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Red-Figure Vase with Dining Scene

Red-Figure Vase with Dining Scene

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A 4th century BCE Greek red-figure vase showing deities dining. Apulia, Italy. (National Archaeological Museum, Madrid)

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Red-Figure Vase with Dining Scene - History

This vase includes scenes connected to two Athenian tragedies dealing with children—Medea and Telephos.

The remarkable scene on the front of this vase relates to the famous tragedy Medea, written by Euripides and first produced in Athens in 431 BC. Framed in the center by a halo (recalling her sun god grandfather Helios), the sorceress Medea flies off in a dragon-drawn chariot. Seeking revenge against her husband Jason, leader of the Argonauts, Medea has just slain their two children. Two Furies flank her, while Jason and a distraught nurse and teacher approach the bodies on the altar below.

A different tragedy unfolds on the other side of the vase, from Euripides’s Telephos (438 BC). The wounded warrior Telephos holds the baby Orestes hostage at an altar, with Agamemnon and Clytemnestra rushing to save their son.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

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Attic Red-Figure Cup

Foundry Painter (Greek (Attic), active 500 - 470 B.C.) 9.4 × 30.5 × 23.6 cm (3 11/16 × 12 × 9 5/16 in.) 86.AE.294

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Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 103, Athenian Vases

Alternate Views

Exterior side A

Exterior side B

Object Details


Attributed to the Foundry Painter (Greek (Attic), active 500 - 470 B.C.)


Athens, Greece (Place Created)

Object Number:

9.4 × 30.5 × 23.6 cm (3 11/16 × 12 × 9 5/16 in.)


To the left of the cane, KA[.]OΣ ("beautiful") above youth, LYK[.]Σ ("Lykos").

Alternate Title:

Wine Cup with a Sex Scene (Display Title)

Previous Attribution:

Foundry Painter (Greek (Attic), active 500 - 470 B.C.)

Object Type:
Object Description

In the tondo of this cup, a man has sex with a woman. He stands behind her, with one hand on his hip and the other clasping the back of her thigh. The woman bends over, supporting herself on a stool, her face pressed into a full wine-skin. The wine-skin and the young man’s wreath, as well as the shape of the vessel itself, situate this scene in the symposium, and the staff at left is a marker of the youth’s leisured status.

The symposium was an integral part of Athenian aristocratic society, a social gathering at which men ate, drank, played party games, sang songs, recited poetry, and were entertained with music and dance. Sex and the fulfilment of physical desires also played a central part, and the woman on this cup, nude, save for a small amulet around her thigh, is likely to be a prostitute or hetaera (courtesan).

The scene thus conveys what a young Athenian man might expect – or hope for – in attending a symposium. Where known, however, most vases with explicit sex scenes have been discovered at Etruscan sites in Italy, and so may reveal as much about the marketing of ancient pottery as they do about Athenian behavior.

By 1971 - 1983

Walter Bareiss, American, born Germany, 1919 - 2007 and Molly Bareiss, American, 1920 - 2006 (Stamford, Connecticut), distributed to the Mary S. Bareiss 1983 Trust, 1983.

1983 - 1986

Mary S. Bareiss 1983 Trust, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986.

The Art of Love: Love's Lust and Sorrow in World Art (December 1, 2002 to April 27, 2003)

Beazley, J. D. Paralipomena. Additions to Attic Black-figure Vase-painters and to Attic Red-figure Vase-painters. 2nd ed. Oxford: 1971, pp. 370, no. 33 bis, and 507, no. 20 bis.

"Acquisitions/1986." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 15 (1987), pp. 160-61, no. 7.

Peschel, Ingeborg. Die Hetare bei Symposium und Komos in der attisch rotfigurigen Malerei des 6.-4. Jhs. v.Chr. (Peter Lang: Frankfurt, 1987), pp. 125, 194, no. 92.

