ElAnt v2n1 - The Amasis Painter: erotica, scatologica, and inscriptions
THE AMASIS PAINTER: EROTICA, SCATOLOGICA AND INSCRIPTIONS
Martin F. Kilmer and Robert Develin
Department of Classical Studies, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5, Canada. e-mail:MFKILMER@UOTTAWA.BITNET
(This paper is one of a series written in the context of a long-term project undertaken by the two authors named. In each case, the first-named author is the one most implicated in the article in question.)
In this article I describe a number of vases on which the Amasis Painter has included subject-matter outside his usual repertory, some on which he has included inscriptions beyond the maker- signature, and a very few on which these two rarities combine. These vases, each anomalous in at least one way in the painter's work, are also in all cases unusual in the known work of the potter Amasis. The combinations of unusual subject matter, extensive inscription, and uncommon vase shapes, point to a special relationship between the potter Amasis and the Amasis Painter.
When thinking of the Amasis Painter, one tends to think first of his best-known and most publicised pieces: the neck amphora in Paris with a relaxed Dionysos receiving two maenads and their offerings; and, on its obverse, the much more sombre scene of Athena face to face with her uncle Poseidon. Or the belly amphora in Wurzburg with its satyrs at vintage: dotted hairy bodies, huge thick humped necks, penises of remarkable length and thickness whether flaccid or erect. This is a painter who loves detail: the woven basket, the spouted trestle-table, the supports for the vines and the interwoven vine-branches; the 3-D grape clusters; the varied types and sizes of utensils for collecting, transferring, decanting, and eventually drinking. The frieze above shows the painter's connection with a miniaturist tradition: five ithyphallic satyrs (of a slender variety quite different from those in the main scene) and four decorously dressed but wildly posturing maenads (1) dance in the presence of Dionysos, and in his honour. Dionysos is hardly more than sketched: we see his camp-stool and his keras as identifying features.(2).
In investigating the inscriptions left to us by the Amasis Painter, I have been led into another world, one which perhaps better justifies Boardman's capsule definition of the painter's 'delicate style and wit'.(J. Boardman, Athenian Black Figure Vases [London: 1974], p. 54.) I was struck first by the small number of his inscriptions (on only 11 out of some 132 attributed vases - H. Immerwahr, Attic Script: a survey [Oxford: 1990], p. 36), and particularly the rarity of inscriptions within the image-field. It is on these that this paper focuses.
Thrice the painter includes the maker-signature in the field on olpai (one round-mouthed, in London, with the decapitation of Medusa;(3) two trefoil-mouthed, one with Herakles, Athena, Hermes, and Poseidon [a singular variant of the apotheosis of Herakles?];(4) the other with a warrior's return [with dog]);(5) once on an eye-cup; thrice on neck-amphorae. On two of the neck-amphorae there are other inscriptions; and we shall turn first to these.
Best known is the Paris neck-amphora.(6) On the principal side are Athena (her head, and the inscription which most probably accompanied it, now missing) and Poseidon facing her, a very slender trident held vertical in his right hand between them. To our right of Poseidon, written orthograde as though expressed somehow out of the back of his head, is the word POSEIDON. The maker-signature (AMASISv MEPOIESEN) is written to our left of the shaft of the trident, orthograde, top-to-bottom. On the reverse, with Dionysos and maenads, we see DIONUSOS above the god's head and, starting just to our right of his head, AMASISvv MEPOIESEN.
The maker-signature is unexceptionable, and here takes the painter's preferred form, with 'ME', on both sides of the vase.
The second neck-amphora, one of two in Boston,(7) is somewhat more complex both in its figural scenes and in its inscriptions although it is in a relatively fragmentary state. On the principal side we have Athena carrying her shield with a particularly ferocious gorgoneion, in her right hand a spear (its point is missing; but it is the obvious weapon) whose shaft is the same sort of slender line as Poseidon's trident of the previous amphora. A male figure stands facing her. His head and the hem of his garment with his lower legs and feet are all that is preserved of him, but on the analogy of the Cabinet des Médailles amphora it seems highly probably that this was Poseidon. The upper part of this side is mostly missing, taking with it, I imagine, the names of these two divinities. But in the centre of the space between them there was written, on two lines, [AMA]SIS [M?]EPOIESEN.
