and with troubled air gestures with the left hand as she speaks to her mistress. A large Eros with immense wings flies down towards the latter with a taenia in his hands. There are, further, two other groups of two each. The one before the kline is two females again. An attendant, distinguished by her hood, who holds a fan in her right hand, talks and gestures earnestly before the other, who wears the simple Doric peplos, ungirdled, and stands with her back to the kline in a disturbed and troubled sort of mood. The remaining group of two, a pedagogue in the customary dress and a female figure similar to the one on the extreme left, is also concerned over some important matter which the pedagogue is telling. Certain articles hang on the wall.

The picture has been interpreted as representing Phaidra in the presence of the chorus, and depending upon Hippolytos vs. 267 ff. The right-hand group would then be very loosely connected with the rest. In so far as the love-sickness of Phaidra is concerned this appears 105to me a correct interpretation, but that the chorus is in any way represented by the other figures is entirely out of the question. The whole affair is supposed to be in Phaidra’s apartments, to which at no time the Troizenian women had access. What would they be doing by the kline[188]? The pedagogue is added on one side, as though to indicate how the news is spreading among the domestics[189].

But let me turn for a moment to another class of monuments that help to a better understanding of the scene. There are no less than seventeen reliefs on the long side of Roman sarcophagi which are practically intact and furnish from two to three scenes of the tragedy. Less frequently the ends contain one or two other groups supplementing the front side[190]. There are four moments that are distinctly traceable. (1) The love-sick Phaidra sits on a chair in her apartments surrounded by the old nurse and other servants, who attempt to comfort her. She wears a veil as on the vase painting, and on two reliefs one of the attendants is removing this[191]. The diadem is also distinguishable. (2) The nurse makes her declaration to Hippolytos, who turns away from her. (3) Hippolytos with his followers is 106about to start upon, or is already engaged in, the hunt. (4) The horses run away and bring him to his death. All four scenes occur on the famous sarcophagus in Girgenti[192], and on another in St. Petersburg[193]. It will be observed that in three of the four groups Hippolytos himself is present, and one naturally looks for him in scenes taken from the tragedy where he is the main figure. The earliest scene in Euripides which develops the hopeless state of affairs with Phaidra is, however, of prime importance next to the death of Hippolytos.

But a brief comparison of the left-hand group of our painting and the Phaidra scene on these reliefs is necessary, in order to reveal a striking resemblance in the compositions. The one difference rests in the size of the groups; the painter has confined himself to fewer figures. This fact, however, is of little importance. A closer examination of the two discloses much that points to a common source. On nearly all the reliefs Phaidra’s chair has, as in the painting, no back or arms; Eros, who flies towards Phaidra in fig. 14, invariably stands beside her on the sarcophagi, looking up into her sad face, or, what is still worse, aims an arrow at her[194]. The queen wears in all cases the veil, and often on the reliefs the diadem likewise[195]. The nurse never fails in her ministry.

It is time now to look more closely at the tragedy. After the prologue by Aphrodite, Hippolytos and his 107followers enter and pay their homage to Artemis. The hero lays a wreath upon her statue, which adorned one side of the entrance to Pittheus’ palace. The attendants are ordered inside and he then withdraws. His servant remains long enough to address a prayer to Aphrodite’s image on the other side of the stage. Following is the parodos in which the chorus relates what had been learned concerning the illness of Phaidra. Among other things they hear that she sits

... λεπτὰ δὲ φάρη
ξανθὰν κεφαλὰν σκιάζειν. v. 133 f.

This, it will be observed, corresponds to her position in the painting and in the reliefs. It is just this time of abstinence and mourning, spent in the palace surrounded by the faithful old nurse and other servants, which suggested the scene on the reliefs and on the vase. The visitations of Eros serve well to bring into objectivity the real cause of Phaidra’s illness, and to render the poet more plain. To be sure this all took place in her apartments, ἐντὸς οἴκων (v. 132), and could therefore be worked out according to the artist’s fancy. A long and animated scene ensues, in which Phaidra utters strange expressions that betray the sadness of her condition. The trophos finally coaxes the secret from her, and the chorus dips in from time to time as a sort of second to the nurse. The interview which the latter has with Hippolytos, vs. 601–668, is overheard by Phaidra. Her unrequited love bears her down and she leaves the stage determined to die (v. 731), and in a few moments is announced as dead[196].

108The scenes on the sarcophagi representing Hippolytos’ hunt, the counterpart of Phaidra’s illness, and the trophos’ proposal[197] to the hero do not appear on vases.

Hippolytos’ ride to death, the terrible finale of the tragedy, appears on an Apulian krater also in the British Museum[198]. The painting falls into an upper and lower section. In the latter, Hippolytos dashes along in his chariot; the four horses are not in any apparent disorder although the next moment must be fatal, for just before them the sea-monster rises into view, and a Fury with a flaming torch and serpents wound about her arms runs into their course. A pedagogue hurries along from the rear, extending his left hand, warning Hippolytos of his danger. The scene is viewed by five divinities. Their positions are the stereotyped ones of the Apulian vases, and their connexion with the tragedy before them need not be intimate[199]. Athena in the middle, a great favourite in these groups, leans on her shield and carries a lance and in her right hand the helmet. Apollo, distinguished by bow, laurel bough, and wreath in the hair, sits on her right, facing Pan who stands half reversed to the beholder with the syrinx in the right hand, and resting his left elbow on a rock. On Athena’s left sits Aphrodite, attended by a large Eros, who extends a kylix to Poseidon sitting on the right, holding the trident. There is certainly ample reason for the presence of the last two gods at the death of Hippolytos; they are, in fact, very instrumental in bringing about the catastrophe. I am not able to assign any satisfactory reason for the appearance of Athena, Apollo, and Pan. Mere speculation concerning the choice of these deities cannot be of much value. Artemis is surely indispensable in a group of gods concerned with Hippolytos’ death. Any one who knows these groups on the vases of Lower Italy is aware that Athena is a great favourite and often appears, as here, merely because she was so admired. Perhaps Apollo is intended to represent Artemis, but it is not likely that the artist thought so far[200].


Fig. 15 (vid. p. 108 ff.).

110In regard to the lower section it may be observed first that the district is not denoted in any way as being the sea-shore where Euripides sends the youth for a drive[201]. There is no water indicated, out of which the ταῦρος ἄγριον τέρας[202] is issuing. The mounted companions 111of Hippolytos are represented only by the pedagogue. The time is that just preceding the breaking away of the horses described by the messenger, vs. 1218 ff. The Fury, a gratuitous addition of the artist, serves to intensify the violence of the death awaiting Hippolytos.

The deplorable end of the hero has never failed to awaken one’s sympathy. The innocent youth dragged to his death through the workings of a hasty and unjust curse presents one of the most pathetic pictures in Greek literature. It is well depicted by Philostratos in the Imagines[203]. ‘You see,’ he says, ‘how the horses no longer obey the reins but rush madly along the plain, covered with foam. This one makes for the wild beast, the second rebounds, another rushes for the sea, and the fourth glances fearfully at the ground.’ The breaking and crashing of the chariot are pointed out. Then the companions gallop up and try to manage the horses. The hills near by, sentinels of the disaster, in the form of women, tear their cheeks for grief; the meadows, in the form of boys, allow their flowers to wilt and the nymphs from the springs rend their hair, while water spouts from their breasts. Hippolytos’ limbs are torn and shattered, and his eyes are gouged from their sockets. Pliny tells of a painting by Antiphilus of Alexandria which represented Hippolytus tauro emisso expavescens[204], but nothing further is known of Antiphilus or when he lived. The sarcophagi reliefs representing the catastrophe are numerous, compared with those showing any other moment[205]. Not less interesting is the list of Etruscan urns decorated with reliefs showing the bull, the runaway 112horses, and the expavescens youth[206]. In all of these a female figure, doubtless a Fury, is frightening the horses[207]. In two cases she is winged, and every one carries a torch likewise, as on the vase painting.

§ 6. Iphigeneia at Aulis.

The story of Iphigeneia’s sacrifice appears to have been told first in the Kypria, and yet only occasional references are made to it by writers before the fifth century. It was the drama that infused new life into the myth and launched it as one of the most popular ones in the Trojan Cycle. Each of the three great tragedians tried his hand at the catastrophe in Aulis. Euripides’ work, the only one surviving, is at least two generations younger than the play of Aischylos, so that the wide popularity of the tragedy in this period is well attested. Among the Roman poets we know that Ennius, at least, wrote a version of the tragedy. Although it is known that this poet had a special predilection for Euripides, and for the most part translated or adapted the latter’s plays, attempts have been made to show that in his Iphigenia Ennius was largely indebted to Sophokles[208]. The few fragments remaining from these three Iphigeneias are, however, inconsiderable, and a clear notion of their relation to each other cannot be reached. The extant work of Euripides is accordingly of great value to us.

In art, likewise, this subject was rarely treated. I know of no Iphigeneia monument earlier than the fifth century. There is a reference in the Agamemnon to the 113sacrifice as though Aischylos may have seen the scene represented in a painting[209], and granted that the poet really had such a work in mind this becomes the earliest date for Iphigeneia in art. The earliest monument of which we possess any authentic record is the famous painting of Timanthes, who was a contemporary of Zeuxis and Parrhasios[210]. This date, however, does not carry one beyond the last years of the fifth century B.C.—an altogether late date for an art representation of a myth, which, from Aischylos’ time at least, was widely known. We have reason to believe that Timanthes’ work was suggested by Euripides’ tragedy. The latter was first produced in Athens after the poet’s death, not earlier than 405 B.C., and this requires that the painting be placed near the end of the century, which many are unwilling to admit; it is, however, more a matter of opinion than proof. Traces of this celebrated picture are very probably at hand in the well-known Pompeian wall painting[211], and the Uffizi altar[212]. The composition of the latter has much in common with such fifth-century products as the Orpheus and Peliades reliefs[213]. The Etruscan urns on the other hand furnish a wealth of reliefs representing the sacrifice, rarely surpassed in this class of monuments. Numbers have come to light 114in the neighbourhood of Perugia especially[214]. Two groups are easily distinguishable, (1) Iphigeneia, as a little girl, is held over the altar by Odysseus, while Agamemnon goes through the ἀπαρχαί. (2) The first group is extended by (a) Klytaimestra on the side of Agamemnon, and (b) Achilles on the side of Odysseus, each begging for mercy and the life of Iphigeneia. This is all non-Euripidean, and Schlie has attempted to point out that the reliefs owe their origin to Ennius’ play which combined Sophoklean and Euripidean elements[215].

There is no vase painting which can be claimed for this scene in its Euripidean character, but the whole play is the basis of a relief on a ‘Megarian’ cup, and the illustration is so valuable for the proper appreciation of the tragedy that I do not hesitate to include this little monument. The cup furnishes inscriptional evidence not only for the dramatis personae but for the literary source as well, and is, therefore, a unicum among the monuments that are based upon Euripides. The cut given in fig. 16 is of the vase in Berlin[216]. It should be observed, however, that there are two other copies of this same work, and that they tell exactly the same story from the Iphigeneia[217]. A word is necessary in order to prepare us for the first scene given. Agamemnon had sent a message to Argos summoning Iphigeneia, 115and, in spite of his attempt to countermand this by a secret letter to Klytaimestra, he was forced to face the results of his earlier resolve. His daughter came, and accompanying her were her mother and her young brother Orestes. The nuptials were to be celebrated with the son of Peleus, and the Argive party in gayest, happiest mood halted before the tent of Agamemnon. The Chalkian women, who through curiosity had crossed the Euripos to see the gathered hosts of the Greeks, are ready at hand to assist Iphigeneia in alighting from the chariot. The lad Orestes, who appears to have gone to sleep during the journey, is awakened and lifted down by one of the kindly strangers. With her mother’s permission, Iphigeneia hastens inside to meet her father[218]—she, innocently happy over the arrival of her wedding day—he, overcome with grief at her impending death, and smitten with remorse at the enormity of his crime.

Fig. 16.

116This much renders plain the group on the right. Agamemnon, ΑΓΑΜΕΜΝΩΝ, sits upon his θρόνος with one foot on a foot-rest; his right hand is placed to his temple as though to shut out the gaze of Iphigeneia, ΙΦΙΓΕΝΕΙΑ, who approaches him in a beseeching manner with extended arms. The group is based upon vs. 644 ff.—

Iph. ἔα·
ὡς οὐ βλέπεις ἕκηλον, ἄσμενος μ’ ἰδών.
Aga. πόλλ’ ἀνδρὶ βασιλεῖ καὶ στρατηλάτῃ μέλει.
       ·       ·       ·       ·       ·
Iph. μέθες νυν ὀφρὺν ὄμμα τ’ ἔκτεινον φίλον.
       ·       ·       ·       ·       ·
κἄπειτα λείβεις δάκρυ’ ἀπ’ ὀμμάτων σέθεν;

Such is the situation described by the poet, and surely the artist has succeeded to a considerable degree in grasping the meaning of the scene. Klytaimestra, ΚΛΥΤΑΙΜΗΣΤΡΑ[219], appears on the left with Orestes, ΟΡΕΣΤΗΣ, and would seem to have had the boy in charge after he was helped from the chariot (vs. 621 f.). Following is the inscription, ΕΥΡ[ΙΠΙΔΟΥ] ΙΦΙΓΕΝΕΙΑΣ. The genitive case in the last word may depend upon some such word as τύποι. To avoid a possible misunderstanding of the scenes, even with the characters 117named each time, the artist considered it advisable to add the literary source. This is the Iphigeneia of Euripides and not of any other poet.

After Iphigeneia leaves her father he endeavours to persuade Klytaimestra to return to Argos and leave the final arrangements for the nuptials in his charge. Naturally enough she refuses, and retires to appear at v. 819, where she meets Achilles and enthusiastically brings up the subject of the marriage. Achilles, amazed at the disclosure, assures the queen that he has neither wooed Iphigeneia nor heard aught from the Atreidai concerning any such an alliance. This scene is represented in the next group. Achilles, ΑΧΙΛΛΕΥΣ, bends toward Klytaimestra and gestures emphatically. The latter holds her hand to her chin and is evidently dumbfounded by the declarations. The last words exchanged before the two separate are suggestive—

Ach. ἴσως ἐκερτόμησε κἀμὲ καὶ σέ τις,
ἀλλ’ ἀμελίᾳ δὸς αὐτὰ καὶ φαύλως φέρε.
Kly. χαῖρ’· οὐ γὰρ ὀρθοῖς ὄμμασίν ς’ ἔτ’ εἰσορῶ,
ψευδὴς γενομένη καὶ παθοῦς’ ἀνάξια.
Ach. καὶ σοὶ τόδ’ ἐστὶν ἐξ ἐμοῦ· πόσιν δὲ σὸν
στείχω ματεύσων τῶνδε δωμάτων ἔσω. vs. 849–854.

Immediately after these words the faithful old servant of Agamemnon comes out and relates to Klytaimestra that Iphigeneia is to be slain by her father; he goes further and tells the cause of it all, and how he had failed to get away to Argos with the letter. This meeting of the servant, ΠΡΕΣΣΒΥΣ, and the queen, is dramatically told in the third group. The former 118wears the costume of a pedagogue, with peculiar-looking boots. The latter has laid aside the veil which she wears in all the other scenes.

The following groups on the relief reverse the order of the text, so it is best to consider first that on the extreme left. Agamemnon, Klytaimestra, and Iphigeneia are all named. The young Orestes pulls at his father’s chiton; the latter has a mantle over his head, and shields his face with his left hand. The mother has turned aside and is consumed with her deep sorrow. She had won the sympathy of Achilles after the talk with the old servant, vs. 896–1035, and following the choral song appears again to seek Agamemnon whom neither she nor Iphigeneia had seen since the terrible truth of the marriage was disclosed. She calls her daughter from the house, v. 1117, and bids her

λαβοῦς’ Ὀρέστην σὸν κασίγνητον, τέκνον.

All of these figures occur on the cup, so that in a certain sense the whole scene from v. 1122 to v. 1275 is illustrated. The position of Klytaimestra and Iphigeneia would, however, lead one to think that the latter’s long appeal was particularly in the mind of the artist. She recounts in words, as eloquent as they are pathetic, the promises her father had once made to her as a child, and goes over all the ambitions that had filled her girlish heart in the happy Argive home.

βλέψον πρὸς ἡμᾶς, ὄμμα δὸς φίλημά τε,
ἵν’ ἀλλὰ τοῦτο κατθανοῦς’ ἔχω σέθεν
μνημεῖον, εἰ μὴ τοῖς ἐμοῖς πείθει λόγοις.
ἀδελφέ, μικρὸς μὲν σύ γ’ ἐπίκουρος φίλοις,
ὅμως δὲ συνδάκρυσον, ἱκέτευσον πατρὸς
τὴν σὴν ἀδελφὴν μὴ θανεῖν· αἴσθημά τοι
119κἀν νηπίοις γε τῶν κακῶν ἐγγίγνεται.
ἰδοὺ σιωπῶν λίσσεταί ς’ ὅδ’, ὦ πάτερ.
ἀλλ’ αἴδεσαί με καὶ κατοίκτειρον βίον.
ναί, πρὸς γενείου ς’ ἀντόμεσθα δύο φίλω·
ὁ μὲν νεοσσός ἐστιν, ἡ δ’ ηὐξημένη. vs. 1238–1248.

There is certainly inspiration enough in these verses for a more pretentious group than the simple terra cotta cup presents, but lacking all other Greek monuments bearing upon this scene one may prize this witness as a valuable inheritance from the Hellenistic period. Agamemnon speaks; he loves his child and realizes full well the meaning of the sacrifice, but he must obey the clamourings of the Greeks.

Iphigeneia and her mother remain alone with the chorus and bewail the bitterness of their sorrow, vs. 1276–1345, when a company of men is observed approaching. Among them is Achilles. His attempt to intercede in behalf of the doomed Iphigeneia had been of no avail. The Achaeans were inexorable; her blood must be spilt. Nevertheless he promises them his assistance, and encourages Klytaimestra to resist Odysseus and the others who come to drag her daughter away to the altar, vs. 1338–1433. The early part of this scene is recognizable in the remaining group.

