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119 GO LD OR C LAY ? DION Y SOS ' AM PHORA ON TH E FRA N<;: O IS V A SE* In t he midd le of th e famou s Wedding Pr oc es sion f r ieze on th e sho u lder of th e Fr -anco is vase sta nds th e p r omine n t f ig u re of Di ony sos, sta ring ou t oddly at the v iew er as he lab ou r s un d er th e wei ght of a large amp ho ra (Pl ate 1). He ba la nces th e heav y ampho ra on hi s ri ght sho u lde r u sing hi s left hand, and in th e same hand he hold s a shor t vine b ran ch. The amp ho ra is c lea r ly sho wn as an SOS arnp ho r a , a common type used in Attica for th e tran sport of liquids, primarily for oi l , though no doubt for ot her thing s as well (Pl ate 2) .1 Becau se of t he amp ho ra an d th e vi ne b ra nch , many sc ho la rs hov e th ou gh t t ha t Di onysos is bri ngi n g w in e for th e wedding ban q ue t. Beazl ey, for examp le , in Th e Develo p men t of A ttic B loc k -fig u re, de scr ibed the scene in thi s way : " T hey ( Char i kl o, Hest ia and Demeter) foll ow ed by a st ra nge figure. It is Dion y su s , but nowhere els e is he r epresented like th is. He hasten s, almos t * I am gratefu l to C. Greenewa lt, Jr . , A. Joh n ston, M. Moor e and D. von Bothmer who read ear lier d rafts of t his paper an d had many he lpfu l comments to mak e. 1 For the SOS amp hor a , see A. Joh nston and R. Jones , "The 'SOS' Arnp ho r a ; " BSA 73 (19 78) 103- 141, especially p. 133 for the de p ic t ion on th e Fr anco is v ase. Joh n st on rega r ds th e SOS amp hor a and pe r haps footed jar s in general as being p rimar i ly fo r oi l, BSA 73 (1978) 133; id em, " The De ve lopment of Amp hor a Shapes, Sym pos ium and Shipping, II in An ci ent Greek and Related Pottery (Amst erdam 1985 ) 208. Thi s , howev er , does not mean t hat footed amphora s were u sed exc lu sive ly fo r oi l. John st on , "D ev el op men t," p.208 , gi ves a fe w examp les of footed ja rs sho wn in asso c ia t ion wi th th e u se of wine . Certai nly t he freq uent Dionys iac drin k ing sce nes pa inted on f in e " table" amphoras with feet speak in fa vou r of t he u se of this shape fo r holding w ine. The needs fo r a con tainer to ca r ry wi ne and to ca r r y oi l mus t su re ly be v ery similar. 120 G. SCHAUS stumbles forward, holding an amphora full of wine on his shoulder, wine for the feast." 2 In reviewing Beazley's book, A. Rumpf proposed a different interpretation for the amphora, suggesting it was the golden amphora destined to hold the ashes of Patroklos and Achilles. 3 There are only a few ancient passages referring to this golden amphora, so its history is far from certain. It is mentioned twice by Homer who poignantly relates that after the death of Achilles his body was cremated and the bones gathered up and placed with those of his close friend Patroklos in a golden amphora given by Achilles' mother, Thetis. 4 This amphora had been a gift to Thetis from Dionysos and a product of the craftmanship of Hephaistos h imself. The only other information we have about this amphora comes from a scholiast of Homer who noted that according to Stesichoros it had been given to Dionysos by Hephaistos for his hospitality on Naxos, and that Dionysos gave it to Thetis in return for her hospitality when he was fleeing from Lykourgos. 5 It is noteworthy that the occasion when the amphora was actually presented to Thetis is not mentioned, but as A. Stewart notes, it would be odd if Dionysos had carried it with him in his flight from Lykourgos. 6 The Franc;:ois vase is the only example I know of in early Greek art where Dionysos, Thetis and an amphor a are depicted in close association . Rumpf briefly presented three arguments to support his interpretation that the amphora carried by Dionysos was the golden one destined to hold the bones of Patroklos and Achilles. They were: 2J . D. Beazley, The Dev elopment of Attic Block -Figure (Berkeley and Los Angeles 1951) 28. 3A. Rumpf, Gnomon 25 (1953) 469-470. 4". 23.83-92; Od. 24.71-77 . 5D. L. Page, ed., Poetoe melici Graeci (Oxford 1962) fro 234; see A. Stewart, "Stesichoros and the Francois Vase," in W. Moon, ed . , Ancient Greek Art and Iconography (Madison 1983) 55-56. 6Stewart (above, n.5) 56 n.S. GOLD OR CLAY ? 