The reverse of this vase has two warriors: to the right, one in Corinthian helmet with 'two half-crests',(Bothmer, Amasis , p. 130) carrying a Boiotian shield with confronting rams; the second moving forward to our left, holding a spear in his right hand and in his left, by its scabbard, a sword with its suspension-strap hanging. Bothmer ( Amasis , p. 132) rightly points out that this is unlikely to be Achilles in pursuit of Hektor, as Mrs Karouzou had suggested ( The Amasis Painter [Oxford: 1956], p. 21), and adopts instead Beazley's 'warriors setting out' ( Black-Figure , ad loc) though without explaining. I would side with Beazley and Bothmer. Neither warrior is in a belligerent pose - in fact neither could use a weapon without substantial change in position. Hektor - if the shieldless warrior were Hektor - ought to have his baldric over his shoulder. If he held no spear, and had his right hand at the hilt of his sword, we might take this as the mid-point of their duel. But he simply holds the sword in its scabbard, making no attempt to draw it. These are surely best taken as companions rather than as combatants or even potential combatants.
With many other black-figure painters of the period, the final point would be the clincher: the warriors' names are not included. If the obverse of the vase were more complete, with Athena's and Poseidon's names, we could give this point more weight. As it is, the iconography must remain the strongest argument.
Between the two warriors, orthograde and curving comfortably within the separating space, we find once more the maker- signature AMASISMEPOIESEN, this time without the substantial space which the painter often uses to divide his words.
There are two further figures on this vase: under each handle is a striding Dionysos looking back over his shoulder, holding a laden grape vine in one hand. One figure holds a spray of ivy; the second may have been similarly equipped, but this portion is now lost. This is a deviation from the more common decoration of the handle space with complex volutes. The connection of Dionysos to the divinities on the obverse is more obvious than is any relationship to the unnamed warriors; but it would be hazardous to explain the presence of Dionysos here by anything more specific than the painter's choice.
The second Boston amphora is far more complex in scene and in inscription than the previous two.(8) The obverse shows the struggle for the tripod, with Hermes standing between a labouring Apollo and a Herakles who looks comfortably relaxed. The name of each is written above the head (Herakles missing his first two or three letters - heta at this period is still common, but not always added); and to our left, starting above the palmette between volutes, we see once more AMAS[I]S v. MEPOIESEN. On the reverse, FOINI+S (Phoinix) watches A+ILEUS (Achilleus) accept a spear and a helmet with its crest mounted on a serpent from QETIS (Thetis), who still holds a large round shield whose device is a lion attacking a stag; and a javelin (?). This time the second maker-signature is not added; and the decoration below the handles is an atypical lotus bud flanked by volutes joined by a vertical stem with palmette.
The Amasis Painter has left us only one identified tripod-pyxis, which was discovered in 1972 during excavation of the Aphaia temple at Aigina. Preliminary publication of the piece by Martha Ohly-Dumm (9) was to be followed by fuller publication in Archäologischer Anzeiger. Leg A, in 4 fragments (two joining), presents Herakles (his name is not preserved) flanked by Athena (her name, in the genitive, orthograde behind her: [AQE]NAIAS). Herakles is in combat against KUKNOS (Kyknos), with ARES (Ares) coming to Kyknos' aid (the names of each written orthograde, descending to the right, between the legs). Zeus stands between the combatants: we see his left hand grasping Kyknos' spear-arm at the wrist, and the back of his head (he looks towards Herakles), along which his name is written orthograde: IEUS. At the right end of this leg of the tripod there is a verse inscription, to which we shall return.
Leg B shows KASTOR (Kastor) with Corinthian helmet, spear, and javelin), standing most probably on the far side of a horse. Behind him stands his father TUNDAREO (Tyndareus, perhaps in the genitive), with one of the horse's hind legs before him. The other figures are missing, but we should probably be not too far wrong to think of Exekias' Vatican amphora with the return of Kastor as a loose parallel.(10)
Leg C has the most curious scene: our only surviving scene of homoerotic sex from the hand of this painter (though we shall see courting and tandem masturbation). To our left, a boy or youth stands looking towards the goings-on in the centre of the leg. He rests a javelin against his shoulder and holds an aryballos by its strap. The sigma to his right may be the last letter of the word KALOS. Next to our right, a pair of males in position for interfemoral copulation. The one to our left has his right hand up towards his partner's chin, while his left reaches around (impossibly far, and ignoring the need for an extra joint in the forearm) to manipulate his penis, which appears to be erect. This is a variant of Beazley's 'g' (gamma) type.