Iph. διαχαλᾶτέ μοι μέλαθρα, δμῶες, ὡς κρύψω δέμας.
Kly. τί δέ, τέκνον φεύγεις;
Iph. Ἀχιλλέα τόνδ’ ἰδεῖν αἰσχύνομαι.
Kly. ὁς τί δέ;
Iph. τὸ δυστυχές μοι τῶν γάμων αἰδῶ φέρει.
Kly. οὐκ ἐν ἁβρότητι κεῖσαι πρὸς τὰ νῦν πεπτωκότα.
ἀλλὰ μίμν’· οὐ σεμνότητος ἔργον, ἢν δυνώμεθα.
Ach. ὦ γύναι τάλαινα, Λήδας θύγατερ. vs. 1340–1345.

120Achilles stands with staff in hand, either about to address the mother or perhaps having uttered the last verse above. Iphigeneia turns with bowed head to avoid his presence; her mother evidently tries to detain her. Inscriptions again indicate who the persons are. We have then precisely the situation in the lines quoted.

The sacrifice which followed, was attended by the marvellous wonder, and it was to be expected that if any one incident of the tragedy was told in art it would be the scene at the altar. Our little monument curiously enough stops where all the others begin. We are taken step by step up to the final act and there we are left. The works enumerated above[220] are, without exception, confined to the moment of the sacrifice. The famous wall painting and the Florence altar have much in common with the renowned painting of Timanthes, and all three are conceived in the spirit of Euripides as far as the actions of Agamemnon are concerned.

... ὡς δ’ ἐσεῖδεν Ἀγαμέμνων ἄναξ
ἐπὶ σφαγὰς στείχουσαν εὶς ἄλσος κόρην,
ἀνεστέναζε, κἄμπαλιν στρέψας κάρα
δάκρυα προῆγεν, ὀμμάτων πέπλον προθείς. vs. 1547 ff.

And so he stands completely wrapped in his mantle, exposing no part of his face. In this invention lay the unsurpassed success which Timanthes enjoyed with his painting. The dates for this artist allow us to place the work subsequent to the production of the Iphigeneia in 405 B.C., and credit Euripides with influencing Timanthes. This is at least possible, but does not admit of proof. It appears to me very likely that all three of these works are more or less closely connected with 121each other and with Euripides. The Etruscan ash-urns on the other hand, as well as the vase painting in the British Museum[221], follow a totally different version of the story. In these cases Agamemnon himself takes the part of the priest in the ceremony, and performs the ἀπαρχαί. So far from being the tender-hearted father who cannot even stand and watch the offering, he draws the fatal knife or pours the sacrificial liquid upon the victim’s head. Traces of this turn are found early in tragedy[222], but this is an Agamemnon with a far different heart from the one we follow in the Iphigeneia of Euripides. Even though the part from v. 1532 till the close of the play be thrown out as an interpolation, the character of Agamemnon in the first 1500 verses could not have changed so suddenly at the end that he would have taken the place of Kalchas at the altar. This set of monuments does not, therefore, give us the Euripidean spirit.

§ 7. Iphigeneia among the Taurians.

Euripides in all probability created in the life of Iphigeneia the chapter concerning her return to Greece with Orestes. There is at any rate no trace of this turn in preceding authors. Homer does not appear to have known any such a daughter of Agamemnon, unless one is to seek to identify Iphigeneia with Iphianassa. The ‘king of men’ speaks of

Χρυσόθεμις καὶ Λαοδίκη καὶ Ιφιάνασσα. Il. 9. 145.

as his three daughters. We know, however, from 122Sophokles[223] that Iphianassa was distinguished from Iphigeneia. Since Homer has not even her name there is no allusion to the catastrophe at Aulis. It is first in the Kypria[224], a work usually accredited to Stasinos in the early part of the eighth century B.C., that reference is made to the gathered hosts at Aulis, the calm, the sacrifice. It was not Iphigeneia, however, who was the victim, for Artemis had suddenly intervened and, having taken her away to the Black Sea country, had blessed her with immortality. From this date then the myth may have been widely spread among the Greeks. Hesiod related in his Κατάλογος γυναικῶν that Iphigeneia had received the gift of immortality from Artemis, thus following closely the author of the Kypria[225]. Herodotos also repeats the same story[226]. One looks in vain for any trace of her delivery from this wild people, until the latter part of Euripides’ life. Then it is that new light breaks in upon the old orthodox form of the myth: the mortal side of Iphigeneia is made to assume a new interest for the world, and she, who had been long lost amidst a wild, barbarous people, is suddenly restored to her only hope, Orestes. This is the work of ‘Euripides, the human, with his droppings of warm tears.’ With this tragedy the poet created at once a definite chapter in dramatic literature and furnished another impetus for ancient art.

There are traces of two other Greek tragedies dealing with this same subject; yet the play of Timestheos is a mere name[227], while that of Polyeidos is but little more. Aristotle, however, has given a certain prominence to 123the latter work by making two references to it in his Poetics[228]. This differed from the play of Euripides particularly in the recognition scene. The ἀναγνώρισις was brought about by Orestes using the words ‘and shall I too be sacrificed?’ Who but Orestes was likely to know aught of the attempt once made to sacrifice her at Aulis? It is worthy of note that the libretto of Glück’s opera also follows this manner of the dénouement. Among the Latin dramatists we hear that Naevius wrote a play called Iphigenia. One verse only is preserved[229]. It goes without saying that the tragedy was taken from the Greek, but from what author it is worthless to conjecture. The Dolorestes of Pacuvius was long thought to deal with the same subject, but this has been shown to be of an entirely different character. It is altogether improbable that these Latin versions worked any radical change in the Euripidean form of the myth. It is true that the story was remodelled in some particulars; Hyginus, e.g. in fabula 261, relates that the bones of Orestes had been brought from Aricia to Rome and had been interred before the temple of Saturn! Such a violent contortion of the myth may be laid to the credit of a poet[230], but I would prefer to recognize in the words of Hyginus the influence of the mythological handbooks which were written up in a manner well calculated to pamper the national pride of the Romans.

In no work written subsequent to Euripides is it possible to detect the sources for the representations of the myth in art; in all cases the poet of the fifth century B.C. can be shown to have wielded his absolute 124power. We shall see in the discussion of the vase paintings based upon the play that this class of monuments is not the only one in which the new Iphigeneia found her place. The Etruscan urns and mirrors, the wall paintings of Pompeii and of Herculaneum, the Roman sarcophagi, as well as pastes and gems, all furnish an extensive field in which parallel scenes may be traced.

This introduces the consideration of the vases and their relation to the tragedy. They fall readily into three classes corresponding to three well-defined stages in the play: 1. Orestes and Pylades alone upon the Taurian coast are surprised, and led by the shepherds to the king and Iphigeneia (vs. 67–466). 2. The scene following, in which it is determined that not both shall be killed, but that one, and he Pylades, shall be allowed to return to Mykenai, bearing a message from Iphigeneia (vs. 467–724). 3. The handing over of the letter and the accompanying explanation, whereby Orestes and his sister recognize each other (vs. 725–1088). There follow two other well-defined scenes which are not traceable on vases[231]. 4. The escape with the Artemis idol (vs. 1152–1233), and 5. the messenger’s speech which relates the manner of the escape.

There is but one vase painting that can be assigned to the first step in the play. The painting is a thoroughly ugly and, from an artistic standpoint, worthless specimen that represents the very decadence of ceramic art[232]. The vase is a slender amphora with three zones of 125pictures; ours is the middle one. On the left a woman in chiton and mantle sits with head turned to the right, her left hand resting on a sceptre or staff and her right on her knee. She wears a necklace and on one arm a bracelet. Standing before her with outstretched right hand is a bearded male figure in short chiton and mantle, and a spear in his left; he has just arrived, as one may conclude from the position of his feet. Immediately following are two youths entirely naked, hands pinioned behind their backs. The ends of the ropes seem to be held by the group of three youths following, who are dressed as the first male figure except that two of them wear boots. Their attention, like that of all, is directed towards the female figure.

Fig. 17.

The arrest of Orestes and Pylades is given here, and more definitely their appearance before Iphigeneia. To be sure the manner is entirely different from that on other monuments. One expects Iphigeneia to be in or near the temple of Artemis and to be represented in a more concerned and active attitude; and furthermore, one looks for the altar (v. 72), and some indication of the 126fate which awaits the captives. All these features are wanting. That the artist endeavoured to represent the meeting of the priestess and the two Greeks can, however, admit of no doubt; that the necessary setting of the scene was omitted need be no more a matter of surprise to one than the helpless workmanship of the whole. The monument is valuable as being the only vase painting showing the first scene, which is never wanting on the sarcophagi[233]. This moment occurs likewise on certain other monuments[234]. The shepherd relates (vs. 260–339) how the discovery and capture were made; how they learned that one of the two was named Pylades; and further that the prisoners had been conducted first to the king, who after glancing at them (ἐσιδών) sent them to Artemis and her priestess. Iphigeneia says to the boukolos in v. 342, σὺ μὲν κόμιζε τοὺς ξένους μολών, and in v. 467, after her soliloquy and the song of the chorus, she appears again on the stage where she meets the captives. This is the moment, very largely modified, which the painting represents. Iphigeneia’s first words are—

μέθετε τῶν ξένων χέρας,
ὡς ὄντες ἱεροὶ μηκέτ’ ὦσι δέσμιοι.

At this the guards are commanded to enter the temple and make ready for the offering. Our picture follows in one respect the traditional manner of representing 127the scene. Orestes and Pylades are invariably nude, or so lightly clad with the chlamys that they are practically naked. There is the closest analogy between them as they appear here and as they occur on the sarcophagi.

Fig. 18.

The second moment, as I have marked it out above, is also represented on one vase only[235]. In the centre Orestes, ΟΡΕΣΤΑΣ, sits to the right upon a large altar, chlamys about his hips, sword on his left side, hands supported upon his stick towards which his head is sunk. The whole attitude betokens sorrow. On the right 128is Iphigeneia wearing long, sleeved chiton, and mantle, necklace, and bracelets. In her left hand close by her side (incorrectly published as a knife) is the temple key which is emblematic of her office as κλῃδοῦχος[236]. Her right is extended towards Orestes, with whom she is speaking. She is accompanied by a temple servant who, entirely wrapped in chiton and mantle, carries in her right an oinochoë and upon her head a dish in which are articles for the sacrifice, including the branches for sprinkling. Behind Orestes is a laurel tree and on his right Pylades, ΠΥΛΑΔΗΣ, standing with one foot thrown over the other, his right hand placed sorrowfully to his head. The left rests upon his staff. On his left side is a sword. He is deeply concerned in the conversation. Above on the right behind a terrain is the temple of Artemis, Ionic order, and akroteria. Beside it on the left, Artemis, distinguished by her huntress-mantle, two spears, and hair-dress, sits with face to the left towards Apollo who is the remaining figure on the vase. He wears a garment around his waist, and rests his right upon a cane and turns his face towards Artemis.

The vase is especially interesting as being the only one on which any of the characters is accompanied by an inscription, and secondly, because Orestes sits here upon the altar. He cannot be thought of as a victim, and I do not believe he has fled to the altar for refuge, as has been suggested. That would comport but poorly with the spirit which he exhibits throughout the interview. Where does Orestes sit passively upon an altar at the attack of the Furies? He invariably has his 129sword drawn in a very emphatic manner, and while he crouches upon or clings to the altar he never gives any appearance of being an easy victim to his pursuers[237]. Just this point it is necessary to emphasize, for had the artist felt that the meaning of Orestes’ position indicated his pursuit either by seen or unseen Furies, he never would have committed the egregious error of placing him in a calm attitude quite unconscious that he has a sword ready at his side. Furthermore there is no trace in Euripides or the painting to allow us to assume that Orestes is again pursued at this point. He is not, therefore, in any sense a suppliant. The vase painter has simply allowed himself a great liberty in seating his figure where we should least expect to find him. An altar is not by any means a usual seat, and much less for the victim[238]. This same freedom in disposing of details led the decorator still further from the established usage, for neither of the captives should be allowed their swords. They are already ἱεροί (v. 469) and should be represented accordingly. In these particulars we must acknowledge that the painter idealized the scene (vs. 472 ff.).

If it were necessary to determine upon any one moment which the artist had in mind, one would discover a close parallel between vs. 625 ff. and the present scene. It has been agreed that Pylades shall be the messenger; Orestes is to die in his stead. The latter 130proceeds to ask who shall perform the sacrificial act, and whether a tomb shall receive him when all is over. To this Iphigeneia replies—

πῦρ ἱερὸν ἔνδον χάσμα τ’ εὐρωπὸν πέτρας.

and Orestes—

πῶς ἄν μ’ ἀδελφῆς χεὶρ περιστείλειεν ἄν;

to which Iphigeneia remarks,

μάταιον εὐχήν, ὦ τάλας, ὅστις ποτ’ εἶ,

I can conceive of no more pitiable and hopeless condition than that of the unfortunate Orestes which the poet depicts. At this point his course seemed all in vain; Apollo’s promise appeared to be a farce, and Heaven and Earth seemed wrought into one violent confusion (cf. vs. 572 f. and 711). Perhaps it was at this juncture that he most impressed the painter, and we may see the wretched Orestes prostrate upon the altar in this moment of extreme despair.

Artemis and Apollo take no part in the action, but there is a greater fitness in their position as spectators than is often the case with the gods on the vases of Lower Italy. The former is a natural figure in her own precinct, by her own temple, while Apollo, as her brother, properly balances the scene. The latter, moreover, stands in so close a relation to Orestes’ trial and delivery that he is a most appropriate beholder of the progress of this his own enterprise (cf. v. 977).

Mention should be made here of the sarcophagi, on which essentially the same scene is found. The agreement 131with our vase is striking[239]. Orestes sits with his head wrapped in his mantle and drooping on his lap, while Pylades stands before him, always in the same attitude, one leg thrown over the other, one hand clutching his hair and the other resting on his stick. This is a striking coincidence, indeed, in these two classes of monuments, separated by at least four hundred years.

In the third step of the tragedy we are more fortunate and possess among vase paintings at least three that represent the transmission of the letter to Pylades, and the accompanying recognition between Orestes and his sister. It is not surprising that the supreme moment in the action should have attracted the artists, and that on the sarcophagi[240] also this unique point in Greek tragedy should have been represented[241].


Fig. 19.

1. The best known of the vases is an amphora formerly in the possession of the Duke of Buckingham[242]. In front of the temple of Artemis, Doric order, stands Iphigeneia, en face, in richly embroidered chiton, and high head-dress from which falls a sort of veil reaching to the knees. She wears necklace, bracelets, earrings, and sandals; her costume bespeaks in every respect that of the theatre. She carries again the token of her office in the left, and hands the letter to Pylades with the right, who stands ready for the journey, wearing chlamys, pilos, boots, and carrying two spears. Further, on the left, leaning against the περιρῥαντήριον is Orestes, en face, but with laurel-wreathed head turned towards Pylades; his right leg is thrown over the left. He wears a chlamys, and carries two spears and a sword. Beside Iphigeneia is her servant, as in fig. 18, but with a simple girdled chiton, and in her right the dish with articles for the altar which is represented in poor perspective behind Iphigeneia. Above, on the right, before 133the temple doors, is Artemis in short, huntress-costume and high Thracian boots; two spears in her left, and a burning torch in her right. She wears the Thracian cap. On the left of the temple behind a terrain is a young satyr, no doubt thrown in to fill up the space.

2. The largest painting representing this scene is that on an amphora in St. Petersburg[243]. The centre of the picture is taken up by the temple, four Ionic columns. Inside on the right is the Artemis statue, costumed like Artemis in fig. 19; a burning torch in the right, around which is bound a sort of decoration. It is on a large pedestal, and has in the left a spear. On the left, about to leave the temple, is Iphigeneia with an elegant chiton, mantle, a diadem in hair, and the peculiar key in her left; beside her, and leaning against the wall, is a kylix with long handle. She makes a gesture towards Pylades with her right in which there is no letter. He stands on the left by the temple, leaning against his knotty stick; has petasos on the back of the neck, and wears high boots and an escaping chlamys. On the left, lower down, Orestes leans on the περιρῥαντήριον, as in fig. 19, but he is evidently more dejected here. The rest of the painting, which consists of five groups of two figures each, has so little to do with the central scene that we may omit any description of it. In the upper zone on the right are Hermes and Artemis, on the left Athena and Nike. Athena will observe the final part of the affair in which she was so deeply interested in Athens. The two groups, a female and an armed Thracian, represent the common ‘love-scenes’ on this class of vases. For the third group on the right, the artist preferred to draw a young deer instead of the female figure. Stephani[244] is correct in calling these ‘love-scenes,’ and so separating them permanently from any part in the action. Countless such groups are thrown upon vases of this style as meaningless, decorative figures. The parasol, wreaths, and vessels serve to enrich the setting and add charm to the coquetry.


Fig. 20 (vid. p. 133 ff.).


Fig. 21.

3. A vase, formerly in the possession of the art dealer Barone in Naples, shows an abridgement of the scene[245]. In an Ionic temple, four columns, and akroteria, Iphigeneia, en face, long chiton, mantle, hair done in a knot behind, leans with her left elbow upon the βρέτας. In 136her left is the temple attribute, and in the right the letter which she extends to Pylades, in chlamys and petasos. He leans against his stick, and has a sword in the left, while he points with the right towards the letter. On the right are Apollo and Artemis. The former, nude except for a mantle and high boots, grasps the laurel tree with his left, and rests his right upon Artemis’ shoulder, who sits to the left upon the altar and looks up to Apollo. She is dressed as usual with short chiton and high boots. She has two spears in the left.

In setting these three paintings over against each other and comparing the elements in them, the uniformity is very striking. Perhaps the details may be clearer if placed in a sort of scheme.

a. Elements common to all three vases.

1. Temple of Artemis. 2. Iphigeneia in elaborate dress, indicated as the κλῃδοῦχος. 3. A youth in travelling costume, with whom she is talking. 4. Artemis on the right of the temple.

b. Elements common to two of the three vases.

