Work of Art: Krater
active first half of the 5th century BCE
circa 470-460 B.C.E.
Red-figure ceramic
H. 17 x Rim Diam. 16 1/2 x Base Diam. 14 1/2 in. (43.2 x 41.9 x 36.8 cm)
Purchased with funds from the Friends of Greek Art and with funds from April Axton and various donors, by exchange

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.

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