Little remains of the second couple, but enough to get the general idea: the better-preserved male, a dog beside him, holds a hare (not, pace Bothmer [ Amasis , p. 200] a stag) to offer to his friend: we can still see one heel of this figure and - just to the right of the kappa in KALO[S - a bit of leg. This is Beazley's 'b' (beta) type, the offering of a gift to the beloved (the cockerel is somewhat more frequent than the hare, at least in the later versions). There is an inscription between these two, which Martin Robertson takes to be the name [ANQE]MION (Anthemion) with KALOS (the three-dot word-separator is the best-preserved part of the first word), Ohly-Dumm to be E MEN KALOS 'Oh, how beautiful', taking the two suggested E's as etas.(11) The letter after the probable mu preserves only a down- stroke, making iota (I) more probable than E; and there does appear to be space for two letters between the remains of M and N. E, in Attic script of this period, can stand for epsilon, eta, and dipthongs of either of these letters with iota (later orthography would make these ei and ˙). A name would, of course, be more interesting than an anonymous and rather banal exclamation; but wishful thinking makes for questionable scholarship. (For the name Anthemion, see I. Kirchner, Prosopographia Attica [Berlin 1901-3], 935-42.) Between the second and third couples are the letters SEN, which are generally taken as the last letters of the 'signature' verb. Ohly-Dumm (in Bothmer, Amasis , p. 237) and Immerwahr ( Script , pp. 36-37) take this as the maker- signature, in parallel with all the other complete or near-complete 'signatures' from the hand of the painter. These letters, of course, work equally well as the final letters of EGRAFSEN - the standard spelling of the 'painter' signature in Attika at this period - making the incompleteness of the inscription, and the absence of the personal name, that much the more frustrating.(12)
The third couple preserves, of the small figure, only the lower legs; of the larger, the legs almost to the height of the near buttock. Ohly-Dumm suggests that this is Beazley's type 'a' (alpha), the courting man's hands in the 'up and down' positions. This accords with the distance between the two; but without the missing fragment we certainly cannot exclude a variant of type 'b'. At the far right is probably another onlooker, this time without the javelin and strigil.
The fragmentary word between the last two courting figures is completed by Ohly-Dumm as [AGRO] FASISTOS (Aprophasistos): she takes it as a personal name which bears the meaning 'nothing loth' - thus a commentary on the figure to which it attaches. It could also - and perhaps better - be either a labelling adjective, or an adverbial form, 'willingly', as though spoken by the boy (since at this time O may stand for omega, as well as for omikron and the omikron-upsilon diphthong).(13)
We may now return to the long inscription on Leg A: [H]ELIOS OIDEN KAI EGO MHONOS (interpunct) AUTOS PAIDA KALON, which Immerwahr ( Script , 36.152) translates 'The Sun and likewise I alone know a handsome boy'.(14) The connection between this skolion and this leg's mythological scene seems rather indirect: Helios, in Greek mythology, 'sees all, knows all, tells all' - the most famous case in point being his informing on Ares' amorous success with Aphrodite. Kyknos, as Ares' son, is also one of the results of 'fair-crowned Aphrodite' (though not her son). But the skolion does connect very naturally in theme with the scene of courting and copulation. The most awkward aspect of this connection is that the skolion is on the end of Leg A farthest from the scenes of love. My provisional suggestion would be that the skolion was not part of the painter's original plan for the tripod; that although thematically it goes best with the courting scene, his composition there left no room for it - and he simply filled it in where space allowed. This suggestion is strengthened by the peculiarities of placement and alignment of the verses: ELIOS written horizontally (in fact with a slight up- slope), its final sigma taking us around the corner to the vertical placement of the following words; the interpunct used apparently as a verse-end indicator; PAIDA KAL on a single line, with the ending ON slipped in 'below', retrograde. All of this looks like make-shift, though it is make-shift by a master. The pyxis was found in the Aphaia sanctuary. It is in so many ways atypical of Amasis, potter, and the Amasis painter, that it seems highly probable it was made specifically for dedication. In this case, the skolion might have been added at the express request of the purchaser, and after the figural scenes had been completed.