1. In figs. 19 and 20 a youth leans against the περιρῥαντήριον, resting on one leg over which the other is thrown. 2. In figs. 19 and 21 Iphigeneia hands the letter to the youth. 3. The Artemis ἄγαλμα is in the temple in figs. 20 and 21; so also is Iphigeneia.

We thus observe that the remarkable agreement, even in the details, shows that they must all be copies more or less exact of one and the same original. That Iphigeneia in fig. 20 does not hold the letter in her hand may be accredited to the carelessness of the artist who merely forgot to paint it. The same may be said 137with regard to the abridged form of the scene in fig. 21, where Orestes has been left out. The two central figures appeared to the artist to be the important part of the original, and accordingly he omitted all else.

Immediately following the scene represented in fig. 18, Iphigeneia entered the temple to get the letter—

ἀλλ’ εἶμι, δέλτον τ’ ἐκ θεᾶς ανακτόρων
οἴσω. v. 636 f.

and ordered the guards to watch the two without binding them. Thereafter ensues the touching scene between Orestes and Pylades (vs. 657–724). The priestess then reappears, and commanding the attendants to go inside, continues—

δέλτου μὲν αἵδε πολύθυροι διαπτυχαί,
ξένοι, πάρεισιν· ἃ δ’ ἐπὶ τοῖσδε βούλομαι,

Orestes speaks first after these lines and asks her what she wishes. It shall be an oath for the safe delivery of the letter. At this he demands a counter-oath from her for the safe withdrawal of Pylades from the country. We may imagine that during the delivery of these verses, which were probably spoken while Iphigeneia was still in the temple doorway, Pylades had approached her to receive the letter, while Orestes stepped to one side as he appears in figs. 19 and 20. In vs. 769–787 the contents of the letter are related to ensure safe transfer of the message, even though the written words be lost in a shipwreck. This is the time represented on our vases. The hopelessness of Orestes requires, moreover, the earlier part of the scene, since from v. 772 he begins to be aroused and to prove his brotherhood to 138Iphigeneia. The αναγνώρισις is complete at the close of v. 826, and there follow the fourth and fifth stages which were noticed above[246]. Neither of these movements is, so far as I am aware, shown on any vase painting, although they are an important part of the reliefs on the Roman sarcophagi[247].

In conclusion, mention should be made of the wall paintings which represent the departure of the three with the statue to purify it in the sea. The first and most important of these is the fine casa del citarista painting[248]. Robert first correctly recognized the right meaning of this beautiful monument and based it upon the poet[249], thereby bringing it into harmony with the sarcophagi. That he was happily correct in reading the time in the painting after the recognition, contrary to Helbig’s interpretation[250], is nicely borne out by the painting recently discovered in the casa dei Vettii[251], which is another copy of the same original[252]. The 139variations are, however, enough to render any misunderstanding of it impossible. Here there is no temple, and Iphigeneia occupies the centre between Orestes and Pylades on the left, and Thoas on the right. She carries plainly the temple βρέτας on the left shoulder. Furthermore, the unconcerned attitude of the two prisoners in their tête-à-tête points clearly to the proper significance of the scene. Curiously enough Orestes appears to sit on the altar here as on the vase painting, fig. 18.

§ 8. Kyklops.

The satyr dance, the earliest form of the Greek drama and the simple beginning from which the immense superstructure of tragedy took its start, continued, in the satyr composition which followed the regular trilogy, to remind the public of the original plan and tendency of the performances in honour of Dionysos[253]. Till late in the fourth century B.C., at least, this echo of the original Dionysiac festival remained in vogue. The Kyklops of Euripides is the only example of this sort of composition which has reached us, and although the present work is concerned with tragedy and vase paintings I cannot refrain from including here a painting that is under the influence of this unique relic of Greek literature. The connexion between the satyr-play and tragedy is certainly intimate enough to warrant the introduction of the present chapter.

140Every one is acquainted with the story of Odysseus’ adventure with the Kyklops Polyphemos. Since the author of the Odyssey threw a charm around the story, this event in the wanderings of the hero has remained one of the most popular. In early Greek art there are numerous monuments based upon the myth. The black figured vases represent two critical moments. 1. The blinding of Polyphemos. 2. The escape of Odysseus and his companion from the cave. A long list of paintings tells this story over and over again, with little variation[254]. The artists evidently became tired of the monotony of the subject, for it is practically dead at the beginning of the fifth century. There was nothing new in the tale; it was distinctly epic, and for this very reason had its day and gave way to new motives in the dramatic literature. At the end of the century there was a revival of the myth. It gained a new lease of life through the Kyklops of Euripides, and once again all eyes were turned towards the old Homeric fiction. When the poet introduces Seilenos and his company of satyrs as slaves to Polyphemos, and turns the fortunes of Odysseus, on his arrival at the cave, by the intervention of this new element, the artist had certainly a new incentive. The rollicking, lusty antics of the tribe of satyrs had ever been the red figured vase painter’s delight, and when Euripides connected them with the adventures of Odysseus and the Kyklops the old story was ingrafted with a vigorous shoot[255]. Timanthes, whom we have 141already met[256], very likely owed it to Euripides that he associated Polyphemos with satyrs[257]. An interesting vase painting, which may be dated cir. 410 B.C., bears strong testimony to the influence of the Kyklops in Lower Italy[258].

Fig. 22.

The picture appears in fig. 22. In the foreground Polyphemos lies stretched out in his drunken stupour[259]; beside him is a stump on which hangs an empty wineskin, and on the ground a bowl. In the centre three youths, the middle one wearing a pilos, are busy tugging at a log. Two others on the left bring fire-wood to 142kindle the large stick[260]; another youth, probably Odysseus, in pilos and chlamys, directs the work from the opposite side. Two bearded satyrs, with the usual horse-tails, caper around on the right[261].

The whole painting breathes with the spirit running through the Kyklops. The impression gained by reading the play is remarkably well supported by a study of the former. There is no detailed agreement between the two which strikes one, for the situations in Euripides are not closely followed. There is, however, the same stamp of originality and newness characterizing both. The painting is a revelation to one who has seen only the earlier Homeric monuments.

It may first be noticed that Polyphemos is represented outside of his cave, and that the attack upon his big eye is about to take place. This is quite opposed to Homer and Euripides, yet more than half the charm of the scene lies in the naïveté with which the artist disposes of the giant. A glance at the words of the poet will make this clearer. Odysseus and his chorus of satyrs have fixed upon the means for overcoming the Kyklops. They beg Odysseus for permission to take a hand in preparing the fatal pole;

δεῖ γοῦν· μέγας γὰρ δαλός, ὃν ξυλληπτέον. v. 472.

says the son of Laertes, but when he came to the point where he really needed their help they made every manner of excuse; some were suddenly seized with 143lameness; others had dust in their eyes. But he knew that it would turn out so, and he relies on his own companions,

... τοῖσι δ’ οἰκείοις φίλοις
χρῆσθαί μ’ ἀνάγκη. vs. 650 f.

This is well brought out, whether intentionally or not I do not say, for it is Greeks who are lifting the δαλός, and as for its size every one will agree that it is μέγας. The two satyrs, representing the chorus, dance around lustily the while, having smelt the contents of the wineskin (v. 153 f.). As soon as the plan has been decided upon, Polyphemos appears again, having already sated his appetite on two of the Greeks, and having had at least a taste of the wine. What could prepare one better for the appreciation of the figure on the vase than his own words?

παπαπαῖ, πλέως μὲν οἴνου,
γάνυμαι δὲ δαιτὸς ἥβῃ
σκάφος ὁλκὰς ὡς γεμισθεὶς
ποτὶ σέλμα γαστρὸς ἄκρας.
ὑπάγει μ’ ὁ χόρτος εὔφρων
ἐπὶ κῶμον ἦρος ὥραις,
ἐπὶ Κύκλωπας ἀδελφούς.
φέρε μοι, ξεῖνε, φέρ’ ἀσκὸν ἔνδος μοι. vs. 503 ff.

His proposal to go and share his good fortune with the brother Kyklopes does not meet the approval of Odysseus, who bids him keep his good things to himself and enjoy them. Seilenos goes even further and says—

κλίθητί νύν μοι πλεῦρα θεὶς ἐπὶ χθονός. v. 543.

144and Polyphemos takes up the suggestion at once, for we hear him ask

τί δῆτα τὸν κρατῆρ’ ὄπισθε μου τίθης; v. 545.

There can be little doubt that these verses particularly interested the artist. Well satisfied with the newly discovered drink, the Kyklops has dropped down upon his side as Seilenos recommended. The ἀσκός, which he ordered extra, hangs beside him and upon the ground is a bowl[262]. Both of these have evidently been drained. The inhuman monster sleeps on, quite in the manner of Euripides, in the presence of the active preparations for his own ruin.

§ 9. Medeia.

The heroine of this tragedy of Euripides is one of the most imposing and terrible figures that has come down to us from ancient Greek literature. It is not, however, the magician of strange power, who assisted Jason in winning the Golden Fleece and in performing his other Kolchian adventures, that overawes one; neither is it the sorceress who worked her wonders on Pelias, but rather the Medeia who avenged her slighted honour through the destruction of Jason’s newly won bride and his two sons; it is the Medeia at Corinth that we know best, the Medeia of Euripides. This chapter in the barbarian’s career assumed under his hand a prominence which far exceeded anything that had gone before. Euripides’ Medeia has remained ever since the Medeia of art and letters.

145In early Greek art Medeia is not a common figure, and when she does occur it is invariably as the sorceress[263]. In this rôle one meets her on both black and red figured vases[264], and on the famous relief in the Lateran[265]. After the beginning of the fourth century B.C. the Corinthian Medeia predominates. As such one finds her on vases from Lower Italy, Apulia and Campania especially, on Pompeian wall paintings[266], on terra cottas[267], gems[268], and the Roman sarcophagi[269].


Fig. 23 (vid. p. 145 ff.)

147The most famous vase upon which we find Medeia is the great amphora in Munich[270], found in Canosa, the ancient Canusium, in Apulia, Oct. 16, 1813. The painting consists of three sections of figures parallel with the perimeter of the vase. The two upper ones are divided in the middle by a building with six Ionic columns. On the inside hang two round shields—a common decoration in this sort of picture. On the right, inside of the house, is a chair or θρόνος, over the arm-rest of which a richly dressed female figure has fallen; above on the frieze the inscription ΚΡΕΟΝΤΕΙΑ (sc. ΠΑΙΣ) shows the person to be Kreusa, or Glauke[271], the daughter of Kreon. Rushing rapidly towards her from the right is a youth in petasos and chlamys. He has already reached the upper step of the palace and is attempting to remove Kreusa’s head-dress. Incised in the vase is the name ΙΠΠΟΤΗΣ[272]. On the left an elderly male figure, bearded, wearing long, richly embroidered chiton, hurries to Kreusa. One hand is placed behind her as though to support the body; the other, from which the sceptre has just fallen, clutches his hair. He gazes to one side in a dazed sort of manner. On the frieze above is ΩΝ, evidently the last letters of ΚΡΕΩΝ[273]. To the left outside of the palace, and 148somewhat lower, an elderly woman in long chiton and mantle runs toward the scene of the tragedy, extending her left hand and holding her right to her head in the usual attitude of fright. She is designated by the inscription, incised, as ΜΕΡΟΠΗ[274]—most likely the wife of Kreon. Further on the left is a group of two, a pedagogue in the usual costume, and a female attendant. The former is hurrying towards the palace, while the latter attempts to divert him from his onward rush.

To the right from Hippotes is another female figure, en face, who appears to be leaving the palace. Her dress, especially the veil, and her bearing point her out as a nurse or servant of Kreusa. Just in front of the latter upon the ground is the open box in which the baneful presents were brought.

The lower section is divided into two parts by Medeia’s dragon-chariot, held in readiness by the charioteer with a burning torch in either hand. The upper part of the latter’s body is nude. There can be little doubt that the figure is female. The inscription ΟΙΣΤΡΟΣ shows it to be Οἴστρος, the personification of Medeia’s rage. On the left, Medeia, ΜΗΔΕΙΑ[275], with richly decorated oriental costume and Phrygian cap, advances to the right with drawn sword to kill one son 149whom she grasps by the hair with the left hand. It is not easy to say whether the boy has taken refuge on the altar, or whether his mother has lifted him upon it. More probably the latter is true. The lad is nude, with the exception of a garment over his left shoulder. He wears bracelets and on the left leg an anklet. Immediately behind Medeia a doryphoros, dressed as Hippotes, but with two spears instead of a sword, hurries to the left with the second boy, dressed as is the other. On the right of the chariot and hastening impetuously to rescue his son is Jason, ΙΑΣΩΝ. He is bearded and has a sword and long spear. His chlamys is thrown over his left arm. Beside him, but moving at slackened speed, another doryphoros extends the right hand towards the chariot as though to warn Jason of the futility of his intervention. Above this group on the right is a bearded male figure, pointing towards the events transpiring below. He wears a long royal dress and Phrygian cap, and carries a sceptre in his left. ΕΙΔΩΛΟΝ ΑΗΤΟΥ, incised, indicates him as the ghost of Aetes, Medeia’s father.

The upper section is bounded on either side by a Corinthian column surmounted by a tripod. Herakles, with club, bow and quiver, and lion’s skin, stands on the left facing Athene, who sits upon a terrain. She has her helmet in her right hand and leans against her shield. The spear is not wanting. On the right are two male figures, one sitting, the other standing. The oil-cruses and strigils, as well as the two stars and the pilos, near the one who sits, designate them as the Dioskouroi.

We turn now to a closer consideration of our vase to see if it is under the influence of Euripides. Starting with the scene which the vase painter has given us in 150Kreon’s palace, one cannot but be struck with the agreement between the picture and the scene described by the poet through the mouth of the messenger in the celebrated speech, vs. 1136–1230. This wonderful passage is the triumph of Euripidean rhetoric in the Medeia. The two boys, together with their father, had entered Kreusa’s apartment conveying the box with the rich vestment and golden crown, and she, who had refused to listen to words and be softened, was, woman-like, melted by these unexpected gifts. She accepts them, and father and sons retire. She then arrays herself before the mirror, admires her beauty, retreats across the room with proud, exulting step, all too captivated by her gracious figure, when the terrible moment comes—

χροιὰν γὰρ ἀλλάξασα λεχρία πάλιν
χωρεῖ τρέμουσα κῶλα καὶ μόλις φθάνει
θρόνοισιν ἐμπεσοῦσα μὴ χαμαὶ πεσεῖν. vs. 1168–1170.

There is a remarkable harmony between these words and the picture upon the vase, where Kreusa lies a helpless mass across the arms of the θρόνος. Her attitude suggests to one’s mind exactly the idea in θρόνοισιν ἐμπεσοῦσα μὴ χαμαὶ πεσεῖν. Rarely has a vase painter come nearer to illustration than here. It had, indeed, been far easier to paint Kreusa in her fallen position upon the floor, πίτνει δ’ ἐς οὖδας (v. 1195), where the chair and the form of the body would have presented no such difficulties in drawing as they do in the present position[276]. Why was this not done? Simply, as I am 151convinced, because the painter chose to present the most tragic moments, and shape them into the greatest possible dramatic effect. He seized the crisis in Kreusa’s dread struggle, when, doomed by the poison and flames, she dropped across the chair. Here, as in the scene below, the vase painter has given evidence of dramatic power of a high degree, and I venture to think that had he not been an artist he would have been a tragedian.

Kreon, who, of course, could not be represented as falling upon the body of Kreusa as he entered the room, ἄφνω προσελθὼν δῶμα προσπίτνει νεκρῷ (v. 1205), while she was still resting on the chair[277], is painted in the first moment of reaching the unfortunate one. He places his left hand under her body, and, overcome by the horror of the sight, lets fall his sceptre from his right hand as he gazes for a moment in transfixed agony from his daughter’s situation. The position of the arms is exactly that of the same figure on the sarcophagi reliefs[278], and no doubt would be traceable through the five intervening centuries if the monuments were at hand. Our vase would appear to represent here a tradition that was always closely followed in representing Kreon in an upright position.

152Merope, the mother, who is mentioned in Corinthian legends only as the wife of Sisyphos[279] and of Polybos[280], does not appear at all in Euripides. The painter’s principle was to name all the chief figures on the vase, and it is not necessary to point out here another source than the Medeia of Euripides. A name thus known as belonging to Corinthian royal families would be a natural invention for the wife of Kreon if there was no legend to provide further information about her. I hold this painting, however, as adequate evidence that there was a third Merope known in Corinth[281]. That the mother as well as the father should be represented here is further witness of the spirit which the poet breathed into his work. Medeia’s fixed determination to ruin all her enemies at one blow and to root out the whole royal house in a day (vs. 373 f.) is expressed in the extended scene here given, in a manner well calculated to inspire the beholder with much that lies between the lines in Euripides. There is absolutely no reason for claiming this scene as an extension of that given in the poet, and therefore based upon a post-Euripidean tragedy. One who denies the vase painter the right to introduce figures foreign to the poet fails utterly in comprehending the spirit of the fourth and third century vase painting. The artists followed the number of characters in the 153poetical version no more slavishly than they did the disposition and movement of the same. Starting with what the poet gave them and holding this in mind as a guide and inspiration in certain details, the painters proceeded to create, as independent artists, a similar scene, transfused, however, with their own alterations. It is to be expected that in the over-filled vase paintings of Apulia and Campania one will find figures that show a wide liberty on the part of the painters, and that illustrate well how much the severe methods of the Athenian vase painters had been altered in Magna Graecia.