Dierichs, Angelika. Erotik in der Kunst Griechenlands. Antike Welt, Supplement, 1988, p. 58 mentioned pp. 57 and 59 figs. 93, 95.

Dierichs, Angelika. "Liebesszenem auf einem Pinax," Antike Welt 20, 2 (1989), pp. 49-54, p. 53, n. 11.

Dierichs, Angelika. Erotik in der Kunst Griechenlands. Zaberns Bildbaende zur Archaeologie, vol. 9. (Mainz: von Zabern, 1993, p. 74 fig. 134.

Kilmer, Martin F. Greek Erotica on Red-figure Vases. (London: Duckworth & Co. Ltd., 1993), pp. 35-36 and 253, no. R 529.

Cuomo di Caprio, Ninina. La galleria dei falsi: dal vasaio al mercato di antiquariato. (Roma: L'Erma di Bretschneider, 1993), p. 153, fig. 8.3.

Rickenbach, Judith, ed. Liebeskunst: Liebeslust und Liebesleid in der Weltkunst. Exh. Cat. Zurich: 2003, p. 38, no. 18.

Spivey, Nigel and Squire, Michael. Panorama of the Classical World (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2004), p. 52, fig. 79.

Dierichs, Angelika. Erotik in der Kunst Griechenlands (Mainz am Rhein: Philipp von Zabern, 2008), p. 77, fig. 55c.

Vout, Caroline. "'La "nudité héroïque" et le corps de la "femme athlete" dans la culture grecque et romaine." In Vêtements antiques: s'habiller, se déshabiller dans les mondes anciens. Florence Gherchanoc et al. (Arles: Editions Errance, 2012), pp. 243-244, ill.

Gherchanoc, F., and Huet, V. (eds.), Vetements antiques, S'habiller, se deshabiller dans les mondes anciens (Arles, 2012), 244, fig.3.

Oakley, John H. The Greek Vase: Art of the Storyteller (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2013), pp. 146-147, fig. 9.

Osborne, R., The Transformation of Athens. Painted Pottery and the Creation of Classical Greece Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018, p. 135, fig. 5.9.

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/> The text on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, unless otherwise noted. Images and other media are excluded.

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Red-Figure Vase with Dining Scene - History

In the ancient Greek city-state of Athens, as well as the Greek world in general, men and women lived separate lives. Men lived in the public world of politics, war, business, courtrooms, and schools. Women, especially the respectable and well-to-do, were expected to live in the private world of the home—preparing food, raising children, producing textiles, and maintaining the household. This red-figure pyxis displays a scene from the world of women and the home, the domestic interior indicated by the items hanging on the wall—the pet bird (an allusion to a life of leisure), the furniture, but most importantly the closed door. The gynaikeia, or women's quarters, is an appropriate subject for this vase shape, as it typically functioned as a container to hold jewelry, incense, medicine, and cosmetics for women.

The pyxis was also commonly decorated with scenes relating to and focusing on marriage. In this way, the closed door seen here may have a more symbolic meaning than simply an indication of an interior setting. By the middle of the 5th century BCE, depictions of wedding processions show that the bridegroom's house has been reduced to double doors symbolizing not only the threshold of the family homestead but also the portal of transition for the bride from maid to matron. The scene here also acts as a reassurance to the young bride's future camaraderie in her life, and the assumption that she, too, would now have prized possessions to keep safe and private within such an elegant container. This pyxis also could function as a subtle advocate for the privacy a woman should value and the discretion she should consistently practice.

Adapted from

Ken Kelsey, Gail Davitt, Mary Ann Allday, Barbara Barrett, and Troy Smythe,_ _DMA unpublished material, 1994

Anne R. Bromberg, and Karl Kilinski II, Gods, Men, and Heroes: Ancient Art at the Dallas Museum of Art. (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996), 69-70.