Our next example is again a shape otherwise unexampled in the attributed work of Amasis the potter and the Amasis Painter, a cup-skyphos now in the Louvre (the attribution is Beazley's).(15) Below the handles there is at one side a naked youth, kneeling on one knee, with a hunting cat (16) in his hands; at the other (A/B) a naked bearded man seated on a camp-stool, with a large hen on his lap.
The principal scenes on both sides of the cup are courting scenes. In the centre on each side a youth courts a woman: on A, she holds up a flower in her right hand, while in her left she holds a dot-fillet or a necklace. She is naked apart from a loop earring (Bothmer sees a necklace) and two double bracelets; and her hair is bound up. The man addressing her holds a fillet in his right hand; his left is up in a conversational position. The fillet may be intended as a gift, though it is not held in a position of offering.(17) On B, the woman again holds necklace or fillet and a blossom; she wears also a necklace with pendants, large loop earrings, and bracelets; but her hair hangs down below her fillet, its end bound up in a knot. Her bearded lover offers a hen.
On both sides the field is filled with male homoerotic pairs, the erastai offering animal gifts: on A a cockerel and a dead hare; on B a fair-sized stag and a small water-bird (Bothmer suggests a cygnet).( Amasis , p. 200) All four eromenoi hold javelins; three additionally hold aryballoi. Location in the palaistra is suggested by the paraphernalia; but the presence of the women makes it improbable that this is meant as a palaistra - at least at Athens. The precise social occasion must be left unclear for lack of evidence; but the subject, courting of ordinary mortals, known only in one other work by the Amasis Painter - the tripod-pyxis we have just examined - occurs here for the second time on a shape so far unique in the Amasis Painter's oeuvre and in that of the potter Amasis.
Our last example, though not unique for vessel shape in the potter Amasis' work (it is a variant of the new Type A, of which he has also several surviving examples of more canonical form), is most unusual in subject matter. This cup, in Boston,(18) has now been published thrice with serious discussion, and despite its remarkable scenes has entered more or less into the main-stream of discussion of Greek painted pottery.(19)
On the A side there is a male eye-siren, its face painted red, but its other exposed flesh black, with the heavy incision characteristic of the Amasis Painter's male figures. Below each of the handles - and both of them facing towards the eye-siren, which is one of the better reasons for considering this the A side - there is a dog. One squats; the other is more hunched over. Both are shown defecating: in itself extremely rare for animals in Attic painted pottery to my knowledge,(20) but made all the more unusual by the fact that both have diarrhoea, their stools shown in added red.
The B side is the more remarkable of the two. Here two men (their beards shown them to be adults; their paunches suggest middle age) are shown masturbating. Each wears around his neck a broad red garland with white bordering dots. The man to our left reclines on the ground. He wears a red fillet in his hair, and has a black beard. His penis is done in added red so that it stands out against his black thigh, and he uses his left hand (thumb inward) to stroke his phallos.
The second man leans against a folded pillow (the dog's tail seems to brush against it). His beard is red, his hair arranged in two rows of incised curls. He reaches his right hand around his right thigh and grasps his penis, foreskin retracted, the glans and foreskin in added red, the folds of the foreskin incised. With his left hand he makes a gesture variously identified as one of greeting or of conversation.
Bothmer ( Amasis , p. 222, and see chart p. 239 for parallels mentioned p. 222) places this cup in the Amasis Painter's Late period, which he dates at 530-515 B.C. He accepts Beazley's identification of a strong element of parody in our cup, which is necessarily later than the famous cup by Exekias in Munich which, in the view of these two scholars, is the first cup of Type A and also the first example of the Attic standard Eye-Cup (Munich 2044: Beazley, Black-Figure , 146.20, 686; id., Paralipomena , 60; Carpenter, Addenda , 41).