Another instance of this same independence of the painter is seen in the introduction of Hippotes, to whom there is not the slightest reference in Euripides. In vs. 1168–1203, where Kreusa’s fate is described, no one is referred to as present except the female attendants, who were possessed with terror and lent no aid to their mistress. Kreon unexpectedly entered, ξυμφορᾶς ἀγνωσίᾳ, and soon succumbed, a victim together with his daughter. Why does Hippotes appear on the vase as the one who is trying to liberate Kreusa? With Vogel[282] again the answer liegt auf der Hand: weil Euripides nicht die Quelle der Darstellung ist. Because the painter enlarged the scene of the poet, and was more tragic and more dramatic than Euripides, a later or at least another version of the myth is claimed as his authority. This appears to me altogether improbable and unnecessary. It is improbable because, as we have abundant reason to believe, Euripides’ version of the myth was, both in Greek and Roman times, the most popular[283]. Other 154Medeias are mere names. Furthermore our vase cannot be dated later than the second half of the fourth century B.C., i. e. not much more than a century after the first appearance of the Medeia in 431 B.C. This is an important fact which seems to have been mostly overlooked. Euripides, it must be remembered, ruled the fourth century B.C. as the prophet of the time, and was hailed by the Greeks of the colonies and the motherland with universal admiration. It is safe to say that no Greek poet was more upon the lips of the people or more in their hearts. Tardy as was the recognition of his genius during his lifetime, the extent of his posthumous fame was unparalleled and his name rang through Alexandrian and Hellenistic times as that of one of the immortals. Are we to suppose then that a vase painter of Magna Graecia, who might have lived with those who had seen Euripides, was, in dealing with the Medeia myth, under the influence of some poet of a day? Was an artist who lived in this proximity to Euripides’ own time likely to follow the guidance of any other than the great master who created the Medeia character and started her down the centuries in that unexampled rage and fury? We dare, moreover, go further and claim with Robert that die Vasen stehen der Aufführungszeit der Medeia so nahe, dass sie den Werth directer Zeugnisse beanspruchen dürfen[284].

This explanation is unnecessary, for, as we have already pointed out, the vase painters gave less heed to the subject-matter and the details of the traditional types than to the general effect and dramatic arrangement. 155It was possible to double the dramatic effect here through the introduction of the bride’s brother, and the painter did not hesitate to place him on the vase, although the poet did not refer to him. The onward rush of this finely drawn figure, with his chlamys fluttering in the wind, has altogether a dramatic air and brings one to feel that the theatrical element, so much in the background in the fifth century B.C., had taken possession of the fourth century work[285]. It is surprising to find with what persistency certain scholars refuse such additions as incompatible with the dependence of the work on a given literary source. If the artist has done more than illustrate, all relationship between him and the poet is denied. But let us turn to a famous work where illustration pure and simple is meant, and we shall discover that if one follows even there this mode of criticism, the poet and the drawing which is meant to illustrate him will have to be divorced. I refer to Botticelli’s drawings for Dante’s Divina Commedia[286]. Each drawing is intended to bring out the events of the canto to which it is devoted, and so one expects only the incidents of one canto to appear in one drawing. The illustration for the Inferno, canto ii, represents Beatrice swinging upward in the air, to whom Virgil is pointing and calling Dante’s attention. This is all a pure invention of the artist as Beatrice is simply mentioned in the text, and not at all thought of as present or appearing to the two pilgrims. Had Botticelli then some other story in mind, and was there another 156version of Dante than that which we have? Certainly not. The artist, although in this place engaged as a mere illustrator, read his own notions into Dante and put them into his drawing. Again, even on the same plate, the entrance to the Inferno is shown with the words per me over the door. This scene belongs to canto iii, where in fact Botticelli again introduces it. If, therefore, the third canto and the drawing that belongs to it had never reached us but we did possess canto ii and its illustration, how would the critics who read the Greek vases as we have indicated, dispose of Botticelli and his faithfulness to Dante? They would all declare that the famous painter must have had another text which he followed. And so one may go on multiplying instances in this one work to show that an artist, even when he set out to follow the poet, was not able to do so[287].

There are also among the Pompeian wall paintings[288] some that are mere illustrations and are in the spirit of this sort of work, and yet they show various peculiar changes and additions contrary to the epigrams on which they are based. One is to remember therefore that in the vase paintings, where a more independent form of art is found than in illustrations, a liberty in adding or omitting figures, that may often disturb the form of the myth, is to be allowed. To select one 157example from many: Euphronios[289] on the Eurystheus kylix represents Sthenelos and his wife as present when Herakles brings the boar and is about to drop it into the cistern where Eurystheus has taken refuge. That the latter was king and had imposed the labours on Herakles, was proof enough that Sthenelos was already dead. How then did Euphronios dare to place him on the vase? Evidently because he took little heed of the exactitude for which modern scholars would call him and others of his trade to account.

The old nurse who observed the first signs of her mistress’ precarious condition—καὶ τις γεραιὰ προσπόλων ... ἀνωλόλυξε (vs. 1171–73)—or one of the numerous attendants present (v. 1176) may be recognized in the figure to the right from Hippotes. Perhaps this is more correctly the one who broke away to convey the sad news to Jason—ἑ δὲ πρὸς τὸν ἀρτίως πόσιν, | φράσουσα νύμφης συμφοράς (vs. 1178 f.). This person with the matronly air always occurs on the sarcophagi, but in the scene where the two boys are handing over the gifts to Kreusa[290].

The position of the pedagogue on the opposite side is not so incongruous as many have thought. There is really no reason for considering him a sort of connecting link between the middle and lower sections, as Robert has done[291]. Let us follow the pedagogue and the boys through the play. At vs. 46 f. of the prologue the nurse reports the latter as returning from their sport—ἐκ 158τρόχων πεπαυμένοι—and in vs. 89 ff. she orders them inside the palace,

ἴτ’, εὖ γὰρ ἔσται, δωμάτων ἔσω, τέκνα,

and commands the pedagogue to keep them at a safe distance from their mother,

σὺ δ’ ὡς μάλιστα τούσδ’ ἐρημώσας ἔχε,
καὶ μὴ πέλαζε μητρὶ δυσθυμουμένῃ.

At v. 105 the three disappear and nothing more is heard of them till Medeia, who is addressing Jason and the chorus, cries out in v. 894—

ὦ τέκνα, τέκνα, δεῦτε, λείπετε στέγας,

Hereupon the boys appear in the orchestra, unaccompanied by their pedagogue, and remain with Medeia and Jason till vs. 969 ff., where their mother hands them the gifts and bids them go, ὁς τάχιστα (v. 974), to Kreusa and place the same in her hands. They then depart with their father and deliver the presents in the manner afterwards described by the messenger (vs. 1136–1155), and in company with Jason leave Kreusa’s apartments. Just outside somewhere the pedagogue joins them and appears with the children in the orchestra to inform Medeia that her sons have been pardoned (vs. 1002 ff.). Immediately thereafter she orders the pedagogue to go inside,

... ἀλλὰ βαῖνε δωμάτων ἔσω
καὶ παισὶ πόρσυν’ οἶα χρὴ καθ’ ἡμέραν. vs. 1019 f.

As he re-enters the palace the terrible news reaches him, through, one of the female attendants, that Kreusa 159is possessed with some strange malady. It is at this juncture, dramatic in the extreme, that, as it seems to me, the vase painter thought of the pedagogue. The latter has forgotten Medeia’s command to arrange the boys’ program for the day and is determined to go to the apartments whence comes the great alarm. The attendant, however, endeavours to dissuade him, and the artist has even represented her in the attempt to deter the sturdy old pedagogue from carrying out his resolution. While all this is happening within the palace, Medeia gives expression to the great battle that is going on in her bosom. The speech is one of the finest in Euripides. Shall she now go ahead and kill her children, or is the courage lacking? She finally bids them enter the house χωρεῖτε, παῖδες, ἐς δόμους (vs. 1053 and 1076), and soon follows them. The death-cries of vs. 1271 ff. are heard not long afterwards. We have therefore no reason to infer from anything in Euripides that the pedagogue ever met the boys again. The fact that he is so often represented in the death-scene[292] is simply due to the fancy of the artists. It is natural to think of him in company with the boys. The vase painter has in the present instance shown us the whereabouts of the pedagogue when the poet had passed him by.

The lower section, which represents the events directly succeeding those in the one just considered, completes the dread vengeance work of Medeia. The artist had an opportunity here to follow largely his own notions in disposing of the details, for in the last moments when horror followed close upon horror, and the royal house of Corinth was shaking to its foundations, Euripides hurries us on with great rapidity and omits many of the 160particulars. Medeia moves with resistless fury through the last part of the bloody drama, till she at last disappears upon her chariot. What was the vase painter to do with all this? It is plain that he felt himself compelled to combine, for greater effect, different moments. Medeia enters the palace after the triumphant address in vs. 1236–1250, and a moment later the cries of the boys are heard within. Jason, aroused by the ruin wrought upon Kreusa, suddenly appears and asks where Medeia is, and remarks that he must save his sons from the fury of the populace (vs. 1293–1305). He at once learns the whole truth, and orders that the palace doors be thrown open that he may behold the scene of murder. Medeia appears then on her chariot, rolled out upon the ekkyklema. She stands thus during the final dialogue with Jason (vs. 1317–1404) till she disappears by the aid of the Flugmaschine[293].

From these elements the vase painter selected the murder scene, which, not being described by Euripides, could be represented in any manner that struck his fancy. He made this the centre about which all else was grouped; all eyes are turned upon Medeia and the altar. In this disposition of the matter other details had to be sacrificed. The chariot, which could not be wanting, had to have a charioteer, and as Medeia was 161not ready to mount it herself, the personification of the Medeia-spirit is the natural figure that the artist would select. Jason, again, to omit whom would have been unpardonable, had to be painted in the act of rescuing or attempting the rescue of his sons. So we see that the three moments discernible in the poet, (a) the murder, (b) Jason’s appearance to save the boys, (c) the chariot and the escape of Medeia, are all worked together by the artist into a strong complex. One feels no incongruity in the picture, and is forced to agree to a large amount of success that the artist has enjoyed here. Since the pedagogue appears in the scene above, the artist uses one of the ever convenient doryphoroi as a companion to the boys or rather as rescuer of one of them[294]. It is immaterial whether the painter intended to represent the one boy as actually out of danger or not. A great many useless words have been spent in trying to show that the vase painter has here followed a tradition referred to by Diodorus Siculus[295], who relates that one child escaped—πλὴν γὰρ ἑνὸς τοῦ διαφυγόντος τοὺς ἄλλους υἱοὺς ἀποσφάξαι. This is not only highly improbable[296], but, more than that, speaks for a superficial reading of Diodorus on the 162part of those who use this quotation. It appears that nothing more of the chapter had been read than it was necessary to quote. In the first place, what can τοὺς ἄλλους above refer to if not to more than one, and therefore to at least two? But where upon our vase or upon any other monument does Medeia appear with three children[297]? It would seem, therefore, that, because the vase painter drew the scene as he did, this very inapt quotation is brought out to bolster up an unnecessary theory.

Is it necessary to conclude with numerous scholars that Oistros upon the chariot represents one of Pollux’s ἔκσκευα πρόσωπα (iv. 141)? Does our painting necessarily go back to some tragedy in which the personification, Oistros, appears before the audience as Medeia’s charioteer? It has already been pointed out that the moment which the vase painter chose to represent never was visible in the theatre of Euripides. What happened before the palace doors were unbarred, in v. 1314, could be painted in a hundred different ways, and still be inspired by the poet from v. 1271 to v. 1316. It is true that Euripides does not mention Οἶστρος, much less as Medeia’s charioteer. What need had he to introduce any personification of her rage and fury to guide the chariot, when, at the first glimpse of it in v. 1317, Medeia manages it herself? Any one who thoroughly works himself into the situation that the painter has shown upon the vase cannot help seeing that Medeia’s double, her burning and infuriated barbarian wildness, the spirit 163shown in vs. 1236–1250, was a natural and easy subject for embodiment under the name Οἶστρος. This personification is not met with in Euripides, and has naturally caused much stumbling. It should, however, be compared with Λύσσα, with which it has much in common. Orestes says to Pylades, μὴ θεαί (i. e. the Furies) μ’ οἴστρω κατασχῶς’[298], and two verses further on, εὐλαβοῦ Λύσσης μετασχεῖν τῆς ἐμῆς. Thus the use of the οἶστρος caused Λύσσα. The step to the personification of a figure Oistros would easily follow from some such development as this, and I hold both words to cover the cause and effect in the case mentioned.

As Lyssa was a favourite figure with Euripides, we may examine still another place where the rôle that she plays is much the same as that which Oistros takes in the painting.

In Her. Fur. vs. 880 ff., the chorus describes Lyssa as travelling upon a chariot[299].

βέβακεν ἐν δίφροισιν ἁ πολύστονος,
ἅρμασι δ’ ἐνδίδωσι κέντρον ὡς ἐπὶ λώβᾳ
Νυκτὸς Γοργὼν ἑκατογκεφάλοις
ὄφεων ἰαχήμασι,[300] Λύσσα[301] μαρμαρωπός.

164Here at least one has adequate evidence that the vase painter did not paint an unknown scene, even though he did prefer to call his figure Οἶστρος[302].

The shade of Aetes[303], a pure invention of the artist, has been held to refer to a post-Euripidean tragedy. One finds such pedantic ingenuity used in explaining this figure that the would-be-learnedness borders upon the ridiculous. It is affirmed, for example, that somewhere it must have been stated for the vase painter that Aetes had died since Medeia left him[304]. How far, pray, did vase painters concern themselves about such points of chronology or sequence of events? We have already pointed out in regard to these artists that 165they introduced and omitted characters just as they chose; and especially is this true in regard to such side-figures as Aetes is here. Then again, why is any literary source necessary to prove the old man’s death? It was but the natural course of events that the painter followed when he concluded that Aetes was among the shades. It is absurd to require some proof that the unlucky king had, within the long period of Medeia’s absence, passed into the world of spirits. It seems to me that there are two views that can adequately explain this addition to the picture, and with either one in mind the vase painter would have needed no post-Euripidean work or painting but simply the Medeia tragedy to inspire him.

Robert[305] pointed to vs. 31 ff. of the prologue as furnishing perhaps the suggestion for this figure, but that is but a small part of the whole suggestion, and it is well to follow this note which recurs in many places, and is, to my mind, a very important part of the Euripidean conception of Medeia. I give herewith the various places where this element may be discovered.

αὐτὴ πρὸς αὑτὴν πατέρ’ ἀποιμώζη φίλον
καὶ γαῖαν οἴκους θ’, οὒς προδοῦς’ ἀφίκετο. vs. 31 f.
ὤ πάτερ, ὤ πόλις, ὧν ἀπενάσθην
αἰσχρῶς τὸν ἐμὸν κτείνασα κάσιν. vs. 166 f.
αὐτὴ δὲ πατέρα καὶ δόμους προδοῦς’ ἐμούς. v. 483.
πότερα πρὸς πατρὸς δόμους,
οὓς σοὶ προδοῦσα καὶ πάτραν ἀφικόμην; vs. 502 f.
ἡμάρτανον τόθ’ ἡνίκ’ ἐξελίμπανον
δόμους πατρῴους. vs. 800 f.

166These repeated allusions to her father and her former home seem to me to express in a strong manner what the painter chose to develop into the ghost-figure. Aetes appears here to behold the retribution that is overtaking Jason; and his participation in the fearful tragedy emphasizes the secret power in Medeia, her sorcery, and her chariot. The artist read between the lines and discovered the spirit of the poet, and this he has successfully reproduced. A similar instance was noted in the liberty assumed by Botticelli in including Beatrice in the second plate to the Inferno[306].

In the second place the εἴδωλον emphasizes the barbaric element in the Medeia-Jason history, and impresses the beholder with the workings of barbarism versus Hellenism. This chord is, moreover, continuously struck by Euripides[307]. The poet endeavours from first to last to keep up the keenest distinction between Greece and Kolchis, between Jason’s family and that of Aetes.

There was, moreover, an opportunity, in introducing this oriental king, to add features strikingly characteristic of the Apulian vase paintings[308]. The elegance and display of costume peculiar to the Persian and Asia Minor kings were attractive for an artist, and the introduction of Aetes’ shade was a happy invention that went far towards making the deeper meaning of the poet plain.

The deities, who, as spectators, are an important part 167of the paintings on so many Lower Italy vases, are arranged in the upper section. They need not have any particular connexion with the incidents before them. The Olympian sympathy with earthly affairs was a favourite theme with the artists of the time, and a satisfactory number of participating divinities is usually added where important events occur. Herakles and Athena seem to be but indifferently interested in what is happening below them, although the former was intimately associated with the Argonautic expedition[309], and the latter was the promoter of the enterprise[310]. The Dioskouroi, who likewise took a large part in the adventures of the voyage, are fitly represented here[311]. They are, however, giving no heed to the tragedy. It is enough if the painter has recalled for us the famous voyage and shown us the prelude, as it were, to the drama played in the two lower sections. The panorama of Jason and Medeia’s life together passes before us in distinct scenes. By painting the participants in the expedition and also the shade of Aetes the artist has heightened the effect of the double tragedy which the poet made famous.

Such is the painting on this celebrated amphora, which I do not hesitate to call Euripidean.

Another monument which also shows Kreusa’s death is a vase from Pomarico, now in Naples[312].


Fig. 24.

Kreusa has fallen from the θρόνος that occupies the middle of the scene, and in a half-sitting posture upon the floor endeavours to remove the head-dress. Before her is the open box in which the presents were brought. A mirror hangs on the wall. She is dressed in the Ionic chiton with mantle; has earrings and one bracelet. She stares at Kreon, who hurries toward her with outstretched right hand. He has the sceptre in the left hand, is bearded, bald, and wears a chiton which has slipped down to his waist. To the left a female figure rushes away en face, and, watching Kreusa, makes the gestures of one terror-stricken. She is dressed like the latter except the earrings and necklace. Jahn called her a companion of Kreusa, considering that if she were Merope of the Munich vase she would be approaching her daughter and not leaving her. I prefer to see in this figure one of the attendants who in vs. 1177 ff. spread the news. It is true that the appearance of the figure 169is that of a more important personage than a servant. The latter are not usually represented wearing jewellery and fine costumes, and yet the attendant on the Munich vase, who is endeavouring to divert the pedagogue, is quite as richly dressed. In the present instance, however, the drawing is very careless and the workmanship is of an inferior sort. I believe, therefore, that the artist either did not know the fitness of things, or else took no pains to indicate that this figure was a servant or attendant. When he had once drawn such a miserable king as Kreon is, hobbling along in a ridiculous manner, he might well have slipped into the other extreme of painting a nurse in a lady’s garb. The scene is based upon the messenger’s speech, vs. 1176 ff.

