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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Terracotta neck-amphora (jar)

Attributed to the Antimenes Painter
ca. 520 B.C.
Greek, Attic
Terracotta; black-figure
H. 14 5/16 in. (36.3 cm) diameter of mouth 6 9/16 in. (16.7 cm) diameter of foot 5 3/8 in. (13.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1956
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 155
Obverse, Herakles bringing the Erymanthian Boar to King Eurystheus
Reverse, Ajax carrying the body of Achilles

The Greek hero Achilles was killed at Troy by an arrow that pierced his heel, the only vulnerable spot on his body. Though shot by Paris, the arrow was guided to its mark by Apollo. After Achilles fell, a fierce conflict erupted for possession of his body. While Odysseus kept the Trojans at bay, Ajax carried the corpse back to the Greek encampment. Depictions of Ajax bearing his fully armed comrade always emphasize Achilles' weight. One can assume that a warrior's equipment weighed almost as much as he did.
Beazley, John D. 1971. Paralipomena: Additions to Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painters and to Attic Red-Figure Vase-Painters [2nd edition]. p. 118, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Woodford, Susan and Margot Loudon. 1980. "Two Trojan Themes: The Iconography of Ajax Carrying the Body of Achilles and of Aeneas Carrying Anchises in Black Figure Vase Painting." American Journal of Archaeology, 84(1): p. 36.

Moore, Mary B. 1980. "Exekias and Telamonian Ajax." American Journal of Archaeology, 84(4): p. 429 n. 94.

Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). 1981. Vol. 1: Aara-Aphlad. Achilleus, no. 879, Zürich: Artemis Verlag.

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