Fun Facts

In ancient Greece, vessels and containers were sometimes a metaphor for women and the supposed nature of the female, whom the Greeks believed to be alluring despite her flaw of deceit. The mythological story of Pandora and her box embodies this idea as the first woman on Earth. Sent by Zeus as revenge for man's stealing fire from the gods, Pandora unleashed a plague of troubles when she could not resist opening a beautiful box given to her by the gods.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

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Attic Red-Figure Pelike, Kerch Style

Painter of the Wedding Procession (Greek (Attic), active about 362 B.C.) 48.3 × 27.2 cm (19 × 10 11/16 in.) 83.AE.10

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Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 104, Archaic and Classical Greece

Alternate Views

Side A (in gallery)

Detail of Hermes

Detail of Hera

Detail of Paris

Detail of Athena

Detail of Aphrodite with Eros

Object Details


Attic Red-Figure Pelike, Kerch Style


Attributed to the Painter of the Wedding Procession (Greek (Attic), active about 362 B.C.)


Athens, Greece (Place Created)


Terracotta polychromy gilding

Object Number:

48.3 × 27.2 cm (19 × 10 11/16 in.)

Alternate Titles:

Storage Jar with the Judgment of Paris (Display Title)

Jarro griego de almacenar con la sentencia de Paris (Display Title)

Kerch-style red-figured pelike (Display Title)

Storage Jars with the Judgement of Paris (Display Title)

Storage Jar with the Judgment of Paris and an Amazonomachy (Published Title)

Object Type:
Object Description

One side of this vase shows the Judgment of Paris, a myth with a long history in Greek art. The young Trojan prince Paris sits amid three goddesses and their guide Hermes, god of travelers. On the left, Hera plucks at her drapery. Her jewelry, dress pins, crown and scepter are rendered in gilded relief and her dress was painted with a thick white pigment. Paris sits on a rock, holding a club. His hands and face are rendered in red-figure, but his Phrygian cap and club, as well as the olive tree next to him, were delineated with lines and dots of extruded clay. His clothing is colored with Egyptian blue (tunic), cinnabar red (sleeves and trousers) and a mixture of red and white to create pink (the drapery on his lap). The cloth of his garments is studded with raised clay dots that much once have been gilded. To the right, Athena wears a green peplos, embellished with relief dots. Her shield, aegis and helmet have gilding and relief dots. Aphrodite at the far right is attended by Eros (white gilding on the wings). Aside from her wreath and earrings (gilded raised clay), she is entirely red-figure. She wears her himation such that she is almost entirely swathed.

Paris's task was to decide which goddess is the most beautiful: Hera, queen of the gods Athena, goddess of wisdom or Aphrodite, goddess of love. But this was no mere beauty contest. Paris chose Aphrodite because her bribe was the best: He could have whomever among mortal women he thought most beautiful. His choice of Helen, queen of Sparta, was the ultimate cause of the Trojan War. The other side of the vase depicts a battle of Greeks and Amazons, a favorite theme for vase painters in this period.

The bold use of color, raised relief areas, and gilding on this vase is typical of the Kerch Style of Athenian red-figure vase painting, named for an area on the Black Sea coast where many of these vases were found. The pelike was a favorite shape for Athenian vase painters of the 300s B.C.


Antike Kunst Palladion (Basel, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983.

Beyond Beauty: Antiquities as Evidence (December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999)
Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004)
The Colors of Clay: Special Techniques in Athenian Vases (June 8 to September 4, 2006)
Aphrodite and the Gods of Love (March 28, 2012 to May 26, 2013)

Scott, D.A. and Taniguchi, Y. "Archaeological Chemistry: A Case Study of a Greek Polychrome Pelike." In Color in Ancient Greece, edited by M. Tiverios and D. Tsiafakis. Thessaloniki, 2002, 235-244.

"Acquisitions/1983." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 12 (1984), pp. 241-42, no. 52.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 51.

Schefold, Karl, and Franz Jung. Die Sagen von den Argonauten, von Theben und Troja in der klassischen und hellenistischen Kunst. Munich: 1989, p. 110 fig. 89.