The pedagogue on the right, who is hurrying away the two boys wrapped in cloaks, is a reminiscence of vs. 1157 ff. where the father, Jason, goes away with them.

καὶ πρὶν ὲκ δόμων
μακρὰν ἀπεῖνει πατέρα καὶ παῖδας σέθεν.

The winged Fury sitting in the upper right-hand corner observing the scene might well be expected as a spectator. The suggestion for her may be found in

ἔξελ’ οἴκων φονίαν
τάλαινάν τ’ Ἐρινὺν ὑπ’ ἀλαστόρων. vs. 1259 f.

The murder of the boys inside of the palace is painted on a Nolan amphora in the Cabinet des Médailles in Paris[313]. Medeia in Greek dress and Phrygian cap has slain one boy, who lies over the altar, either extremity touching the floor. She stands, en face, with the other 170child grasped fast by the hair. This hand also holds the sword. In her left, stretched out behind the altar, is the sheath. The artist doubtless had in mind the words which the chorus heard in vs. 1271 ff.—

οἴμοι, τί δράσω; ποῖ φύγω μητρὸς χέρας;
οὐκ οἶδ’, ἀδελφὲ φίλτατ’· ὀλλύμεσθα γάρ.

In the upper right-hand corner the pedagogue appears, carrying an oil-cruse in his left hand. His right is raised to his head. A wreath and two fillets point to the sanctuary.

Fig. 25.

Another Canosa vase in Naples[314], although furnishing a free handling of Medeia’s escape, is still an important witness for the chariot and its actual appearance in the 171production of the tragedy. In this particular the painting is Euripidean.

Medeia in rapid flight upon her dragon-chariot holds the reins in her left hand and the corner of her mantle in the right. Her dress is the customary one for charioteers. On the ground by the wheels one boy lies dead; the other is said to be visible on the original, inside of the chariot as on the sarcophagi. The sword is also on the ground. She is pursued by three youths, one on horseback, Jason (?), and two on foot. They all carry spears, and each has a chlamys. The middle one also wears a pilos and has a shield. In front of the chariot is Lyssa (?) with a sword in the right hand, and staff or κέντρον (?) in the left. She has an Artemis costume with a mantle. Galloping ahead to lead the way is Selene, seated as usual on her horse.

The painting is poorly preserved, but the main part is sufficiently plain. The artist followed the traditional manner of Medeia’s flight.

§ 10. Phoinissai.

The Phoinissai in common with the Septem of Aischylos deals with the well-known story of the attack of Polyneikes and his supporters on Thebes. The events connected with this war can be traced all through Greek and Roman literature and art[315]. We have here to do with a relief cup, which illustrates Euripides’ version of the combat. It possesses, like the other ‘Megarian Bowls’ discussed in the present work, a value so unique for the study of our poet that it may stand beside any vase painting in assisting us in the study of the drama’s influence upon art.


Fig. 26 (vid. p. 170 f.).

173The cup shown in fig. 27 is of red, unglazed ware, and is said to have been found in Thebes[316]. The following figures may be discerned. On the left Teiresias, ΤΕΙΡΕΣΙΑΣ, carrying a bough and led by his daughter Manto, ΜΑΝΤΩ, approaches Kreon, ΚΡΕΩΝ, who kneels before the aged seer. They are both bearded, and the latter wears a long chiton. Next follows Polyneikes, ΠΟΛΥΝΕΙΚΗΣ, and Eteokles, ΕΤΕΟΚΛΗΣ, in full armour, engaged in their fatal fight. Thebe, ΘΗΒΗ, holding in her hand a sceptre, sits upon a rock watching the sight. The messenger, ΑΓΓΕΛΟΣ, wearing a short chiton and chlamys, stands by Iokaste, ΙΟΚ ... ΣΤΗ, before the palace from which Antigone, ΑΝΤΙΓΟΝΗ, has come. The latter raises her hand in astonishment. The women both wear long chitons. Lastly, on the right, Antigone appears before Kreon, inscriptions in each case, in a supplicating attitude.

That Kreon might know definitely how matters were to terminate, he had sent for Teiresias. The latter makes his appearance in v. 834—

ἡγοῦ πάροιθε, θύγατερ, ὡς τυφλῷ ποδὶ
ὀφθαλμὸς εἶ σύ, ναυτίλοισιν ἄστρον ὤς·

Fig. 27 (vid. p. 173 ff.).

175and so one sees him here before Kreon. His daughter has brought him as he wished, and now stands behind him, while the seer discloses the terrible misfortune which must visit Kreon before success can crown the Theban arms. The son Menoikeus, who is present in Euripides, has been left out of the group. The messenger soon appears and calls for Iokaste.

ἔξελθ’, ἄκουσον, Οἰδίπου κλεινὴ δάμαρ. v. 1070.

She does hear, and comes from the palace and learns everything about the attack thus far, and how the different heroes on each side were armed. To her special inquiry regarding her two sons the messenger replies in detail (vs. 1217 ff.).

ἤδη δ’ ἔκρυπτον σῶμα παγχάλκοις ὅπλοις
δισσοὶ γέροντος Οἰδίπου νεανίαι. vs. 1242 f.
στήτην δὲ λαμπρώ, χρῶμά τ’ οὐκ ἠλλαξάτην,
μαργῶντ’ ἐπ’ ἀλλήλοισιν ἱέναι δόρυ. vs. 1246 f.

But this is before the battle. They were waiting for the word from the priests who examined the entrails of the victims. The second messenger brings the account of the engagement proper, and this is what the artist seized upon[317].

ᾖξαν δρόμημα δεινὸν ἀλλήλοις ἔπι·
κάπροι δ’ ὅπως θήγοντες ἀγρίαν γένυν
ξυνῆψαν, ἀφρῷ διάβροχοι γενειάδας·
ᾖσσον δὲ λόγχαις· ἀλλ’ ὑφίζανον κύκλοις,
ὅπως σίδηρος ἐξολισθάνοι μάτην. vs. 1379 ff.

176This is the moment which the relief represents. Their spears have clashed, and each is still safe behind the good circumference of his shield.

Iokaste, much disturbed at the critical situation described by the messenger, determines to call Antigone and rush to the battle-field to reconcile the brothers,—

ὦ τέκνον, ἔξελθ’, Ἀντιγόνη, δόμων πάρος. v. 1264.

she cries, and Antigone at once appears and asks—

τίν’, ὦ τεκοῦσα μῆτερ, ἔκπληξιν νέαν
φίλοις ἀϋτεῖς τῶνδε δωμάτων πάρος; vs. 1270 f.

The situation is dramatically told on the vase. The palace doors are still open, and Antigone stands astonished before her mother.

No sooner has Kreon learned the result of the battle than he passes an edict banishing the blind Oedipus from the land. The faithful daughter comes to intercede for her father and the scene is described in vs. 1539–1682. The artist has seized upon this situation, but has omitted Oedipus. Antigone bows before the new king, who stands with his arms folded listening placidly to the supplications.

ἀτὰρ ς’ ἐρωτῶ τὸν νεωστὶ κοίρανον·
τί θεσμοποιεῖς ἐπὶ ταλαιπώρῳ νεκρῷ; vs. 1644 f.

This is the moment which the last group represents.

177The personification of Thebes occupying the central field and presiding, as it were, over the destinies of the capital, extends the setting of the poet and adds not a little to the interest of the picture.

Fig. 28

There exists, remarkable enough, a small fragment of another cup, which must have been much like the one just discussed. It is shown in fig. 28, and joins on well to the last scene in fig. 27, filling out the gap made by the omission of Oedipus[318]. We see the stooping and aged figure of the former king, in long chiton, feeling his way along or being led by some one. The inscription renders everything plain. Οἰδίπ]ους κελεύει [ἄγειν πρὸς τὸ π]τῶμα τῆς αὑτοῦ μητρ[ός τε καὶ] γυναικὸς καὶ τῶν υίῶ[ν. The unfortunate Oedipus’ doom is sealed, and he enters with Antigone upon his permanent banishment, but he will be led to Iokaste that he may embrace her once more, even though she is now a corpse;

προσάγαγέ νύν με, μητρὸς ὡς ψαύσω σέθεν. v. 1693.

178At this moment the artist conceived his figure, and that one might not mistake its meaning he wrote above it who the person was and what the scene meant. Here, then, in this bit of potsherd, one can see and study the workings of that awful curse which blasted the house of Labdakos and sent the miserable Oedipus to wander ‘blind amidst the blaze of noon.’

§ 11. Supplementary.

There remains still a number of vase paintings that have been referred to certain of Euripides’ extant plays. It will be seen that I have not been able to convince myself of their Euripidean character, and have therefore not included them in the number of published paintings. The following list gives the most important vases of this class. No discussion accompanies them, as they seem to me to present difficulties that preclude their relation to extant tragedies.


1. Etruscan amphora, no. 728 in the Cabinet des Médailles, Paris. Pub. as frontispiece to Dennis’ Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, vol. ii. = Arch. Ztg. 1863, pl. 180. 3.


1. Amphora, Brit. Mus., cat. iii. E 155. Pub. Raoul-Rochette, Mon. inéd. pl. 40. 2; cf. Vogel, Scen. eur. Trag. p. 141 f., and Arch. Ztg. 1880, p. 189.


1. Slender Campanian amphora, Berlin. Pub. Arch. Anz. 1890, p. 90, no. 7; cf. loc. cit. The interpretation given explains the scene as representing Orestes slaying Aigisthos. This was done, however, not at a sanctuary or in the open, as here, but in the palace where Aigisthos, Orestes, and Pylades were engaged in the slaughtering of oxen. At v. 790 they had entered the palace.


Herakles Furens.

1. The Assteas vase in Madrid. Pub. Wiener Vorlegeblätter, ser. B, pl. 1 = Mon. d. Inst. viii. 10; cf. Hirzel, Annali d. Inst. 1864, p. 323 ff.: Körte, Ueber Personificationen psychologischer Affekte, p. 18 f., and Vogel, op. cit. p. 143.


1. Amphora. Attic fabric, cir. 420 B.C. Berlin, vid. Arch. Anz. 1890, p. 89.

2. Lekythos from Paestum, now in Naples, no. 2900. Pub. Reinach-Millingen, Peintures, 41 = Élite Céram. iv. 87.


1. Nolan vase in Cassel. Pub. Arch. Ztg. 1852, pl. 37; cf. Furtwängler, Sammlung Sabouroff, Vasen, Einleitung, p. 14, note 12; Vogel, op. cit. p. 145.

2. Painting on a fourth cent. krater. Pub. Élite Céram. ii. 76 a; cf. Furtwängler, op. cit. p. 14.

3. An Oxybaphon in the Louvre. Pub. Élite Céram. ii. 88 a = Reinach-Millin. op. cit. i. 46 = Müller-Wieseler, Denkmäler d. a. Kunst. ii. 142; cf. Furtwängler, loc. cit.

Iphigeneia at Aulis.

1. Lucanian krater, Brit. Mus., cat. iv. F 159. Pub. Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 14. 9 = Wiener Vorlegeblätter, ser. 5, pl. 9. 3 = Inghirami, Vasi fitt. iii. pl. 251; cf. Vogel, op. cit. p. 116.

Euripides’ Lost Plays.

The following list includes most of the paintings referred to the lost tragedies. Where it has seemed to me doubtful about the Euripidean character of the scenes I have preferred to omit mention of them altogether.


1. Canosa hydria in Bari. The shoulder decoration only is pub. Arch. Ztg. 1883, pl. 7. 1; cf. p. 51 ff. and Furtwängler, Masterpieces, p. 109. The latter thinks the painting is from the fifth cent. B.C. Vid. also Vogel, op. cit. p. 28 ff.


1. Bell-shaped krater, signed by Python now in the Brit. Mus., cat. iv. F 149. Pub. J. H. S. 1890, pl. 6; cf. ibid. p. 225 ff.

1802. Amphora from Capua. Brit. Mus., cat. iv. F 193. Pub. Annali d. Inst. 1872, pl. A. Cf. ibid. p. 1 ff. On both paintings Alkmene sitting on an altar appeals to Zeus against Amphitryon. Cf. Vogel, op. cit. p. 34.


1. Krater from Capua. Berlin, no. 3237. Cf. Arch. Anz. 1893, p. 91, f. no. 50. Pub. and discussed by Bethe, Jahrbuch, 1896, p. 292 ff. and pl. 2; cf. Bethe’s Prolegomena zur Geschichte des Theaters im Altertum, p. 320, 330, and p. 35 above.

2. Amphora from Canosa. Naples, no. 3225. Pub. Minervini, Memorie accademiche, pl. 1–3; cf. Vogel, p. 39.

3. Amphora in Naples, no. 708, Museo S. Angelo. Pub. Mon. d. Inst. ix. 38; cf. Annali d. Inst. 1872, p. 108 f., and Vogel, op. cit. p. 41.

4. Hydria from Anzi in the Basilicata. Brit. Mus., cat. iv. F 185; cf. Vogel, p. 42. C.


1. Ruvo amphora. Jatta coll. no. 423. Pub. Arch. Ztg. 1871, pl. 40. 2, and by Heydemann, Ueber eine nacheuripideische Tragödie, 1868, pl. 1, and Mon. d. Inst. x. 26, 27. Polychrome view of whole vase on pl. 26 = Rayet et Collignon, Histoire de la Céramique grecque, pl. 12, p. 300.

2. Apulian amphora. Berlin, no. 3240. Pub. Gerhard, Apulische Vasenbilder, xi = Arch. Ztg. 1871, pl. 40. 1. Cf. Heydemann, op. cit. and Klügmann, Annali d. Inst. 1876, p. 173 ff., and Vogel, op. cit. p. 50 ff.

3. Fragment of Apulian amphora in Carlsruhe; Winnefeld’s Beschreibung der Vasensammlung, p. 62 f. Pub. Arch. Ztg. 1884, pl. 19. b = Wiener Vorlegeblätter, ser. E. 6. 3. Cf. Winckler in Aus der Onomia, p. 149 ff.


1. Apulian krater found near Syracuse. Berlin, no. 3296. Pub. Arch. Ztg. 1878, pl. 7 and 8; cf. ibid. p. 42 ff, and Robert, Bild und Lied, p. 36; Vogel, p. 60 f.


1. Ruvo amphora. Pub. Mon. d. Inst. iv. 21 = Wiener Vorlegeblätter, ser. viii, pl. 8. 1. Cf. Annali d. Inst. 1845, p. 227.


1. Ruvo amphora. Naples, no. 1769. Pub. Overbeck, Bildwerke, 1. 2.

2. Apulian amphora. Berlin, no. 3239. Pub. Overbeck, op. cit. 1. 1.

1813. An abridgement of the foregoing. Pub. Wiener Vorlegeblätter, ser. 6, II. 2 = Roscher’s Lexikon, i. p. 903; cf. Vogel, op. cit. p. 137 f.


1. Lasimos amphora in the Louvre. Pub. Reinach-Millin, Peintures, ii. 37 = Overbeck, op. cit. pl. 28. 1. Cf. Vogel, p. 98 f.

2. Ruvo amphora. Naples, no. 3255. Pub. Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 4. 3 = Baumeister, Denkmäler, i. p. 114; cf. Vogel, p. 99 f.

3. Ruvo amphora. St. Petersburg, no. 523. Pub. Overbeck, op. cit. pl. 4. 2; cf. Vogel, loc. cit.


1. Apulian amphora. Naples, Mus. S. Angelo, no. 11, A. Pub. Arch. Ztg. 1867, pl. 220.


1. Krater in Naples, No. 1891. Pub. Annali d. Inst. 1874, pl. A.

2. Krater in St. Petersburg, no. 427. Pub. Inghirami, Vasi fitt. i. pl. 1–3; cf. Engelmann in Annali, 1874, p. 35 f., and Vogel, op. cit. p. 85 f.


1. Hydria in Naples. Heydemann, Raccolta Cumana, no. 141. Pub. Arch. Ztg. 1857, pl. 106.

2. Tischbein, Vases d’Hamilton, ii. 6; cf. Jahn, Telephos und Troilos, p. 44, and Vogel, op. cit. p. 89 ff.



N.B.—All references are to pages.

1. 184F.-W. no. 1198; pub. in Brunn’s Vorlegeblätter, no. 18, and Baumeister, Denkmäler, ii. p. 1121.

2. Benndorf und Schöne, Die Bildwerke des Lateranensischen Museums. no. 92 = F.-W. no. 1200; pub. in Brunn’s Vorlegeblätter, no. 17.

3. F.-W. no. 1201; pub. in Museo Torlonia, pl. 93, no. 377. This is the youngest of the three, but the original still belongs to the period just after the completion of the Parthenon.

4. Cf. Griechische Weihgeschenke, p. 130 ff.

5. Cf. Isaeus v. 41, and Xen. Hieron, ix. 4.

6. Athen. Mitth. 1878, p. 233; Ἀθήναιον B. vii. p. 93.

7. 1. 20. 1.

8. Cf. C. I. A. ii. 3, 1298, and Anth. Pal. vi. 239.

9. Loc. cit.

10. 1. 21. 1 and 2.

11. Pub. Athen. Mitth. 1882, pl. 14; cf. F.-W. no. 1135.

12. Furtwängler, Sammlung Sabouroff, p. 31.

13. Cf. F.-W. no. 1843, 1844, and Jahn’s Archäologische Beiträge, p. 198 ff.

14. Cf. Overbeck’s Schriftquellen, no. 1128.

15. F.-W. no. 1242.

16. I follow Robert. Cf. Thanatos, p. 37 ff.

17. Cf. Robert in Jahrbuch, 1887, p. 244 ff.

18. F.-W. 1402. Cf. Pliny, Nat. Hist. 36, 34.

19. One may distinguish two distinct moments in works of art based upon the Antiope myth. (1) The two sons of Antiope have the unfortunate Dirke all but fastened to the bull, which is being held only with the utmost exertion. (2) The catastrophe ensues. The wild animal is dragging his victim over the ground. It need not be said that the most celebrated representation of (1) is the toro farnese. For (2), cf. a wall painting, pub. Arch. Ztg. 1878, pl. 9, a and b. The myth was wonderfully popular and appears on coins, gems, reliefs, &c., all of which belong to the period when tragic influence predominated in art. Cf. Dilthey, Arch. Ztg. 1878, p. 43 ff. and Jahn, ibid., 1853, p. 65–105.