What conclusions may we draw from this disparate collection? First, that inscriptions, rare in the Amasis Painter's work, are most frequently found on works which are also unusual in their potter-work: unusual variants of common types (amphorae of 'special shape') or shapes so far unique in the painter's work (cup-skyphos and tripod-pyxis). Scenes with overt erotic content (particularly if we except the perennially excited satyrs, who in the Amasis Painter's work are often reserved in a way most uncharacteristic of this time) (21) are so far found in the three works discussed here, the cup-skyphos, the Boston Type A cup, and the tripod-pyxis - all of which are unique for shape as well as for decoration in the attributed works of the Amasis Painter and of the potter Amasis.(22) The tripod-pyxis combines an overtly erotic scene with extensive and complex inscriptions which are also unique to this one vase in the painter's known oeuvre of some 132 works. The tripod-pyxis provides the Amasis Painter's only inscriptions other than the maker-signatures and a few names of gods and a few heroes (Herakles, Achilles, Phoinix, Kyknos); the only time the word KALOS appears (perhaps twice at that); the only example of a possible kalos-name; the only examples of possible name(s?) of living individuals other than the potter; the only possible example of a word spoken by a participant; the only metrical inscription.
The number of 'firsts' and of 'onlies' in these groupings must strike us most forcefully. Clearly the painter's use of uncommon shapes and uncommon variants for scenes in which he chose to add inscriptions was expected to tell something; and his choice of uncommon shapes (or, at any rate, of shapes rare or otherwise unrepresented in his work) for human erotica must also be seen as significant. It is tempting indeed to see in this marriage of theme or of inscription (and once, most tellingly, of both) to uncommon shape a collaboration between potter and painter so close that identity of the two seems the simplest answer. And so it would be (with the parallels of Exekias, Nearchos, and probably Sophilos) had we not the extraordinarily successful collaboration of Kleitias and Ergotimos, painter and potter, who made and decorated what is almost certainly the earliest Attic ceramic volute krater,(23) the Francois Vase; or of Makron and his potter Hieron (though the quality of Makron's preserved work covers a very wide range).
The materials examined in this paper seem to me to add substantially to the discussion of the identity of the Amasis Painter; they cannot pretend to resolve it.
1. Here, the female participants perhaps should be called nymphs, as is argued by G.M. Hedreen in Silens in Attic Black-figure Vase-painting (Ann Arbor 1992), 9, 71-2, 95 n. 54. In the A scene, where the women carry animals they have evidently captured, the name of maenad is most assuredly correct: these are mortal women lured or drawn into the worship of Dionysos and behaving as Eurypides tells us such women do. I am less convinced than Hedreen appears to be of the necessity of refering to even the majority of the 'satyrs' I am accustomed to seeing on Attic vases as 'silens': the variety of silen depicted by Kleitias on the François Vase and named as such (see notes 21 and 23) has equine hindquarters and hoofs rather than human feet. Nomenclature may have been more elastic than the tidiest mind would prefer. 2. Wurzburg 265: J.D. Beazley, Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painters (Oxford 1956) 152.30, 687; id., Paralipomena (Oxford 1971) 63; id., The Development of Attic Black-Figure 2nd ed. [edited, with substantial additions and improvements especially to the illustrations, by Dietrich von Bothmer and Mary B. Moore; (Berkeley and Los Angeles/London 1986)] pl. 54.2, 55.2; T.H. Carpenter, Beazley Addenda (Oxford 1989) 44. 3. BM B471: Beazley, Black-Figure 153.32; Carpenter, Addenda 44; D. von Bothmer, The Amasis Painter and his World (Malibu 1985) no. 31; pls. pp. 65, 150-1; Immerwahr, Script 37.158. 4. Paris F30 (MNB 2056): Beazley, Black-Figure 152.29; Carpenter, Addenda 44; Bothmer, Amasis no. 28, pls. pp. 140- 2; Immerwahr, Script 37.154. 5. Wurzburg L 332 (HA 531): Beazley, Black-Figure 152-3.30; Carpenter, Addenda 44; Bothmer, Amasis no. 28, pls. pp. 143- 4; Immerwahr, Script 155. 6. Cabinet des Médailles 222: Beazley, Black-Figure 152.25, 687; id., Paralipomena. 63; Carpenter, Addenda 43; Immerwahr, Script 37.157. 