Lebel, A. The Marsyas Painter and Some of his Contemporaries (diss. Univ. of Oxford, 1989), p. 203-205.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 50.

Valavanes, P. D. Panathenaic Amphorai from Eretria, 1991, p. 295, 352, ill. pls. 140-141.

Vallera-Rickerson, I., and M. Korma. "Merika ellenika ekthemata tou Mouseiou Getty." Archaiologia 43 (1992), p. 86, fig. 14.

Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneliese. "Paris Iudicium." In Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae VII (1994), pp. 176-188, p. 181, no. 52a pl. 118.

Sparkes, Brian A. The Red and the Black. Studies in Greek Pottery. London and New York: 1996, p. 26 fig. I:19.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 52-53.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), pp. 14 (detail), 52-53.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: 2002), p. 83.

Spivey, Nigel and Squire, Michael. Panorama of the Classical World (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2004), pp. 108-109, fig. 182.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 35, ill.

Cohen, Beth. "The Colors of Clay: Combining Special Techniques on Athenian Vases." In Papers on Special Techniques on Athenian Vases. Edited by K. Lapatin (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2008), p. 18, footnote 106.

Pellegrini, Elisa. Eros nella Grecia arcaica e classica: iconografia e iconologia. (Rome: Giorgio Bretschneider, 2009), p. 451, no. 1815.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 78.

Oakley, John H. The Greek Vase: Art of the Storyteller (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2013), p. 78-79, fig. 16.

Stansbury O'Donnell, Mark. "Reflections of monumental painting in Greek vase painting." In The Cambridge History of Painting in the Classical World. Jerome J. Pollitt ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014) pp. 143-169, p. 162, pl. 4.8.

Blume, Clarissa. Polychromie Hellenistischer Skulptur: Ausführung, Instandhaltung und Botschaften. (Petersberg : Michael Imhof Verlag, 2015), No. Vs. 5, pl. 438.

Stansbury-O'Donnell, Mark D. A History of Greek Art (Chicester: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2015), p. 306, fig. 12.7.

Akamatis, N., "Ερυθρόμορφη πελίκη του Ζωγράφου της Γαμήλιας Πομπής στο Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο της Πέλλας", in M. Yiannopoulou, Ch. Kallini (eds.), Ήχάδιν. Τιμητικός τόμος για τη Στέλλα Δρούγου, Athens 2016, pp. 100-114, p.105.

McPhee, Ian. "An Attic Red-FIgured Pelike in the Abegg-Stiftung." In Studi Miscellanei di Ceramografia Greca IV, edited by Elvia Giudice and Giada Giudice (Catania: Ediarch, 2018), 71-92, 75-79, pl. VIII, figs. 15-17.

Education Resources
Education Resources

Education Resource

Lesson in which students research and study artworks that depict Greek and Roman deities and present a mock TV talk show with the deities.

Visual Arts English–Language Arts History–Social Science

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This information is published from the Museum's collection database. Updates and additions stemming from research and imaging activities are ongoing, with new content added each week. Help us improve our records by sharing your corrections or suggestions.

/> The text on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, unless otherwise noted. Images and other media are excluded.

The content on this page is available according to the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) specifications. You may view this object in Mirador – a IIIF-compatible viewer – by clicking on the IIIF icon below the main image, or by dragging the icon into an open IIIF viewer window.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Attic Red-Figure Column Krater

Myson (Greek (Attic), active 500 - 475 B.C.) 34 × 31.2 cm (13 3/8 × 12 5/16 in.) 86.AE.205

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Not currently on view

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Main View, side A (front)

Side B (Back)

Side B/A (Right Profile)

Side A/B (Left Profile)

Object Details


Attic Red-Figure Column Krater


Attributed to Myson (Greek (Attic), active 500 - 475 B.C.)


Athens, Greece (Place Created)

Object Number:

34 × 31.2 cm (13 3/8 × 12 5/16 in.)

