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Vatican Amphora – II :  [B] Polydeukes and Kastor by Exekias | by Egisto Sani
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Vatican Amphora – II : [B] Polydeukes and Kastor by Exekias

The Dioscuri are returning at home.

A young man, Castor, stands in the middle, dressed in a chlamys, carrying a spear over his shoulder, and holding his horse Kyllaros. He looks round at his mother Leda, who offers him a flower with one hand and holds a pair of sprigs in the other. His father, Tyndareos, stands at the horse’s head and strokes its face. A small boy carries a seat on his head; a small aryballos is tied round his forearm, At the other end of the picture Polydeukes, naked, bends to caress the dog which leaps up towards him. It is perhaps likely that the two brothers Are returning home, but Polydeukes arrived first, put his horse in the stable, and stripped, while Castor, arriving later, is welcomed by his father and his mother, who offers him a flower to smell, and fragrant springs of fresh myrtle. The sat, the change of clothes, and the oil for anointing are intended for Polydeikes.

The scene in the house of Tyndareos painted by Exekias depicts a scene from the heroic life when at its simple everyday level.


Inscriptions: all the characters are named. Above Pollux' head: Πολυδευκες. To left of Leda's back, facing her: Λεδα, retr. Below Castor's horse: Ονετοριδε[ς] καλος, retr. Above his head: Καστορ. To right of Castor's horse's hind legs, facing them: Κυλ[λ]αρος. To left of Tyndareos' face, facing him: Τυνδαρ(ε)ος, retr.


Source: Beazley J.D., “The Development of Attic Black-Figure”




Attic black-figured amphora

Attributed to Exekias as painter/potter by signature

Archaic period

About 540 - 530 BC

From Vulci, Viterbo, Etruria

London, The British Museum



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Taken on February 6, 2014