7. MFA 01.8026: Beazley, Black-Figure 152.26, 687; id., Paralipomena. 63; Carpenter, Addenda 44; Bothmer, Amasis 24, pls. pp. 130-33; Immerwahr, Script 37.159. 8. MFA 01.8027: Beazley, Black-Figure 152.27; id., Para.lipomena 63.27; Bothmer, Amasis no. 25, pls. pp. 134-7; Carpenter, Addenda 44; Immerwahr, Script 37.160, figs. 37-8. 9. Appendix 4 to Bothmer, Amasis , 236-8. See also Immerwahr, Script 36.152. 10. 344: Beazley, Black-Figure 145.13, 686; id., Development 2nd ed., pll. 64-6; id., Paralipomena 60; Carpenter, Addenda 40. 11. Ohly-Dumm ad loc. (see note 9), citing Robertson. 12. To the incomplete signatures we must also add the fragment of a panel amphora (type B?) in New York, 1985.11.2, where only the final two letters (EN) of the verb are preserved. Bothmer (Amasis no. 17; see also Immerwahr, Script 37.156) takes this as the maker-signature, the personal name 'AMASIS' (of which nothing remains) written 'below' the verb as on the two olpai Paris F30 (MNB 2056: Bothmer, Amasis no. 27) and Wurzburg L.332 (HA 531; Bothmer, Amasis no. 28). See Bothmer, Amasis 108 no. 17. The use of the spear-shaft as a guide-line for the writing is certainly close to the olpai; but I would feel more secure of the reading were a little more of the inscription preserved. It is again not inconceivable that there was here an EGRAFSEN ('egraphsen') 'signature'. 13. Dr Robert Develin (pers. comm.) fills out the summary information on this name given by Ohly-Dumm (in Bothmer, Amasis 237) citing Kirchner, Prosopographia 1573. "The name is 'known' from the casualty list most recently (pending IG i.3 2) in The Athenian Agora XVII: Inscriptions. The Funerary Monuments (Princeton 1974), no. 23 col. I l. 28. The editor, Bradeen, says for lines 23-8 he must rely on the early readings of Koumanoudes and Lolling, as the stone has severely deteriorated; he underlines what cannot now be read, hence ['A] GROFASISTOS. The date is the end of 409 B.C." It seems hazardous to take a reading as uncertain as this as the basis for restoration of a similarly incomplete inscription more than a century earlier. 14. This is somewhat different from either variant offered by Ohly-Dumm (in Bothmer, Amasis 238), taking AUTOS as aujtw'"; but the differences between the three versions do not appear significantly to affect the point being made by the painter's inclusion of the verses. To Immerwahr's version, Robert Develin adds 'when I see one' (supplement from the apparent context, not from the preserved words). Ohly-Dumm suggests that the lines are the end of one major asclepiad and the beginning of the next; Immerwahr apparently accepts this, adding that in this case it 'may be an excerpt'. 15. A 479 (MNB 1746); Beazley, Black-Figure 156.80; Bothmer, Amasis no. 54, pls. dpp. 201-3; Carpenter, Addenda 46. 16. Bothmer, Amasis 200 says a pantheress; its small size would then make it a very young one if it is intended as drawn to scale. For various felines in Greek painted pottery, see A. Ashmead, 'Greek Cats', Expedition, 20 (1978), 38-47; for their probable use as love-gifts in homoerotic scenes, G. Koch- Harnack, Knabenliebe und Tiergeschenke (Berlin 1983). Ashmead points out (pers. comm., Dec. 1992) that this is the only certain case of the hunting cat as love-gift. 17. Bothmer, Amasis 200 suggests that the hen held by the seated man under the handle may be her 'prize'. This would certainly not be a typical arrangement; but it ought not to be rejected without consideration. 18. MFA 10.651; Beazley, Black-Figure 157.56; Bothmer, Amasis pl. p. 66 and 221-2 pll; Carpenter, Addenda 46. See also M. True, CVA Boston (1978) 43-4, pls. 100.5, 101; E. T. Vermeule 'Some Erotica in Boston' Antike Kunst,, 12 (1969) 9- 15, pl. 7. 19. Illustration of this vase in the second edition of Beazley's Development, where it appears as pl. 59.1-2, would I think particularly have pleased Beazley. 