20. F.-W. no. 1422. Cf. Pliny, Nat. Hist. 36, 37.

21. Robert, Bild und Lied, p. 192 ff., contends against the influence of Sophokles.

22. Cic. de opt. gen. orat. 1. 1.

23. Velleius, 1. 17. 1.

24. The favourite subject was the murder of Troïlos.

25. Brunn, op. cit. pl. 1–16; cf. Schlie, Die Darstellungen des troischen Sagenkreises auf etruskischen Aschenkisten, p. 13 ff.

26. Poet. 1453a. 21.

27. Op. cit. pl. 26–34, gives eighteen reliefs.

28. Cf. p. 113 f.

29. Brunn, op. cit. pl. 69–72; cf. especially nos. 1, 2 and 3. The remaining four are not Sophoklean and betray an admixture of different elements. Odysseus bathes the afflicted foot of Philoktetes on nos. 6 and 7.

30. Op. cit. p. 155; cf. pl. 74–83.

31. Op. cit. pl. 84–85. The attitude of ‘Iphigeneia’ causes some difficulty in this interpretation. Cf. her part on the other monuments.

32. Cf. p. 124 ff. below.

33. Körte, op. cit. vol. ii. pl. 1. 2.

34. Cf. p. 144 ff.

35. Op. cit. vol. ii. pl. 4. 1, 2 and 3. and pl. 5. 4.

36. Cf. schol. Eur. Phoin. v. 61, and Nauck’s Fragmenta, Eur. no. 541, and op. cit. ii. pl. 7. 1.

37. There are twenty-eight in all representing the fratricide, and nine showing the attack; Körte, I rilievi d. urne etrusche, ii. pl. 8 24.

38. Op. cit. ii. p. 32 ff.

39. Pl. 26–27.

40. Pl. 28–30.

41. Pl. 31–32.

42. Cf. p. 105 f. below.

43. Pl. 39–40. Three in all.

44. Pl. 41–56.

45. One may think of Soph. Oinom., called also Hippodameia, and of Eur. Oinom. The latter seems to have been followed by Accius.

46. Pl. 62; cf. also op. cit. ii. p. 150 ff.

47. Pl. 100–104.

48. The monumental publication, which is now appearing under the direction of the German Imperial Archaeological Institute, will, when completed, place within one’s reach all this immense material. The projected plan embraces six volumes of which the second has so far appeared: Die Antiken Sarkophag-Reliefs, ii. 1890, edited by Carl Robert. The third part is to embrace three vols., so that we have in the Antiken Sarkophag-Reliefs, iii. 1897, Carl Robert, only the first vol.

49. Robert, op. cit. iii. part i, pl. 6–7. Nos. 22, 23, 24, 26 are all practically intact and agree closely with each other. Nos. 27–30 are larger or smaller fragments.

50. Pub. Arch. Ztg. 1875, pl. 9 = Robert, op. cit. iii. part i, pl. 7. 32 = Baumeister, Denkmäler, i. p. 46.

51. P. 101 ff.

52. Robert, op. cit. ii. p. 165.

53. Robert, Die antiken Sark.-Reliefs, ii. pl. 54, no. 154.

54. Cf. op. cit. ii. pl. 54–56, nos 155–166; vid. also p. 67 below.

55. Robert, op. cit. ii. pl. 57–59, nos. 167–180, and p. 124 ff. below.

56. P. 145 ff.

57. Robert, op. cit. ii. pl. 60, nos. 183, 184, and p. 191 ff.

58. Robert, op. cit. ii. pl. 51, no. 139.

59. Pub. by Robert, Die Pasiphaë-Sarkophag, 1890, pl. i.; also op. cit. iii. part i, pi. 10. 35, 35a, 35b.

60. Cf. Nauck’s Fragmenta, no. 472.

61. Cf. Baumeister, Denkmäler, ii. p. 917, where the Louvre fragment is published = Clarac, Musée de Sculpture, pl. 201, no. 208. A similar scene is shown in no. 256.

62. Paus. 1. 22. 6.

63. Cf. p. 94 ff.

64. Cf. schol. Eur. Hek. v. 3, and Nauck’s Fragmenta, p. 245 ff.

65. Homerische Becher, p. 75; but on p. 25 f. of the Iliupersis des Polygnot in der Poikile, Robert refers the picture to Polykleitos on the strength of the epigram (Anth. Plan. 3. 30) by Pollianos. The question turns on the reading Πολυκλείτοιο, which has generally been held to be a corruption of Πολυγνώτοιο. But this does not convince me that Polygnotos might not have painted the work in the Propylaia. It is by no means necessary to consider the two paintings identical even if Πολυκλείτοιο must remain.

66. Paus. 10. 25. 2.

67. This was shown by Schneidewin in Philologus, 1849, p. 645 ff.

68. Pliny, Nat. Hist. 35. 71.

69. Cf. Overbeck, Schriftquellen, 1735–1739, and p. 112 f. below.

70. Pliny, Nat. Hist. 35, 132, and Helbig, Wandgemälde, 1183–1203.

71. Pliny, op. cit. 35, 136, and Helbig, op. cit. nos. 1189, 1262–1264. The latter is from Herculaneum. Cf. Overbeck, Schriftquellen, 2126–2135, for various epigrams touching this painting of Timomachus.

72. Overbeck, op. cit. 1642. Cf. Reisch, Griechische Weihgeschenke, p. 127.

73. Pliny, op. cit. 35, 144; cf. a Pompeian wall painting, pub. Arch. Ztg. 1883, pl. 9. 1.

74. Paus. 1. 20. 3.

75. Vid. Dörpfeld and Reisch, Das griechische Theater, p. 21.

76. Cf. p. 74 below.

77. Cf. Helbig, op. cit. Three groups are distinguishable. (1) Nos. 1216–1240, Ariadne forsaken by Theseus. (2) 1222–1232, she mourns in her solitude. (3) 1233–1240, Dionysos comes to her rescue.

78. Helbig, op. cit. nos. 1242–1247; cf. p. 108, note 1.

79. Cf. Helbig, op. cit. nos. 1304, 1305.

80. Cf. p. 138 below.

81. Helbig, op. cit. nos. 1142, 1143.

82. Especially fine is the painting discovered in the casa dei Vettii, photo. Alinari, no. 12133; cf. Röm. Mitth. 1896, p. 50 f.

83. Cf. Röm. Mitth. 1896, p. 45 f., and Arch. Anz. 1895, p. 121, photo. Alinari, no. 12134. Pub. J. H. S. 1896, p. 151.

84. Helbig, op. cit. nos. 1151–1153. The excavations in 1895 added still another to those already known. Vid. Röm. Mitth. 1896, p. 46, photo. Alinari, no. 12135. Cf. also Arch. Ztg. 1878, pl. 9. a and b for two others.

85. Livius Andronicus, Ennius, and Accius, each wrote an Andromeda. Ennius translated the Medeia, and chose over half his pieces from Euripides.

86. Gerhard’s Etruskische Spiegel, ii. pl. 239, and v. pl. 117.

87. Op. cit. iv. pl. 354. 2.

88. Gerhard, op. cit. iv. 367. 2. Cf. Euripides’ Κρῆτες.

89. Op. cit. iv. pl. 401.

90. Op. cit. ii. pl. 229 = Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 14. 1; iv. pl. 390. 2; v. pl. 108.

91. Op. cit. v. p. 217.

92. Wiener Vorlegeblätter, ser. D. pl. 10. 4 and 5 = op. cit. ii. pl. 138. 139. Aischylos was the first to chain Prometheus, and all the monuments representing the giant thus fastened on the cliff are dependent on the Prometheus. Cf. Milchhoefer, in Berliner Winckelmannsprogramm for 1882.

93. The question as to where and how the Etruscans came to have so wide a knowledge of Greek poetry will long remain a perplexing one. One thing seems clear, viz., that the Romans did not serve as any connecting link between Greece and Etruria. Greek art as well as Greek letters reached this people direct. It hardly seems probable that translations of the Greek poets were so extensively made by this practical people, that the artists could in this manner have had access to so much that is Euripidean. There is, moreover, a great deal in some of the reliefs that bespeaks a familiarity with the scenes as actually given in the theatre. This leads me to think that the wandering troops of actors had penetrated Etruria also, and introduced the plays of which the Etruscans made so much in their art.

94. Figs. 12, 16, 27, 28; cf. also note 2, p. 95 f.

95. Vid. Lüders, Die dionysischen Künstler, Berlin, 1873.

96. Cf. p. 114 ff.

97. The ‘Megarian Bowls’ have much in common with such later monuments as the tabula iliaca. Cf. Jahn’s Bilderchroniken, and Baumeister, Denkmäler, i. no. 775.

98. Jahn, Telephos und Troilos, 1841, p. 46 ff., believed that Exekias was indebted to Euripides’ Telephos for the idea of his dice-players; cf. Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 14. 4, and Wiener Vorlegeblätter, 1888, pl. 6. 1a. We know now that Exekias must have lived nearly 100 years before the date of the Telephos.

99. Klein in his Euphronios, 1886, p. 236 ff., saw in the Iliupersis kylix, pub. Baumeister, Denkmäler, i. no. 795, the workings of Aischylos’ Ὅπλον Κρίσις; in the Euphronios kylix, Wiener Vorlegeblätter, ser. v. pl. 6, representing the death of Troïlos, a connexion was pointed out with Sophokles’ Troilos; and the Dolon kylix, also by Euphronios, cf. op. cit. p. 136 f., might be brought under the Rhesos of Euripides.

100. Note especially the Brygos kylix, Brit. Mus., cat. iii. E 65; pub. Mon. d. Inst. ix. 46, and Wiener Vorlegeblätter, ser. viii. 6. Dionysos stands by his altar over which a satyr springs to grasp Iris. Others of the tribe make merry. Cf. also Brit. Mus., cat. iii. E 768; pub. Wiener Vorlegebl. ser. vii. 4, in the style of Euthymides. Seilenos in herald’s dress is in the midst of a long train of satyrs.

101. The main scene is published and discussed by Dümmler in Rheinisches Museum, 1888, p. 355 ff.

102. Cf. the Peiraieus frag. pub. Arch. Ztg. 1880, pl. 16. Other examples of later styles are included by Reisch, Griech. Weihgeschenke, p. 68 ff. Vid. further the list in Arch. Ztg. 1880, p. 182 f.

103. Gerhard, Auser. Vasen, pl. 56, and Reinach-Millin, Peintures, i. 9.

104. Berlin, inv. no. 3237. Pub. and discussed by Bethe, Jahrbuch, 1896, p. 292 ff. and pl. 2; cf. Furtwängler, Arch. Anz. 1893, p. 91 f.

105. P. 141 ff.

106. No. 3235, A. Pub. Mon. d. Inst. ii. pl. 36; Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 24. 19; cf. Furtwängler, Masterpieces, p. 152 f.

107. Fig. 8, and p. 63 f.

108. Heydemann’s cat. no. 3240. Pub. Müller-Wieseler, Theater-gebäude, pl. 6. 2; Baumeister, Denkmäler, i. fig. 422.

109. iv. 115–117. Cf. also Bethe, Prolegomena zur Geschichte des Theaters im Altertum, p. 42.

110. The Penelope vase, pub. Mon. d. Inst. ix. pl. 42 = Baumeister’s Denkmäler, iii. no. 2332, has lately been explained by Robert as being based on Soph. Νίπτρα. Cf. Die Marathonschlacht in der Poikile, p. 78 ff. If I could accept this view my position would be very materially strengthened. The Νίπτρα must be set cir. 428 B.C., and this means that the painting is later than this date. Much as I should like to bring this important monument into connexion with the drama, I cannot think of a later date for the vase than 440 B.C., which to be sure renders its relation to Sophokles impossible. If, however, Professor Robert be correct, it shows that there is at least one vase painting of the fifth century that represents a form of a myth which belonged to the theatre, and this was not granted in Bild und Lied.

111. Cf. Gardner’s Types of Greek Coins, pl. v. nos. 17–20, and Furtwängler’s Masterpieces, p. 105 ff., with the very instructive collection of Italian and Sicilian coins which shows the Attic influence in this period.

112. Cf. Mommsen, Unteritalische Dialekte, p. 89 ff.

113. De leg. 1. 637c.

114. Dio Cassius, 39. 3. 6.

115. Zonaris, viii. 2. 370, καὶ τὸ θέατρον ἔκλεισε.

116. Cf. figs. 5, 6, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23.

117. The large class of Lower Italy vases that illustrate scenes from comedy are priceless treasures. They are based on the ‘farce-plays,’ φλύακες τραγικοί—the invention of Rhinthon (vid. Rhinthonis Fragmenta, Halle, dissertation by E. Völker, 1887); cf. especially Heydemann, Jahrbuch, 1886, p. 260 ff., where all the examples then known are discussed. Bethe, Prolegomena zur Geschichte des Theaters im Altertum, p. 278–292, handles particularly the interesting question of the stage represented in the scenes.

Mention should be made also of Körte’s excellent article in the Jahrbuch for 1893, p. 61–93, on Archaeologische Studien zur alten Komödie.

118. Robert’s conclusion in regard to the literary source of all the monuments (Bild und Lied, p. 149 ff.) is that they go back to the Oresteia of Stesichoros. This view has been generally accepted by archaeologists, and met with no opposition till Wilamowitz showed reason for believing in the existence of a Delphic epic dealing with this subject. The whole question needs another careful investigation.

119. Pub. Mon. d. Inst. vi. pl. 57. 1 = Roscher’s Lexikon, i. p. 1238. Cf. Robert, op. cit. p. 167 ff.

120. Naples, no. 1755, pub. Baumeister, Denkmäler, iii. 1939 = Reinach-Millingen, Peintures, pl. 14.

121. Fig. 2. Pub. Raoul-Rochette, Monuments inédits, pl. 34. Cf. ibid. p. 159 ff.; Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 28. 5; cf. text ibid., p. 688 ff.; Inghirami, Vasi fitt. ii. pl. 151.

122. Cf. figs. 14, 15, 23, 24 for the regulation dress of the pedagogue.

123. Cf. note 2, p. 44.

124. Munich coll. Jahn’s cat. no. 814. The figure of Elektra alone together with the view of the tomb is published by Inghirami, Vasi fitt. ii. pl. 154.

125. Pub. Inghirami, op. cit. ii. pl. 153.

126. An amphora, no. 544. The painting has not been published so far as I know, but the similarity it bears to figs. 3 and 4 appeared to me to render a publication of it here unnecessary.

127. Cf. παρ’ οὐδετέρω κεῖται ἡ μυθοποιία of the Hypothesis.

128. Cf. Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 29, and Raoul-Rochette, Mon. inéd. pl. 35–38.

129. Cat. no. 349; pub. Compte Rendu, 1864, pl. 6. 5; cf. Stephani, ibid. p. 252 ff.

130. Cf. a similar figure with the key in figs. 6, 18, 20. In the latter cases Iphigeneia is the priestess.

131. v. 1061.

132. v. 35.

133. Vid my Attitude of the Greek Tragedians toward Art, p. 12 ff., for a discussion of this passage.

134. So Eur. Orest. v. 321; Elekt. v. 1345.

135. Naples, no. 3249, photo, Alinari, 11296, from which fig. 6 is taken. The painting was published by Jahn, Vasenbilder, 1839, pl. 1. 1, from a drawing. Jahn himself had not seen the vase. The drawing does the fine picture so little justice that I could not think of reproducing it. The work on the vase is wonderfully clear and strong. Every figure is in itself a beautiful work of art. The picture presents an unusual variety of situations that are artistically of great interest.

136. Cf. also fig. 8.

137. No. 3256. Pub. Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 29. 4; general view of the whole vase, Gerhard’s Apulische Vasen. pl. A. 6. Another painting, a late work and wretchedly done, somewhat similar, is published in Arch. Ztg. 1877, pl. 4. 11.

138. Fig. 8. Pub. Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 29. 7; Mon. d. Inst. iv. pl. 48; Arch. Ztg. 1860, pl. 138. 2; Baumeister’s Denkmäler, ii. p. 1117; Rayet et Collignon, Histoire de la céramique grecque, p. 297.

139. Vid. Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 29. 11, and 12.

140. Cf. vs. 67, 84, 91.

141. This view is maintained by Dörpfeld and Reisch, Das griechische Theater, p. 243 ff. In reply to this vid. Robert in Hermes, vol. 32, p. 439 ff. Vid. also Bethe, Prolegomena zur Geschichte des Theaters im Altertum, pp. 112–116, where this point in the production of the Eumenides is ably discussed.

142. Cf. this scene on the Sarcophagi reliefs. Robert, Die antiken Sarkophag-Reliefs, ii. pl. 54–56, nos. 155–161, the right end scene; also no. 1571, p. 173.

143. Cf. the ghosts of Aigisthos and Klytaimestra on the end reliefs of the Sarcophagus, no. 155, op. cit.

144. Orest. 408, 1650; Tro. 457; cf. also the relief found near Argos, pub. Athen. Mitth. 1879, pl. 9 = Roscher’s Lexikon, i. p. 1330.

145. Wilamowitz, Aischylos Orestie, Zweites Stück, 1896, p. 246 ff., has shown the plausibility of believing in such an epic. The author was a Delphian.

146. A few fragments remain from the Oresteia of Stesichoros. Cf. Bergk-Schaefer, Poetae lyrici graeci, iii. p. 219 ff.

147. Opinions vary on this point. Three different views are held. (1) The temple of Athena remains the scene throughout the rest of the play; the Areiopagos (v. 685) becomes then merely a part of the stage decorations given by the periaktoi. (2) Between v. 235 and v. 685 the scene was changed from the Acropolis to the Areiopagos. (3) There is no scene from v. 235 other than the Areiopagos. The latter seems to me absolutely untenable. Repeated allusion is made to the temple and to Orestes clinging to the old image in the δῶμα (v. 242 ff.). Regarding the first and second, it makes little difference whether the scene was in fact shifted or whether it was represented on the wings. The practical working was the same in either case.