Alternate Title:

Mixing Vessel with Horses and Youths (Display Title)

Object Type:
Object Description

Horses and athletic training, two of the favorite activities of privileged Athenian youths, decorate this Athenian red-figure column krater. On the front of the vase, two naked athletes work out on either side of a clothed trainer, one with a javelin and the other holding weights used in the long jump. On the back of the vase, two youths walk along leading their horses. As was typical for this shape in the early 400s B.C., a frieze of animals in the black-figure technique decorates the top of the vase's mouth.

The Greeks always drank their wine diluted, and the column krater was a vessel for mixing wine and water. A krater like this would have been used at a symposium or aristocratic drinking party, where the scenes decorating the serving vessels reflected the interests of the participants.

By 1967 - 1983

Walter Bareiss, American, born Germany, 1919 - 2007 and Molly Bareiss, American, 1920 - 2006 (Stamford, Connecticut), distributed to the Mary S. Bareiss 1983 Trust, 1983.

Vase Painting

Greek artists are also very well-known for their vase painting. There are two different vase painting techniques: black-figure painting and red-figure painting. Black-figure painting was first to develop. In black-figure painting, the figures are painted in black (hence the name of the technique). The background is left red, the color of the clay. Any details on the black figures were engraved using a fine and stiff metal engraver. Red-figure painting is the opposite of the black-figure painting. What was previously red in red-figure painting becomes black, and what was previously black becomes red. Thus, in red-figure painting, the figures are red while the background is black. To work in this technique, the painter first had to outline the shape of the figures. Then he would paint the background black. To add detail to the figures, the painter could paint them in using a soft and fine brush. Compared to the engraving technique used in black-figure painting, painting in the details using brushes offers the artist much greater flexibility.

An example of a painter who painted using both the red-figure and the black-figure technique is the “Andokides Painter”, that is, the anonymous painter who decorated the vases signed by the potter Andokides. In the two vases below, the painter has painted the same scene using the two different techniques.

Black-figure painting (left) and red-figure painting (right)

The two vases below depict the scene of Achilles and Ajax playing a dice game. Achilles and Ajax, two comrades, are playing a game of dice as they wait to be called to war. Both men are seated with the table in between. They hold their spears and their shields are nearby, indicating that each man is ready for action a moment’s notice. The composition is symmetrical and the scene is boxed within a frame. The painting depicts “the calm before the storm”.

I really like these Greek vase paintings. I am very impressed by the intricate details, such as the pattern on the men’s cloaks and the border of the frame, which the artist did not overlook.

Regional Production of Red-Figure Pottery: Greece, Magna Graecia and Etruria. Gösta Enbom monographs, 4

This well-edited and amply illustrated volume publishes the results of a much-needed study on the regional production of red-figure pottery in Greece, Magna Graecia, and Etruria. The editors of this high-quality and nearly error-free publication, Stine Schierup and Victoria Sabetai, have collected seventeen articles that shed new light on matters of pottery usage and diffusion, the birth and decline of workshops, and the transmission of techniques and iconography.

About half the papers draw upon new research based on their authors’ MA or PhD work the rest are re-appraisals of better-documented sites. Most welcome are contributions presenting material from recent excavations and equally intriguing are the fresh interpretations of well-known workshops. As expected, certain questions recur in all essays — on the emergence of the regional red-figure wares, their connection to Attic production, and the function of pottery shapes and imagery within local communities. These issues, along with a short presentation of the research pursued in each article, are succinctly summarized by the editors in the Introduction.

More or less equally divided between the ceramic production in Greece and on the Italian peninsula and Sicily, the articles are neatly arranged within geographic regions, starting with four papers on Boeotian red-figure. The relation of Boeotian red-figure vases to Attic is still difficult to pinpoint as it poses numerous questions regarding the identity of the craftsmen (e.g., Athenians migrating to Boeotia or locals trained in Athens) and the method of transmission of potting artistry and iconographic knowledge.