121 (1) win e is ca r r ied in win eski ns whe n tra nspor te d ov er long d is tances , as seen in th e Return of Heph ai st os on th e rev erse of the Fra nco is vase, for exampl e; ( 2) th e amphora is being carri ed a t an a ng le of abo u t 55 degrees so th at the win e woul d run ou t if it were full; (3) s ince th e amp ho ra is ob v ious ly very heavy, from th e buck led knees of th e god carrying it, even th ou gh it is empt y of win e, it must be of a heavy metal, i.e . go ld . Rumpf's int erpret ati on has been accepted by a numb e r of sc ho lars in th e thi r ty years s ince it was proposed, notab ly by B. B. Sh efton, J .D. Beazley, E. Simon an d J. Boardman . 7 It has s t ill not, how ev er, been th or ou ghly d iscu ssed. th ou gh recen tl y so me coun te r arg umen ts we re offe re d by D. Williams . 8 The idea that Dionysos her e is bringing th e fu tu re cremati on urn of Ach ille s to Achilles ' mot he r . Thetis, was us ed as th e point of d eparture for a new a na lys is of th e th emes and compo s it ion of th e Fr ancois vase by A. St ewart. 9 Ste wa r t be lieve d th at th e amphora "is almos t certai n ly tha t go lde n amphora of wh ic h Homer s pea ks ,,10 and without close d iscus s ion of the is su e, he employed this identification of th e amphora as a foundation for his discus s ion of the Fr an cois vase and th e possible influence of th e poe t Stesi choros on the va se pa in ter Kleiti as. There a re some se r ious questi on s to be r aised abou t Rumpf' s prop osal and th e reason s he gives for it. Th ese qu estions a re even mor e pressing now s ince the r eady accep ta nce of his idea has led to new conclusion s abo u t the Francois va se . 7p. E. Ari as, M. Hirmer, B.B. Sh efton, A History of 7000 Years of Gree k Vase Paint in g (New York 1962) 289; J.D. Beazley, Th e Dev el opm ent of Attic Block- Figu re , 2nd printing (Berkeley a nd Los Angeles 1964) 120, note to p.28, (l owe this reference to D. von Bothmer); E. Simon and M. Hirmer, Di e griechisch en Vasen (Munich 1976) 70; J. Boardman, AntK 19 (1976) 12 n .34 . 8D. Williams, "Sophilos in th e British Museum," Greek Vases in th e J. Paul Getty Mus eum (Malibu 1983) 33; below, n .13. lowe this reference to K. DeVries. 9Stewart (above , n . 5) 53-74. 10Stewart, 55. 122 G. SCHAUS Let us look fir s t at the three points wh ich led Rumpf to hi s ident ificat ion of th e amphora . He beli ev ed th at win eskins an d no t ampho ra s were used to t rans po rt wine ove r long dis tances. There fore Dionysos s hou ld be carrying a wines kin if he wer e bring ing wine to the wedding banquet. But th e opposi te may be true. V. Gr ac e suggests th at for loca l transport of wine in At hens win eskins were used; amphora s we re used commonly for long di stance t ra ns po r t. 11 It is certainly true th at SOS amph or as a re found widely sc att e red ov er the Medi terranean12 and th at t he ir pur pose was for th e trans por t of liquids , whether oil or wine. Th erefore Rump f's first poin t can be set as ide . His second poi nt is th e most crucia l. He observed that the amphora was being carried at such an ang le that if it wer e full of wine, the win e would s pill out. But a so lut ion to this difficulty is eas ily fou nd. Pottery lids are of littl e use in trying to contain sloshing liquids in their containers s ince th ey g ive a poor se al. Instead cork stoppers may have been used for transport amphoras, and perhaps , unbaked clay or pitch was a lso used to sea l the mouth. 13 Transport amphoras being carried a lmost horizontally are occasionally depicted on Attic vases but without any visible lid or ll V. Grace, Amphoras and th e An ci en t Win e Tr ad e (Princeton 1961 ) text between figures 20 and 21. 12A list of SOS amphoras and their proveniences is giv en in BSA 73 (1978) 107-122, with additions in Ki tion IV , 37-38, n.2. 