148. The present whereabouts of the vase is not known. Pub. Baumeister, Denkmäler, ii. p. 1118; Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 29. 9; Reinach-Millingen, Peintures, ii. 68; also as frontispiece to the 4th ed. of Paley’s Aeschylus. He disposes of it in a line or two, and, with the usual accuracy which characterizes philologists when dealing with matters of archaeology, says the vase is ‘probably nearly contemporaneous’ with the Eumenides (p. 584). The composition is remarkably like the Assteas painting, Wiener Vorlegeblätter, ser. i. pl. 7. The figures of Apollo and Kadmos, as well as the two Athenas, have much in common. There is the same roundness and plumpness in the figures. Furthermore, Assteas was partial to bust figures and never lost an opportunity to introduce them. The border on the veil of the female bust of our vase is Campanian, as are also certain other details. All this brings me to the opinion that Assteas, who was very likely from Paestum and may have been in touch with Campanian styles as well, was the painter of our vase. It is at least from the school of Assteas. A painting by Python (J. H. S. 1890, pl. 6), one of the set of Assteas, exhibits the same treatment of hair and decoration that is found on the painting, fig. 9.

149. These feathers, for that is what these projections are, can be counted on dozens of helms belonging to this period. Athena and warriors wear them alike. Their occurrence before the latter part of the fourth century B.C. is unknown to me.

150. Cf. Aisch. Supp. v. 463.

151. Pub. Arch. Ztg. 1860, pl. 137. 4 = Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 29. 8.

152. Vid. Arch. Anz. 1890, p. 90.

153. It is worth noting that, when viewed both from the artistic in his plays and the art that was an outgrowth of his plays, Sophokles occupies the same position as regards Aischylos and Euripides. Cf. my Attitude of the Greek Tragedians toward Art, p. 32 ff.

154. P. 35, note 3, and p. 36, note 3.

155. Poet. 1450a. 25.

156. Rep. 8. 568a.

157. C. 29.

158. Athen. p. 537; cf. Plut. Alex. c. 10 and 53.

159. Athen. p. 175.

160. This fact comes out particularly in Polybios; cf. Susemihl, Geschichte der griech. Litteratur in der Alexanderzeit, ii. p. 119.

161. C. I. A. ii. 973 is the authority for this occurrence in the years 341–39 B.C.

162. 6. 3. 5.

163. Cf. Nem. 7. v. 49 ff.

164. Vid. Hypothesis: τὸ δὲ δρᾶμα τῶν δευτέρον.

165. Fig. 10; no. 239 in the Jatta catalogue. Pub. Annali d. Inst. 1868, pl. E = Engelmann’s Atlas zum Homer, ii. Odyssee, pl. 4. 18; cf. Vogel, op. cit. p. 36 ff.

166. Cf. similar figures in figs. 6, 18, 20.

167. The composition is strikingly like that in fig. 18. The two temples are exact counterparts of each other. The altars likewise and the Apollo figures have much in common. Most important of all is the fact that in both pictures the chief persons are denoted by inscriptions. It should be observed further that both vases are of the same style, amphoras with volute handles, and both were found in Ruvo. These facts lead me to believe that one and the same artist may have been the painter of both works.

168. Cf. figs. 6, 7, 18, 20, 21, 23.

169. The 26th idyll of Theokritos should also be counted with the Bakchai.

170. Suidas s. v. Thespis.

171. But one verse remains, Nauck’s Fragmenta, no. 183.

172. A psykter in the Bourguignon coll., Naples; pub. Jahrbuch, 1892, pl. 5. The vase belongs to the Epiktetos set, and may be dated cir. 500 B.C.

173. The following, given by Hartwig, Jahrbuch, 1892, p. 154 ff., may be mentioned as supplementing the list in Jahn’s well-known essay, Pentheus und die Mainaden, Kiel, 1841.

(1) Attic pyxis, Louvre; pub. Jahrbuch, 1892, p. 156; date 420–400 B.C.

(2) Kylix in Museo di Papa Giulio, Rome, described by Hartwig, op. cit. p. 163, who thinks it may have well been influenced by Euripides, but he sets the date of the Bakchai at 410 B.C.! I have not seen the vase nor any publication of it, but should infer from Hartwig’s description that it is older than the tragedy.

174. Lucanian fabric, no. 807 in Jahn’s cat., pub. Jahn’s Pentheus und die Mainaden, pl. ii. a; Reinach-Millingen, Peintures, pl. 5 = Baumeister, Denkmäler, ii. no. 1396.

175. The original shows no trace of the fire that is so prominent in the publications. There can, however, be no doubt that a burning torch was meant, if not so painted originally.

176. vs. 954 ff., 1052, 1061 ff.

177. P. 25 above. It should be noted that this is the first example of a Pentheus scene discovered in Pompeii or Herculaneum.

178. P. 23 above.

179. The episode seems to have been first told in the Ἰλίου Πέρσις of Arktinos. Polyxena being led by Neoptolemos to the tomb of Achilles appears on an Attic bl. fig. vase of cir. 550 B.C., vid. Berlin cat. 1902; pub. Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 27. 17. Two gems of the severe style in the Berlin Antiquarium (nos. 489, 490), pub. Overbeck, op. cit. pl. 27. 13 and 14, also represent the sacrifice. The painting in the Pinakotheke of the Propylaia may have been by Polygnotos (cf. p. 21 above), and if it was, Euripides no doubt had often seen it. This showed her about to be sacrificed; Paus. 1. 22. 6.

180. ‘Megarian Bowls’ is a name applied to a class of small cups decorated with a band of relief. The ware is red or black, and appears both in glazed and unglazed form. The largest number of the vases has been found in Megara, hence the name ‘Megarian.’ As many have been discovered also in Boeotia and other places, the present terminology is somewhat misleading. Examples of this ware are to be found in every large museum in Europe. The British Museum possesses no less than nine such cups, and fragments from fourteen others (vid. cat. iv. pp. 251–256). The reliefs illustrate mostly scenes from the Theban and Trojan Cycles. Whether the terra cotta presented a cheap way of reproducing silver and gold cups, which were highly prized, and served therefore the place of our casts, or whether the bowls were made from special moulds and are to be considered independent works of art, is quite uncertain. The fact that there are in existence three copies of the same work, each agreeing in every detail with the others, would seem to point to the former supposition. Robert, who has handled this set of monuments most thoroughly, distinguishes two classes: (1) the whole vase is cast from one mould; (2) the reliefs having been made separately are stamped on the ready bowl. Vid. especially Robert’s Homerische Becher for the whole question; cf. also p. 27 ff. above.

181. Fig. 12, pub. by Robert, op. cit. p. 73 ff.

182. Fig. 13: pub. Mon. d. Inst. ii. pl. 12; Welcker, Alte Denkmäler, iii. pl. 23. 2; Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 28. 2.

183. The first play belonged to the trilogy containing the Aigeus and Theseus, which made up a set of purely Attic interest. It is well known that Euripides deepened and widened the belief in the Athenian heroic period.

184. Suidas names an Hippolytos of Lykophron—a poet of Alexandria.

185. The Phaedra seems to have followed the first Hippolytos of Euripides.

186. Cf. Met. 15, vs. 497 ff., and Heroid. 4.

187. Cat. iv. F 272, pub. by Braun, Mon. ed Annali, 1854, pl. 16; Engelmann’s Atlas zum Homer, ii, Odyssee, pl. 15. 93. First correctly interpreted by Heydemann, Arch. Ztg. 1871, p. 158 ff.; cf. also Vogel, op. cit. p. 66 f., and Kalkmann, Arch. Ztg. 1883, p. 62 ff. The vase is Apulian ware. The lower zone represents the violence of the Centaurs at the marriage of Peirithoös’ daughter, Laodameia. Theseus and the father are seen rushing to the help of the bride.

188. The fact that no succession of events, where one person appears more than once, can be found in Hellenic art, forbids us interpreting this group as again Phaidra and an attendant. I cannot, however, rid myself of the feeling that the figure leaning on the kline is not a servant, but is more in rank with Phaidra. Her rôle is more than that of the other attendants. This is shown by her attitude and dress. Her appearance is exactly that required for Phaidra after she had ordered her attendants to lift her up, remove her veil, and allow her hair to drop over her shoulders (vs. 198–202).

189. Cf. the part of the pedagogue on the Medeia vase, fig. 23, p. 146.

190. There are, besides, fragments of several other reliefs. For the literature vid. Kalkmann, Arch. Ztg. 1883, p. 65 ff., and Jahn, Arch. Beiträge, p. 300 ff.

191. Cf. vs. 201 ff.

192. Pub. Arch. Ztg. 1847, pl. 5 and 6.

193. Pub. Mon. d. Inst. vi. pl. 1, 2, 3.

194. So on the Constantinople relief, pub. Arch. Ztg. 1857, pl. 100 = Brunn’s Vorlegeblätter, pl. 9. 3; and on the Girgenti sarcophagi; cf. note 1 above.

195. Clarac, Musée de Sculpture, pl. 213, no. 228, and Mon. d. Inst. viii. pl. 38. 1 = Wiener Vorlegeblätter, ser. 5, pl. 12, and Gerhard, Antike Bildwerke, pl. 26.

196. A number of vase paintings interpreted as Phaidra are not included here since they all admit of a variety of interpretations. Vid. p. 179 below.

197. The remarkable feature in these reliefs that shows non-Euripidean influence is the letter which the old nurse hands to Hippolytos. This points to another handling of the myth, where the former confined herself to a written statement rather than a word of mouth proposal. Strikingly in harmony with Euripides, however, is the position of the trophos. She grasps Hippolytos’ elbow—ναὶ πρός δε τῆσδε δεξιᾶς εὐωλένου (v. 605). Cf. also the Pompeian wall painting, Mus. Borbonico, 8, pl. 52. This and other wall paintings represent the scene between Hippolytos and the nurse as taking place in the presence of Phaidra, who sits quite alone.

198. Cf. fig. 15. Cat. vol. iv. F 279; pub. by Kalkmann, Arch. Ztg. 1883, pl. 6; vid. ibid. p. 43 ff.

199. Cf. a similar group in fig. 23.

200. The same group of divinities, with the exception of Apollo, occurs on the Naples amphora, no. 3256, pub. Mon. d. Inst. ii. 30, and Robert, Die Marathonschlacht, p. 37; Robert calls attention to the fact that this is an essentially Athenian assembly. Poseidon, Athena, and Pan were inseparably associated with the Acropolis, the latter, of course, after the battle of Marathon. The Naples vase represents a battle between Greeks and barbarians, and according to Robert’s theory is dependent upon Polygnotos’ painting in the Stoa Poikile. As participants and spectators the gods occur in the upper section. Athena, indeed, whirls into line on her chariot. If this ingenious theory has hit the gist of the matter regarding the Naples painting, then we may also claim the group of gods on the Hippolytos vase as peculiarly Athenian. And such would be very appropriate for a picture that represented an Attic tragedy, whose hero had a cult under the shadow of the Acropolis.

201. vs. 1199 ff.

202. v. 1214; cf. also Ovid, Met. 15. 512, where the bull is described as having his breast half out of the water.

203. Bk. ii. 4.

204. Nat. Hist. 35. 114.

205. Cf. Mon. d. Inst. vi. pl. 2; Arch. Ztg. 1847, pl. 6.

206. Körte, I rilievi delle urne etrusche, ii. pl. 33–36.

207. The urn in the Brit. Mus., no. 6, pl. 36, op. cit., has two such figures.

208. So Bergk and Ribbeck.

209. v. 234 ff.

210. Pliny, 35. 73, says of the picture, oratorum laudibus celebrata. Numerous mentions are in fact made of it by the orators. Cf. especially Cic. Orat. 22. 74. Vid. further, Brunn’s Griech. Künstler, ii. p. 82 ff.

211. Discovered April 30, 1825, in the house of the ‘Tragic Poet’; pub. Baumeister, Denkmäler, i. no. 807 = photo, Alinari, 12027. Vid. Helbig, Campanische Wandgemälde, no. 1304. Here, however, Iphigeneia is being carried (cf. Aisch. Agam. loc. cit.), while Pliny speaks of her as stans in Timanthes’ painting.

212. Pub. Baumeister, op. cit. i. 806; vid. F.-W. no. 2143.

213. Vid. Michaelis in Röm. Mitth. 1893, p. 201 ff.; cf. p. 4 above.

214. Brunn, I rilievi delle urne etrusche, i. pl. 35–47. There are altogether twenty-six reliefs, of which twenty-one belong to Perugia. Cf. Schlie, Die Darstellungen des troischen Sagenkreises auf etruskischen Aschenkisten, p. 60 f.

215. Op. cit. p. 81 f., but cf. my remarks on p. 10 ff.

216. Pub. by Robert, Homerische Becher, p. 51.

217. A second in Athens, pub. Ἐφ. Ἀρχ. 1887, pl. 5; a third, on the authority of Furtwängler (vid. Robert, loc. cit.), in the Branthegem coll. in Brussels.

218. So at least one thinks of the case. Agamemnon ought to have been inside at this moment, shut off from the public gaze. The Greek drama, however, had to bring outside, before the public as it were, even those delicate scenes such as the present where the interior of Agamemnon’s tent should have been the scene.

219. The name occurs six times on the vase, and is always without an N. This is strong epigraphical evidence that our spelling Klytaimnestra is incorrect.

220. P. 113 f.

221. Vid. p. 179.

222. Cf. Aisch. Agam. v. 224 ff.; Eur. Iph. T. v. 8 and 360; Iph. A. v. 873, 875, 935, 1177, are hardly to be taken in the literal sense.

223. Elekt. v. 157 and schol.

224. Cf. Proklos in Argum. to Kypria.

225. Frag. 123, and Paus. 1. 43. 1.

226. Bk. iv, ch. 103, and Paus. loc. cit.

227. Vid. Suidas s.v.

228. 1456a. 6; 1453b. 11.

229. Ribbeck, Die römische Tragödie, p. 50.

230. Ribbeck thinks of Naevius.

231. For these last two scenes as well as the others, vid. Robert, Die antiken Sarkophag-Reliefs, vol. ii. pl. 57–59, and p. 165 f. and 177 ff.

232. Fig. 17, from Raoul-Rochette, Mon. inéd. pl. 41. Heydemann, cat. Santangelo, no. 24; cf. Trendelenburg in Annali d. Inst. 1872, p. 114.

233. Vid. Robert, op. cit. nos. 157b, 168, 171.

234. A wall painting from Herculaneum, pub. Pitture di Ercolano, i. pl. 12; Overbeck’s Bildwerke, pl. 30. 9; cf. Helbig, Campanische Wandgemälde, no. 1334. Another painting from Pompeii is published in Arch. Ztg. 1875, pl. 13; for the same on pastes and gems cf. Overbeck, op. cit. pl. 30, and Furtwängler’s Beschreibung der geschnittenen Steine im Antiquarium (Berlin), nos. 791 ff.

235. Fig. 18 from a Ruvo amphora in Naples. Heydemann, no. 3223. Pub. Mon. d. Inst. ii. pl. 43; Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 30. 4. Vid. Annali d. Inst. vol. ix. p. 198 ff.; Arch. Ztg. 1875, p. 137; Vogel, Scenen eur. Trag. p. 70 ff.

236. Cf. v. 1463, where the poet says Iphigeneia is to be κλῃδοῦχος for the Brauronian Artemis. In Aisch. Supp., also, Io is spoken of as at one time κλῃδοῦχος ἥρας. Cf. v. 291.

237. Cf. the monuments in Overbeck’s Bildwerke, pl. 30, that represent this scene; and the central group on the front side of the Munich sarcophagus, op. cit. no. 167.

238. Artemis sits on an altar in fig. 21, as do Orestes and Pylades on an Etruscan mirror; vid. Gerhard’s Etruskische Spiegel, ii. 239, and v. 117. Neoptolemos jumps upon the βωμός in the Andromache (v. 1123) to avoid his foes. Cf. fig. 10, p. 84.

239. Cf. Robert, op. cit. nos. 177 and 178, the Berlin and Weimar Sarcophagi, and no. 180, a fragment in the court of the Palazzo Mattei. Robert properly refers to the next following moment when Orestes and Pylades are left alone with the chorus, Iphigeneia having gone inside to bring the letter. In order to obtain just the sarcophagi scenes we have but to allow Iphigeneia to withdraw after the close of her speech, v. 642.

240. Robert, op. cit. pl. 57–59, and p. 165 f. and 177 ff.; Arch. Ztg. 1875, p. 134 ff.

241. The two wall paintings published by Overbeck, Bildwerke. pl. 30, nos. 31 and 14, and interpreted as representing this same moment, have since been explained by Petersen, Arch. Ztg. 1863, p. 113 ff., as belonging to the Alkestis. While the former view has been generally given up, the latter has not by any means been everywhere accepted. It is, at most, probable.

242. Fig. 19, pub. Arch. Ztg. 1849, pl. 12 = Overbeck, op. cit. pl. 30. 7 = Mon. d. Inst. iv. pl. 51. Vid. also under ‘Iphigeneia’ in Baumeister, and Roscher. Cf. Vogel, op. cit. p. 72 ff., and Arch. Ztg. 1875 p. 136.

243. Fig. 20, no. 420, in the cat. of the Hermitage, pub. Mon. d. Inst. vi. pl. 66; cf. Annali d. Inst. 1862, p. 116 ff., and Stephani in Compte Rendu, 1863, p. 159 ff.

244. Compte Rendu, loc. cit.

245. Fig. 21; pub. in the Bullettino archeologico Napolitano, 1862, pl. 7, and in Brunn’s Vorlegeblätter, pl. 13. 1. Cf. also Vogel, op. cit. p. 74 ff.

246. P. 124.

247. Cf., however, Laborde’s Vases Lamberg, i. p. 14, also Annali d. Inst. 1848, pl. L, and Overbeck’s Bildwerke, pl. 30. 8, for a vase which probably shows the escape with the idol. It is not certain, but this seems to be what is represented. The work is very ordinary.