In a masterful essay, Sabetai identifies Boeotian civic values through a contextual examination of three local red-figure kraters from a female grave in Akraiphia dated ca. 440-425 BCE. A sacrifice, a Dionysiac thiasos, and an athletic scene decorate the main side of each krater. The author traces these iconographic themes, as well as the departure- and the more generic conversation-scenes, in all styles of Boeotian ceramic production and Attic imports, concluding that these narratives reflect facets of a civic lifestyle in which both women and men were steeped.

Kyriaki Kalliga presents a well-documented deposit from a family plot in Haliartos. She focuses on the grave gifts of a young aristocrat who died around the time of the battle of Delion and rightly interprets them as representative of his sex, gender, and social status. A single Boeotian red-figure kantharos by the Argos Painter stands out from the group and Kalliga considers its decoration (a hoplite leading his horse) as a reflection of the aristocratic values once embodied by the Boeotian ephebe: striving for excellence as a son, a cavalry man, and a citizen.

Alexandra Zampiti’s article examines the interaction between the red-figure and the long-enduring black-figure technique in Boeotia, focusing on a typically Boeotian shape: the kalathos-pyxis. She traces the origins of the shape and its iconographic motifs, concluding that red-figure vase-painters must have worked regularly in contemporary black-figure workshops or at least collaborated on occasion. One wonders, however, if that kalathos-pyxis can be construed as representative of the whole production of red-figure vases in Boeotia and the intricate nexus of influences among the black-figure, silhouette, and bilingual styles, since it was a ‘special’ vase with a highly votive and funerary character, acknowledged as such by Zampiti herself.

A Boeotian red-figure pyxis in a private collection is the topic of Avronidaki’s essay. The vase has a unique shape and composition, both meticulously described, and its multifigural nuptial scene is unparalleled in Attic works. Despite the absence of archaeological context, Avronidaki offers a plausible interpretation of the pyxis as a grave gift that glorified the role of women in the oikos and, ultimately, in the polis.

Even though one would expect Kristine Gex’s article on Euboean pottery to follow next as a logical step after Boeotia, it is instead preceded by Ian McPhee’s assessment of Corinthian red-figure pottery. He offers a well-rounded survey of shapes, findspots and iconography, giving particular emphasis to the beginnings of the workshop. Quite crucial is his discussion of a nearly forgotten terracotta altar decorated in the red-figure technique, whose stylistic analysis helps us date the birth of Corinthian red-figure a generation earlier than usually estimated, i.e., to 440/430 instead of 410/400 BCE.

Around the same date scholars place the beginning of Euboean red-figure. Gex offers a thorough discussion of this ware, as well as a theoretical framework for when an artifact might be called ‘local.’ Two points stand out from her article: the attractive, albeit tentative, suggestion of a pottery workshop in Chalkis active after 400 BCE, and the reasons explaining the peculiar scarcity of Euboean kraters compared to other regional wares. Such absence probably reflects an intriguing change in local sympotic preferences rather than a lack of interest/mastery in red-figure pottery during the fourth century.

Jutta Stroszeck’s presentation on the Laconian red-figure production highlights an exceptional case, characterized by quality vessels and intriguing iconographic themes despite its short lifespan (440/430-400 BCE). After a concise overview of the history of research and the development of the workshop, Stroszeck turns to an instructive discussion of iconography and transmission of artistry. She rightly associates this new fabric with public and private ceremonies, since the majority of shapes are related to feasting. Found primarily in local sanctuaries, Laconian red-figure is characterized by a distinct preference for local shapes and rarity of Athenian iconographic motifs, which indicates some type of usage during Spartan rituals. As in most regional workshops, the identity of the craftsmen and the way they mastered their craft remain puzzling.