13Corks were used to stopper the eight Archa ic bronze hydriae and amphorae in the agora shrine at Paestum, Archa eology 9 (1956) 26, and a cork was preserved in the mouth of an early fifth century BC wine jug from the Athenian agora, Hesp eria 20 (1951) pI. 25a; see ibid . pp. 50-51 for later evidence for the use of cork stoppers. Note also Grace (above, n.l1) text to fig.63, and id em, Hesp eria, supplement VIII (1949) 175 n. 3 for references to stoppers of plaster and lead. Williams (above, n .B) p.33 noted that representations of vases on vases are rarely shown with lids and that the angle of th e amphora carried by Dionysos is not so low. Nevertheless, Williams seemed to accept that the liquid could still slosh out onto the god. A. Johnston, "Development ," (above, n.l) 208-210 n.8 and 15 noted the problem with Rumpf's suggestion about the unlidded amphora and alluded to the possibility that the amphora might be stoppered. GOLD OR C LA Y? 123 stop pe r , yet t hey are appa re n tly fu l l of w ine (Pl at e 3 ) . So again , Rump f ' s arg ument is not conv incing. Hi s third point, th at th e ob vious weight of th e amp ho ra despi te it s be ing emp ty can on ly be explai ne d by suppos ing it to be mad e of go ld , no w also can be set as ide , since i t is c lear th at th ere is no reason to t hink th e v ase is indeed empty. 14 E. Sim on su p pos ed th at th e amp ho ra in th e Wedding Pr ocessi on was t he g old en one p res en ted b y D ion ysos to Theti s for her earl ie r hospital ity, b ut Si mon also bel ieved th at th e amp hora was full of wi ne be ca use of the vi ne b ra nc h ca rr ied by th e go d . 15 What is trou bl in g abo u t thi s interpretation is th at no r eason is given for thinking th at th e amp ho ra is th e g ol d en one , except , I su p pose , th at th e sha pe is rig h t ; in ot he r word s , it is an amp hora . Sim on' s supposi t ion rema ins unprov en. A. St ewart believed th e ampho ra was on ly on e of tw o gifts being brou ght in th e proce ssi on fo r th e ne wl y wedded couple. I f t here were ano t he r g i ft in th e sce ne , it would give more cred en ce to hi s id entification of th e amphora. St ewart th ought th e othe r gift was th e ashe n spea r given to Peleu s by Che i ro n , wh o ap pea rs at th e front of th e procession. 16 The ce n ta u r carr ies a lon g branch ov er h is shou lde r , st i ll wi th it s leav es, f ro m which are sus pe nde d three dea d an imals , a sign of th e centaur 's hunting s k il l . The branch was considered by St ewart to be quite an exa ct co p y o f th e Mediter r an ean as h {F raxin us excelsio r}. The ph ot og r aph and drawing which Stewa r t 14Ev en so it would be interest in g to kn ow how much heav ier a metal v ase is th an its counterpart in cl ay, taking into accou n t th e much thinner dimensions of walls, handles, ba ses etc. of met al v ases. Johnston, B S A 73 (1978) 134, calculates th at one SOS ampho ra wh ose ca pac it y is known wei ghed 70 kg. when filled with oil. The emp t y vase weighed 17 kg. I t is un derstandable why the g od struggl es to carry the amphora on the Fr an coi s v ase if it is full of wine. 15Simon and Hirmer (above, n. 7) 70. 16Stewart (above, n .5) 64-65. The gift of the spea r is described be st in a fragment of the Cy pria, T. W. Allen, Homeri Ope r a (Oxford 1961) 118, fro III; see also /I. 16.143-4. 124 G. SCHAUS provided for comparative purposes17 do indeed seem to be close to the branch carried by the centaur, but an unfortunate error was made, mistaking what is properly called an ash leaf for an ash branch. The proper ash leaf (as opposed to a "leaflet") has a narrow stem, 30-45 cm (12-18 in.) long. with separate leaflets which grow directly opposite each other along the stem. The leaf could never support the weight of the three animals carried by the centaur. much less be used for a spear by Peleus and Achilles. A true ash branch looks very different from the branch carried by Cheiron. Therefore there is no reason to think that the branch with game on it, occasionally found in other scenes where Cheiron appears, 18 is the ash cut specifically as a gift for Peleus, stripped or smoothed by Athena and furnished with a bronze tip by Hephaistos. 19 The gods, apparently as a collective gift, did present a set of armour to Peleus at his wedding. 20 This gift, however, appears nowhere in the Wedding Procession frieze. If Kleitias were interested in the gifts being brought to the wedded couple, it would seem that the armour, as the most prominent gift from the gods, would be depicted. If the spear from Cheiron cannot be identified, at least not without severely stretching the evidence, and if the armour from the gods is not to be seen, the armour given eventually to Achilles and worn by Patroklos at his death, why does Kleitias show Dionysos carrying an amphora? Sophilos painted a nearly contemporary dinos with a similar scene, but Dionysos is shown holding only a vine branch, no amphora. 