20. A. Boeghold (pers. comm. Dec. 1992) tells me of a black- figure Droop cup in Athens (CC 821) showing a defecating dog under handle B-A (D. Callipolitis-Feytmans, CVA Athens iii  pl. 40.3, from Tanagra, not attributed. There is no mention of the defecation in the text. The dog squats, right front paw on the ground, the other raised under its chin. No date offered.). A red-figure skyphos in Tampa (FL), from the collection of J.V. Noble, unattributed, (dated ca. 470 B.C.) shows on one side an acrobat about to do a flip off a steeply inclined board. He carries two shields, the nearer adorned with a squatting, defecating dog, again apparently with diarrhoea. See J. Neils, ed., Goddess and Polis (Hanover, NH and Princeton 1992), catalogue no. 47 ills pp. 96, 176. Related to these is the device on Menelaos' shield on Exekias' Philadelphia amphora (3442; Beazley, Black-Figure 145.14; id., Paralipomena 60; id., Development2 pl. 69.1; Bothmer, Amasis 31.19; Carpenter, Addenda 40), on which the dog seems to tear at a piece of meat. The point seems clear in Exekias' shield device: dogs (like crows and ravens) were expected to eat the bodies of those abandoned on the field of battle; the shield device is surely intended to discourage an enemy by promising him this ignominious end. Literary references to this, from Homer through the Attic tragedians, are legion. The dog with diarrhoea as shield device may be prophesying the next stage: corpses are unhealthy food for dogs. I do not, however, see any clear links between these dogs and the Amasis Painter's, unless his dogs' position below the handles is meant to parody the heroic battles for fallen comrades which fill the handle zones on Exekias' Munich cup. Beazley (Development2 56-7) says of the ribald and scatological element here that it 'almost makes one fancy that the artist is parodying the new type of cup'. Bothmer, Amasis 222, recounts Beazley's remark on first seeing the piece: "Amasis' answer to Exekias." Here, as so often, it would be extremely useful if we could know how one pottery painter saw the works of another, and how often what we see as clear reminiscence is really that, rather than something more generic. 21. The clearest exception to this - unfortunately sadly fragmentary, so that we cannot see whether the satyr to left is ithyphallic - is the Samos fragment from a Type A panel-amphora: Samos K 898, from Samos; Beazley, Black-Figure 151.18; Add 42; Bothmer (1985) 109, fig. 67, 128. There is a very good larger print of this, with an additional fragment, at Dev pl. 56.2. Here one satyr (far left) has clearly lifted his naked partner (her skin reserved rather than white), and prepares to kiss her. This pair has a close precedent in a fragmentary silen-maenad (- nymph?) couple on the François Vase (see note 1), though there the 'satyrs' are labelled SILENOI (Silenoi): for illustrations, see Beazley, Development 2nd ed., pl. 25.4; Boardman, Black Figure 46.7. The Amasis Painter's second satyr's right arm circles his willing partner; her left arm apparently encircles his neck to holds his right hand at her breast. In her right hand she holds a small kantharos. The satyr's penis is long, the glans exposed, though the penis hangs rather than projecting. It should be compared with those of the satyrs at vintage in Wurzburg (see note 2). Other than this, even when they are ithyphallic, the Amasis Painter's satyrs rarely have contact - and particularly not overt sexual contact - with their female partners. The design incised on the pithos to the right of these couples is sadly fragmentary. It shows a hairy, long-tailed satyr stepping forward, his leg between the knees of a figure lying on its back, knees raised. Though white pigment has not, apparently, been added to the reclining figure, it is surely one more nymph or maenad; and this may thus be an earlier version of a theme which was to become very popular in Archaic red-figure, the satyr attacking a sleeping maenad, with sexual enjoyment his evident immediate goal. For examples of this theme, see Martin F. Kilmer Greek Erotica (London 1993) (absit omen!) [the title may change to Sexual Scenes in Greek Vase Painting: Attic Archaic Red- figure] 70 n.9: R198*, R318*, R618.2*. 22. This statement, of course, is based on the assumption that these unusual shapes, none of which has a certain maker- signature, are all works of the potter Amasis. The painter-work is attributable because of the large number of attributed works with which it can be compared. Identification of the individual potter is, at this stage, dependent primarily on 'signatures' - especially when, as here, the shapes are uncommon or unique in the painter's oeuvre. 23. Florence 4209; Beazley, Black-Figure 76.1, 682; id., Para.lipomena 29; Carpenter, Addenda 21.
COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright remains with authors, but due reference should be made to this journal if any part of the above is later published elsewhere.
Electronic Antiquity Vol. 2 Issue 1 - June 1994 edited by Peter Toohey and Ian Worthington firstname.lastname@example.org ISSN 1320-3606