Of particular interest is Anthi Aggeli’s essay on the practically unknown workshop of Ambracia, an early Corinthian colony in northwestern Greece. The impetus for this study was given by the discovery of several local red-figure vases in the city cemeteries. Aggeli is to be commended for the methodical presentation of the shapes produced by this workshop (limited to squat lekythoi, pelikai, and lebetes gamikoi), the thorough discussion of the iconography (mainly female themes), and the succinct observations on the influences from Athenian and South Italian pottery of the fourth century BCE.

Similar traits characterize the equally unknown red-figure production of the Pella workshop in Macedonia, studied by Nikos Akamatis: again, the shapes are limited and the iconography is dominated by female topics. But, in contrast to the Ambracian examples, most vases come from the Pella Agora, indicating a targeted production towards specific local needs (dated ca. mid-fourth to mid-third century BCE). Akamatis’ suggestion to locate the workshop industry in that agora and to associate it with the production of many pottery techniques is well-founded. What is more difficult to accept is his hesitation to attribute its foundation to an Athenian immigrant on account of the absence of vessels made with Attic clay—especially given the strong Athenian influence on the Pella workshop and the plethora of Attic imports through the middle of the fourth century.

Crossing the Ionian Sea, two articles, by Stine Schierup and by E. G. D. Robinson, are on South Italian red-figure. . Schierup offers a concise overview of the earliest South Italian red-figure workshop, its pioneers (the Pisticci, Cyclops, and Amykos Painters), and the legacy of the earlier Attic imports. After noting the problematic information regarding the findspots of Metapontine vases, the author focuses on the distribution patterns of the works by the above-mentioned painters, taking into account the preferred shapes and iconography in key-areas, such as Metaponto, central and southern Apulia and Lucania. This meticulous analysis allows her to discuss the variety of usages of the local red-figure pottery and to propose a targeted production for specific markets.

Robinson presents an instructive reappraisal of early Apulian red-figure. He advises caution when considering Taranto as the birthplace of a new workshop or when debating the identity of the first craftsmen. At the same time, he avoids overemphasizing the funerary context of Apulian red-figure vases, since they carry different connotations from one period to the next. With these preconditions in mind, he explains the success of Apulian red-figure as the result of the stylistic variety of the painters and the production of specific shapes and iconographic themes, catered towards the Italic clientele.

The next three papers deal with the Sicilian red-figure production and more specifically with its beginning and end (Sebastiano Barresi), its relation to South Italian pottery (Marco Serino), and its association with Attic imports (Claude Pouzadoux and Pierre Rouillard). Barresi’s essay successfully treats the workshop’s foundation, proposing a more complex process with emphasis on the role of South Italian painters, and its end, which he associates with new social realities and the wider circulation of metalware. He also argues for more than one production site and wonders whether or not the common elements between the Sicilian and South Italian production originate from common Athenian prototypes.

Following a similar path, Serino explores the relation between South Italian and early Sicilian red-figure production through the case study of the Himera Painter workshop and a contextual approach of the Attic imports. His innovative analysis and the detailed examination of the workshop’s style and iconography lead him to the conclusion that it should be dated to ca. 420 BCE and not in the early fourth century, as previously thought.

Quite interesting is the study of the material from a residential area of Megara Hyblaia, which includes both Attic and early Sicilian red-figure. Pouzadoux and Rouillard examined the shapes and iconography of both wares and conclude that in the fifth century Attic imports dominate the scene, while in the fourth century local production prevails. It is noteworthy that in the Sicilian production (and among Attic imports) the krater appears in large numbers, followed by skyphoi and other drinking vessels, while there is an increase of smaller perfume containers and hydriai after 400 BCE.

The Sicilian trilogy is followed by Diego Elia’s overview of the red-figure workshop at Locri Epizephyrii. Encompassing a variety of methodological approaches, the author outlines the two phases of the workshop—the Sicilian at first, and then the Locrian—and presents their prevailing shapes and iconographic themes. One of the most interesting points of his contribution is the comparison of the local red-figure production to other contemporary crafts (e.g., coroplastic).