21 The answer is perhaps to be found by 17Stewart (above, n.5) fig .4.6. 18See, for example, Cheiron with the baby Achilles red-figure vase, Simon and Hirmer (above, n.7) pl.91 right. 19Above, n , 16. 2011. 17.194-97; 18.82-85. 21British Museum 1971.11-1.1. Figured in Stewart (above, n.5) figs.4.5a-d. GOLD OR C LA Y? 125 no ticing how th e art ist u ses other objec ts carried by fig ures in h is p ro ce ss io n. The li st is sho r t , but it is ev iden t th at almos t eve r y object is a mark of id enti fi cat ion or attribute of th e fig u re carryi ng it. Cheiron carries a b ranch w ith wild ga me, c haracteris t ic of hi s sk i ll in hunting . Bo t h I ri s and Hermes, th e messen g er gods , car ry a caduceu s, th ei r no rmal mark of identification . Kalliope, one of t he Mu ses, t he Gr eek de i ties of poetry and mu si c, pl ay s on a sy ri nx. Zeu s ca r r ies th e sy mbo l of h is aut ho r i ty , a thunderbolt. Only Hep haistos has an object no t directly suited to h is c harac te r , a wh ip fo r t h e mu le he ri d es. 22 He is shown wi t h a sim ilar whi p in th e Retu rn of Hephai st os fri eze on th e same vase. Diony sos ca r r ies a v ine branc h jus t as he does on Sophilos' di nos. But pe r ha ps thi s is an inad equat e sy mbo l of th e god of wi ne and re v elr y . Kleitias may hav e ad d ed th e amp hora and g ive n th e god a frontal face and wei ghed do wn appea rance , almos t in a comic manner, to sho w th e pa r t which h e plays in th e wedd ing feas t. D ion y sos is o ft en sho wn ca r r y ing drink in g v ases in lat er Attic bl ack figure; her e he may well be br ing ing a full su p p ly of wine fo r th e re ve l r y . It sho u ld als o be mentioned th at Dion ys os as go d of wine on ly bec ame popul ar in Greece in th e ea r ly six t h century; hi s r epresen tat ion on th e Fra nco is v ase is one of the ear l ies t, so his ic on ography was also new . Hi s promin enc e cou ld a lso be understood as su itab le for the sh ape of th e v ase on which he ap pea rs ; the Fr ancols v as e is a v olu te krat er, spe c ifically for mixing wine and wat er. To those wh o ar e still drawn to the ex p lanat ion of the amphora as the golden cremation urn , and who ar e unperturbed by th e lack of an y literary evidence th at Dionysos brought the golden amphora to Thetis ' wedding, there is st i ll th e p r oblem of the representation of the amphor a on the Fr ancois v ase . I t is at least odd that the ar t ist cle arly repre sents a very pl ain and co mmon 50S amphora. There has 22E. Braun, writing in 1849, cited in M. Cristofani, Materiali per servire 0110 storia del Vasa Franc ois, Bd A 72 (1980) serie speciale I, p. 69, sa id Hephaistos carried pincers and tool s. 126 G. SCHAUS been a suggestion that the SOS type existed in metal examples , including gold, though the type is known to us only from ex amples in clay.23 Until metal examples are found , this explanation remains unhelpful to the identification of the amphora. SOS amphoras in general are common storage or transport vases, not for use as fine ware, so that such vases would be impractical and uneconomica l if rendered in expensive bronze. Gold seems hardly to e nter the question. By about 570 BC the SOS amphora seems to have gone out of use and may have been only a memory of an earlier time to the vase painter, Kleitias. Perhaps this is why he inserted it into his scene from the Heroic age. The golden amphora was sa id to be the work of the divine craftsman, Hephaistos. One wou ld, therefore, expect the vase to have been a piece of master craftsmanship. On the Fr ancois vase, the amphora carried by Dionysos has been painted with virtually no decoration, only several double lines; yet Kleitias was willing to spend great effort in decorating the dresses of the female figures in t he procession. This paradox must also be explained by those who wish to identify the golden amphora in this scene. We arrive finally at the question of whether the poet Stesichoros had an influence on Kleitias when he painted the Francois vase. Stewart pointed out two substantial bits of evidence to support his suggestion that Kleitias was indeed influenced by this great poet. The first was the amphora in the Wedding Procession which Stewart took to be golden. Stesichoros is said to have written about this gift vase in one of his poems. 