248. Helbig, no. 1333, pub. in Mon. d. Inst. viii. pl. 22; photo, Alinari, no. 12029. Cf. Helbig, Untersuchungen über die Campanische Wandmalerei, p. 147 ff.

249. Arch. Ztg. 1875, p. 144.

250. Loc. cit.

251. Vid. Röm. Mitth. 1896, p. 67.

252. We know of such an original, the famous painting of Timomachus. Pliny, Hist. Nat. 35. 136, says, Timomachus Byzantius Caesaris dictatoris aetate Aiacem et Medeam pinxit ... Timomachi aeque laudantur Orestes, Iphigenia in Tauris. Further than this we know nothing of the painter. That he was immensely popular follows from Pliny’s statement (loc. cit.) that Caesar paid 80 talents for this Aiax. In regard to the date of Timomachus we possess Pliny’s authority for Caesaris aetate. Robert defends this (Arch. Märchen, p. 132), while others seek to find an earlier date. Miss Sellers in The Elder Pliny’s Chapters on the History of Art, Jex-Blake and Sellers, p. 160 f., argues for the fourth century B.C. Vid. loc. cit. for the latest discussion of this painter’s date, as well as for references to the literature. Further reference may be made to Helbig, Untersuchungen, p. 147 ff., where especially the influence of Timomachus on the wall paintings is dwelt upon.

253. Cf. Arist. Poet. 1449a. 19 and 20.

254. Miss Harrison, J. H. S. 1883, p. 248 ff., has brought together and discussed thirteen vases connected with this myth, of which the first twelve are bl. fig.

255. v. 99, Odysseus says he thinks they have dropped down on a city of Bromios, so many are the satyrs whom he sees before the cave.

256. P. 23.

257. Pliny 35, 74. A Cyclops dormiens so large that a number of satyrs were engaged in measuring his thumb with a thyrsos. I follow Robert (Bild und Lied, p. 35) and Winter (Jahrbuch, 1891, p. 272) in connecting this painting with Euripides.

258. The painting is on a krater in the possession of Sir Francis Cook, Richmond, England; pub. by Winter, Jahrbuch, 1891, pl. 6. He thinks the work Attic, but Furtwängler (Masterpieces, p. 109, note 8) is sure it is Lower Italy ware.

259. The three eyes are plainly visible. One huge eye alone in the centre of the forehead belongs to later times.

260. Furtwängler, loc. cit., remarks that the publication is not exactly correct, as fire is plainly noticeable on the wood that the youths are contributing.

261. Polyphemos here is strikingly like the figure on an Etruscan urn. Brunn, I rilievi, i. pl. 873. The Kyklops is in both cases stretched out upon his left side, and is on the point of being attacked.

262. The poet mentions the krater, and in the next breath the skyphos, neither of which is exactly found in the rough sketch in the painting. Besides these, Euripides names in this play the kylix, amphora, and pithos—a considerable vocabulary of ceramic terms.

263. My remark applies only to the extant monuments, for one finds that Pausanias saw the marriage of Jason and Medeia represented on the Kypselos Chest (5. 18. 3). This is in keeping with the Corinthian origin of the Chest. It is hardly to be expected that such domestic events in Medeia’s career would have found their place in any work of art that was not made in Corinth, or at least in a place essentially influenced by Corinthian legend.

264. Vid. Arch. Ztg. 1867, p. 58.

265. Benndorf und Schöne, Die antiken Bildwerke des Lateranensischen Museums, p. 61 ff.; F.-W. no. 1200. The Berlin copy of this relief, long supposed to be of Renaissance origin, has lately been proved to be antique; vid. Kekulé von Stradonitz in Jahrbuch, 1897, p. 96 ff.

266. Cf. Baumeister’s Denkmäler, i. p. 142; ii. p. 875; iii. p. 1852.

267. Kekulé’s Die antiken Terracotten, ii. p. 21.

268. Vid. Roscher’s Lexikon, ii. p. 2513.

269. Robert in Die antiken Sarkophag-Reliefs, ii. p. 205–217, gives all the literature; cf. also pl. 62–65. Vid. Arch. Ztg. 1866, p. 234 ff.; Annali d. Inst. 1869, p. 5 ff.; Urlichs’ Würzburger Programm, ein Medea-Sarkophag, 1888. (This fine sarcophagus is now in the Berlin museum.) Robert and Urlichs have, to my mind, shown conclusively that these reliefs go back to Euripides’ Medeia for their literary source. Notwithstanding that they all date from about the second century A.D., and could thus be based on various Roman plays, the arrangement of the events on the reliefs bears a remarkable similarity to the scenes in Euripides. The reliefs on the long sides are taken up with exactly the scenes of the Greek poet. Those on the ends are but indifferently worked out, and often do not represent any events in the Medeia-Jason adventures.

270. A half-tone reproduction of the vase is shown in the frontispiece. The section with the painting is given separately in fig. 23. It is no. 810 in Jahn’s catalogue; pub. in Millin’s Tombeaux de Canose, 1816, pl. 7; Arch. Ztg. 1847, pl. 3; Wiener Vorlegeblätter, ser. i. pl. 12; Baumeister’s Denkmäler, ii. p. 903; Roscher’s Lexikon, ii. p. 2510; Inghirami, Vasi fitt. iv. pl. 388; Engelmann, Bilderatlas zu Ovid, pl. 13, 81. Discussed by Jahn, Arch. Ztg. 1847, p. 33 ff.; ibid. (by Dilthey) 1875, p. 68 f.; Robert, Bild und Lied, p. 37 ff., and Hermes, vol. 30, p. 567 note; Körte, Ueber Personificationen psychologischer Affecte, p. 38 ff.; Vogel, Scenen eur. Trag. p. 146 ff.; Seeliger in Roscher’s Lexikon, loc. cit.; Bethe, Prolegomena zur Geschichte des Theaters im Altertum, p. 148, note 6.

271. The latter name is found in schol. Eur. Med. v. 19, and in Hyginus. fab. 25.

272. Diod. Sic. iv. 55. 5, calls Kreusa’s brother Hippotes.

273. The reading Κ ... ΩΝ in Millin’s publication, followed also by Conze in the Vorlegeblätter and by Baumeister, is incorrect as Jahn (vid. cat. no. 810, note) expressly stated, and as is plainly proved by a glance at the original. Hence the useless conjectures that have been made to fill up the space between the first and last letters. There is absolutely no trace of the Κ, but there are faint remains of letters preceding ΩΝ, and the correct reading is without question, ΚΡΕ]ΩΝ.

274. Cf. p. 152, and note 3.

275. This inscription, which is very distinct, does not appear in Conze’s publication. All the inscriptions occurring on the palace are painted in white. All others are incised.

276. This moment is shown on another vase (vid. fig. 24), and so, too, on the sarcophagi Kreusa is always represented in the moment of falling or springing from the κλίνη.

277. In spite of this, Vogel, p. 149, asks, Warum zeigt uns der Vasenmaler den Kreon nicht in dem Augenblicke, wo er seine Tochter von den unheilvollen Brautgeschenken der Medeia befreien will, sondern in dem, wo er überwältigt von dem Unglücke das Scepter seinen Händen entfallen lässt und starr und seiner selbst nicht mehr mächtig seine Blicke auf die herbeieilende Merope lenkt? i. e. why did the vase painter not paint another scene instead of the one he did?

278. Cf. note 7, p. 145. On fragment no. 197, Robert, op. cit., the arms of Kreon are incorrectly restored, and his hands are represented as clasped. On all the reliefs Kreon is turned towards Kreusa and not away, as on the vase. I refuse, however, to believe with Jahn and others that Kreon is staring at Merope. He sees nothing and nobody.

279. Apollod. I. 9. 3.

280. Soph. Oed. Rex, v. 775, the wife of Πόλυβος Κορίνθιος.

281. Supposing the word to be a pure invention of the painter, there are still in Euripides suggestions of the name if one were seeking such for the figure. In v. 404, Medeia declares she ‘will not be a laughing-stock to the race of Sisyphos and Jason’s new alliances’; and in v. 1381, γη δε τηδε Σισύφου, the former queens would be suggested with the name Merope. It is but natural that the vase painter took the name thus suggested by Euripides.

282. P. 149.

283. Suidas refers to a Medeia by Neophron. Ennius’ Medea was, according to Cicero, De Fin. 1. 2. 4, a literal translation from Euripides. The Medea exul by the same poet has generally been held to be a version of Euripides’ Aigeus.

284. Hermes, vol. 31, p. 567 note.

285. Bild und Lied, p. 42.

286. Zeichnungen von Sandro Botticelli zu Dantes Goettlicher Komoedie nach den Originalen im König. Kupferstichkabinet zu Berlin, von Dr. F. Lippmann.

287. In canto iii, Charon is an old man; Botticelli drew him as the devil. In the second plate to this same canto the souls are swimming out to Charon’s boat, a fact which Dante does not mention. The illustration to canto xx has only two persons identical with those of the poet, and in Purgatorio iii the souls on the shore and in the boat are additions of the artist.

288. Cf. Dilthey in Annali d. Inst. 1876, p. 294, and pl. 35 in Mon. d. Inst. x.

289. Vid. Klein’s Euphronios, p. 89, and Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Her. Fur. vol. ii, ed. 1, p. 214.

290. Cf. fig. 24, where the female figure on the left is none other than a nurse.

291. Bild und Lied, p. 38.

292. Cf. figs. 24 and 25 and Baumeister’s Denkmäler, i. p. 142.

293. It will be observed that the writer does not share the view of Bethe, Prolegomena zur Geschichte des Theaters im Altertum, p. 142 ff., that the Flugmaschine was not in use in the Greek theatre before 425 B.C. Robert, Hermes, vol. 31, p. 530–577, has conclusively shown the incorrectness of Bethe’s arguments, and not only proved the use of the Flugmaschine for the Medeia, 431 B.C., but also for a much earlier date. Bethe’s remark, Demnach ist für die erste Aufführung der Medea im Jahre 431 ihr Erscheinen in der Höhe, also auch die Anwendung der Flugmaschine, nicht möglich (p. 146), is based upon a false conception of the resources at hand in that period of Athenian architectural activity.

294. It has already been pointed out above, p. 159, that Medeia entered the palace to slay the boys, and that they might or might not have been alone. At any rate it was not allowable to represent them in art without some older companion. Robert’s remark, Bild und Lied, p. 39, Den Kindern die bereits bei der Mutter angelangt sind, muss aber jetzt noch ein anderer Begleiter zugestellt werden, is inexplicable. Where had the children gone to reach their mother? Was it not just the reverse, viz. that the mother had gone to them?

295. iv. 54. 7.

296. One must remember that Diodorus gathered his excerpts together at least 300 years after the date of our vase, during all of which time the mythographers had been busy helping to straighten out the family affairs that the tragedians of the fifth century had treated imperfectly!

297. As a matter of fact this reference, although brought in under another φασί than the first remark, where three sons are named, τοὺς μὲν πρεσβυτάτους δίο διδύμους Θετταλόν τε καὶ Ἀλκιμένην, τὸν δὲ τρίτον πολυνεώτερον τούτων Τίσανδρον, iv. 54. 1, seems to me to speak of a common origin, and I hold both as coming from the same authority, under whose influence our vase painter certainly never stood.

298. Eur. Orest. v. 791.

299. As in the Medeia, nothing is said to indicate how the chariot was drawn. It is only from the monuments and later literary references (vid. Argum. to the Medeia and schol. on v. 1320) that one learns of the dragons; or is the utterance of Jason, vs. 1297 f., ἢ πτηνὸν ἆραι σῶμ’ ες αἰθέρος βάθος | εἰ μὴ τυράννων δώμασιν δώσειν δίκην | πέποιθ’, an intimation of the strange escape of the sorceress? How was Lyssa’s chariot drawn? Why not also by dragons?

300. Cf. fig. 26, where the figure that stands beside the dragons has been identified as Οἶστρος or Λύσσα. That the latter is the child of night harmonizes well with the night escape indicated by Selene and the stars on this vase.

301. On a vase of Assteas, vid. p. 179 below, which shows Herakles in the act of murdering his sons, the painter calls the personification of Lyssa, mania.

302. Mention should be made here of the Parian inscription, which gives us the curious information that there was a society of hetairai established under the patronage of the goddess Οἰστρώ; cf. Pernice, Athen. Mitth. 1893, p. 16. 2, and Maass, ibid. p. 25 f. There is, of course, a wide distinction between the personification and the cult use of οἶστρος, but it is worth while to point out that Eur. Hipp. vs. 1300 ff., gives the same notion that Maass suggests and supports by a quotation from Paullus Silentiarius (Anth. Plan. v. 234), where οἰστροφόρου Παφίης occurs. Artemis, speaking to Theseus of Hippolytos’ death and its cause, says, ἀλλ’ ἐς τόδ’ ἦλθον, παιδὸς ἐκδεῖξαι φρένα | τοῦ σοῦ δικαίαν, ὁς ὑπ’ εὐκλείας θάνῃ | καὶ σῦς γυναικὸς οἶστρον, ἢ τρόπον τινὰ | γενναιότητα, where we may suppose Euripides to have thought of Phaidra as possessed with οἶστρος, which means τῆς ἐχθίστης θεῶν (v. 1301), i.e. τῆς Κύπριδος (v. 1304).

303. Cf. Aisch. Pers. vs. 681–842, where the εἴδωλον of Dareios is one of the dramatis personae. Also Eur. Hek., where the prologue is spoken by the εἴδωλον of Polydoros.

304. Dilthey, Arch. 219, 1875, p. 71, followed also by Vogel, Scen. eur. Trag. p. 151. How do these scholars account for the appearance of Megara and her sons upon the ‘under-world’ vases where Herakles is also represented in his last labour of capturing Kerberos? This latter must have been finished and Herakles must have returned to the upper world before Megara and the boys could be thought of as in fact in the under-world.

305. Bild und Lied, p. 39 f.

306. P. 156 above.

307. Cp. among other places in the Medeia, vs. 133, 328, 405, 475 ff., 536 ff., 550, 1330.

308. Cf. the Dareios vase in Naples, also found in Canosa; pub. Baumeister’s Denkmäler, i. no. 449; also the costume of the judges on the so-called ‘under-world’ vases, pub. Wiener Vorlegeblätter, ser. E. 1–3.

309. Apoll. Rhod. 1. 122 and 341 ff.; Hyg. fab. 14; Diod. Sic. iv. 53. 4.

310. Apoll. Rhod. 1. 108 ff.; Apollod. 1. 9. 16; Hyg. fab. 14.

311. Apoll. Rhod. 1. 146 ff.; Paus., 1. 18. 1, relates that in the temple of the Dioskouroi in Athens, known also as the Anakeion, Mikon painted events from the Argonautic expedition.

312. Fig. 24. Heydemann, cat. Mus. Santangelo, no. 526. Pub. in Raoul-Rochette’s Choiseaux de Peintures, p. 263. Discussed by Jahn, Arch. Ztg. 1867, p. 59, and referred to by Vogel, Scen. eur. Trag. p. 151.

313. Fig. 25; pub. Raoul-Rochette, Choiseaux de Peintures, p. 277. Described by Jahn, Arch. Ztg. 1867, p. 60; cf. Vogel, op. cit. p. 79.

314. Fig. 26. Heydemann, no. 3221, A. Cf. Arch. Ztg. 1867, p. 62 and pl. 224. 1.

315. The Theban Cycle was handled in the Θηβαΐς and the Οἰδιπόδεια, from which the tragedians probably drew their material. For the subject in the fifth century B.C. vid. Benndorfs Heroon von Gjölbaschi, p. 187 ff. and pl. 24. A1–A5. Kapaneus’ catastrophe in attempting to storm the walls was often shown. Cf. Wiener Vorlegeblätter, 1889, pl. 11, nos. 13, 14, 16, 17. The death of Amphiaraos was another popular story. Cf. Wiener Vorlegeblätter, 1889, pl. 11. 8. 15. There are many interesting monuments which represent the conference of the chiefs before the assault. Cf. especially the famous Etruscan gem with inscriptions naming Polyneikes, Amphiaraos, Adrastos, Tydeus, and Parthenopaios; pub. Wiener Vorlegeblätter, 1889, pl. 11. 5; Baumeister, Denkmäler, iii. no. 1839, no. 369 in Bilderheft. An Etruscan mirror, Gerhard, Etruskische Spiegel, ii. pl. 178, gives Adrastos, Amphiaraos, and Tydeus.

316. Brit. Mus., vase cat. vol. iv. G 104. Pub. ibid. pl. 16. Cf. Class. Review, 1894, p. 325.

317. The fratricide, so common on the Etruscan urns, is rare on Greek monuments. (1) The group was on the Kypselos Chest (Paus. 5. 19, 6). (2) Pythagoras worked the brothers in marble (vid. Overbeck, Schriftquellen, no. 501). (3) One group on the Heroön from Gjölbaschi, cf. Benndorf, op. cit. pl. 24. A. 3. There are thirty urns representing the scene: vid. Körte, I rilievi delle urne etrusche, ii. pl. 8–20, and 36, and supplement. p. 261 ff. Cf. further Overbeck’s Bildwerke, pl. 5 and 6. An Etruscan mirror, which shows a composition remarkably like that in the inside of the Penthesileia kylix (Munich, no. 370, pub. Overbeck, Bildwerke, pl. 17. 3), and must be from a fifth century pattern, is perhaps the oldest of the extant representations. Vid. Gerhard, Etruskische Spiegel, v. pl. 95.

318. Brit. Mus., cat. iv. G 1051; pub. Wiener Vorlegeblätter, 1889, pl. 9. 13; Robert, Homerische Becher, p. 59; first correctly interpreted by Murray, Class. Rev. 1888, p. 328.


  1. P. xx, changed “Scenen euripideisher Tragödien in griechischen Vasengemälden” to “Scenen euripideischer Tragödien in griechischen Vasengemälden”.
  2. P. 128, changed “In her left close by her side” to “In her left hand close by her side”.
  3. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
  4. Archaic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings retained as printed.
  5. Footnotes were re-indexed using numbers and collected together at the end of the last chapter.