Etruscan black figure vase

Contributed by Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology

Etruscan black figure vase

This Etruscan vase has been subject to many interpretations in the past. It is decorated in the black-figure technique that originated in the Greek city of Corinth, but was adapted throughout Greece and beyond in the 6th century BC. When the Ure Museum acquired it, in 1947, this amphora, meaning a jug carried from both sides, was taken to be a 'Pontic' creation. 'Pontic' refers to the Black Sea area. Through analysis of the clay, however, scholars have since determined that this pot was not made in the East but in the West, namely in Etruria. The Museum's founder, Percy Ure, interpreted the figures on the top part of the vase, at least, as telling the story of Troilos, the Trojan Prince who was ambushed by the Greek hero Achilles at a fountainhouse, to which he had escorted his sister, Polyxena, to fetch water. Professor Brian Sparkes has recently suggested, however, that on one side of the vase we see the Thracian king Rhesus, who came to the aid of the Trojans, only to be killed by Odysseus and Diomedes, Greek heroes who raided his camp while he and his men slept. As yet, there is no proof which of these two stories was intended by the unnamed painter of this amphora.

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