24 The poe t, however, gives us very little more information regarding the gift of the amphora to Thetis by 23Arias, Hirmer and Shefton (above, n.7) 289. Williams (above, n.8) 33 n.78 noted that Polyxena's hydria on BM 1899.7-21. 2 has an SOS decoration on the neck, but it is, of course, unclear whether the hydria is meant to be metal or clay, or whether the art ist even considered the matter. 24The information came from a scholiast to Homer, Page (above, n.5) . GOLD OR CLAY ? 127 Dionysos th an do es Homer, 25 and as we have seen , the evidence for identifying the amphor a as the golden one is poor . T he se co nd was the name of one of th e Muses written by Kleitia s . In stead of the name Terpsichore, found in Hesiod , the a r t is t wrote Stesichore. Thi s is a unique examp le of thi s name being used for one of t he Mus es , a nd since Stewart accep ts the Su da' s dotes for the famous ly r ic poet , Stesic horos (birt h 632-629 - -death 556 -5 53 BC) , a nd since the Fr-an cois vase dat es abou t 570 BC, it is not difficult to se e why he thought th e vase painter was influenced by the poet. T here a re seve ra l re a son s to think t hat the name Stes ichore for the Muse on th e Francois vase is by no mean s conclus ive evidence for infl uence from the poet Stes ich or os on Kleitias . The fir st of these is that the name Stes icho ros may wel l have been adop ted by the poet a ft e r his reputation for chora l poetry had be en firm ly estab lis hed; t he poet's re al name wa s sa id to be Teis ias . 26 Furthermore, his dates ha ve be en quest ioned recently by M. W est , wh o suggests lowering h is career to abou t 570-5 40 BC . 27 T his ad jus tmen t has been s upported both by J. Boardman 28 a nd P . Bri ze, 29 al though ot hers remain sa t is fied with th e dates given by th e Su da . 30 Boa rdman, who doubted t ha t t here is ev ide nce for in fluence betwee n Stesichoros and vase pa in ters, notes rig h tly t hat the poe t may never hav e reached any closer to Athen s th an Sp arta, and that most of his wor king life 25/1. 23 .83 -92; Od. 24.71 -77 . 26Su d o, s. v , "Stesi ch or os" . 27M. Wes t , "Stes ichorus ;" CQ n. s. 21 (1971) 302 -6. 28J . Boardman (above , n.7) 12. 29p . Bri ze, Die Geryon cis d es Stes ic bor os un d d ie [riih e g r iec h isc h e K uns t, Bei t riige zur Arcbii oloqie 12 (Wurzbu r g 1980 ) 11 . 30Mos t rece nt ly , A. Pod lec k i, Th e Early Greek Poe ts and Their Tim es (Vancouve r 1984) 157. 128 G. SCHAUS spent in Magna Graecia. 31 It seems, therefore, far from certain that Kleitias had the poet Stesichoros in mind when writing the name of the Muse, Stesichore, on the Francois vase. Indeed, it is even possible, though of course not provable, that the poet received his "professional" name from a va riant name, Stesichore, for the Muse of choral poetry, Terpsichore. 32 WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY G. SCHAUS ** This article was in press when T. H. Carpenter's book, Dionysian Imag ery in Archaic Greek Art (Oxford 1986) appeared. Carpenter (pp. 7, 10-11) reaches the same conclusion about Dionysos' amphora as I do here, though his observations differ from mine. 31Soardman (above, n.n 12-13. 32See Stewart (above, n.5) 56 n.7 for this idea, and also p.57 n. 13. The Suda s , v., notes, however, that Stesichoros received his name because he was the first to establish a chorus to accompany the cithara. SCHAUS, PLATE I: Francois Vase: wedding procession. detail. SCHAUS, PLATE2: SOS amphora. Agora excava tions no. P22733. (Ago ra photo.) SCHAUS. PL~~r~~~:. (Agora photo.) .xcavations. object no. I _5 Agora c , . E PLATE I: VAN DE MA~L , 'Mont Patcras au Sud. Kyparissi vu des hauteurs de SCHAUS, PLATE I: Francois Vase: wedding procession. detail. SCHAUS, PLATE2: SOS amphora. Agora excava tions no. P22733. (Ago ra photo.) SCHAUS. PL~~r~~~:. (Agora photo.) .xcavations. object no. I _5 Agora c , . E PLATE I: VAN DE MA~L , 'Mont Patcras au Sud. Kyparissi vu des hauteurs de ...


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