The sea god Poseidon (identified by the trident he carries) here pursues a young woman, Aithra. The daughter of a Peloponnesian ruler, she becomes the mother of Theseus, the legendary king and hero of Athens. On the other side, a young woman flees while looking over her shoulder, as if frightened by the scene on the other side.
Mythology and history connect in this vase. The Athenian fleet had played a vital role in the defeat of the eastern barbarians in the Persian Wars, so Poseidon, whose dominion was the sea, became a popular deity. This krater reflects the great interest in stories about the god.