Last but not least come two papers on Etruscan red-figure pottery authored by Maurizio Harari (with an Appendix by Mariachiara Franceschini) and Lisa C. Pieraccini and Mario A. Del Chiaro. Harari’s essay offers a new interpretation of the conversation scenes decorating the exterior of ca. 50 Etruscan kylikes, known as the Clusium cups. Banal and repetitive at first sight, these formalized depictions of a dressed female holding a fibula and a horn and facing a nude man are ingeniously associated by the author with eschatological and Dionysiac iconography. In his conclusion, Harrari considers the conversation scenes in relation to the tondos and interprets them as reflections of erotic and Dionysiac elements of the human and mythical sphere, respectively.

A famous Etruscan red-figure krater of ca. 350 BCE is the topic of the last essay of this volume. Pieraccini and Del Chiaro examine the Greek myth of Admetus and Alcestis and how it is transformed in Etruscan vase-painting. Taking into account the occurrence of the myth on other forms of art, they trace common elements between the composition on the krater and tomb paintings, pondering the relation between monumental painting and the red-figure ware. Despite the interesting outcome of their research, their examination would have benefited from a discussion of the Dionysiac thiasos depicted on the reverse side of the vase, and how it may correlate with the main narrative of Alcestis.

Overall, this comprehensive group of essays is a welcome addition to the studies of red-figure pottery and will be of interest to archaeologists, ceramologists, and scholars of iconography alike.

Looking at Laughter: Humor, Power, and Transgression in Roman Visual Culture, 100 B.C.-A.D. 250

This book, with 24 superb colour plates and 119 figures, is the first proper study of visual humour in Roman elite culture. The only previous attempt, by J.-P. Cèbe, 1 amounts to an excellent survey of Roman literary parody on the one hand and a poor overview of visual humour on the other. Clarke states that literary studies have led the way in which we study Roman humour and that only 2% of the population’s humour, the elite’s, has really been studied: to study visual humour based on material evidence offers a much larger spectrum of investigation. As far as paintings and graffiti found on the street, in taverns and baths are concerned, as well as humour on clay oil lamps and applied medallions, it is a sound argument. However, most of the images discussed by the author are paintings and mosaics found within Pompeian houses, i.e., an elite setting, and usually within the more private sections of these very houses and villas. This is both the disadvantage and the great value of this book. Clarke’s methodological approach is archaeological. Although much humour can be found in clay and cheaper materials, we usually do not know the context. Clarke’s primary interest in the comic paintings and mosaics found in houses is that they were either found in situ or their original setting can be located. Thus potential viewing mechanisms and differentiated viewers can be can hypothesised.

Clarke begins with a short theoretical chapter which lays down the principles of the book and Clarke’s special interest in theories on social humour, with Bakhtin’s work on carnival and bodily humour at the forefront. 2

Clarke is clearly fascinated by issues of viewing mechanisms and this book is a fine example of his method. He writes, ‘The best antidote to fanciful overinterpretation is to insist on the circumstances of creation and reception for each visual representation’ (9). His diagram in fig. 1 is a model for the production and reception of visual art in ancient Rome. The questions he asks are ‘Who is the patron? Who is the artist? How is the viewer addressed? Who is the viewer?’ for Clarke these questions are fundamental for any interpretation of Roman Art. I would argue that for smaller, cheaper objects produced for the market rather than instigated by a patron, one would have to study the mechanisms of fashion and market production. Their original context is paradoxically not that important as anyone from any class could afford to purchase this sort of material.

No scholar of humour is immune to overinterpretation, and this is especially true in a book on visual humour. Comic genres and mechanisms (parody, caricature, situation comedy, visual puns, surprise, etc.) are similar in all cultures but reference points and taboos differ, sometimes dramatically, in time and place. Humour keeps shifting from category to category, and cannot be fitted neatly into clean-cut theories. When studying humour in iconography, one needs to observe how different a ‘potentially’ comical image is from its ‘serious’ model or ‘usual’ series. If an image stands alone, without serious comparisons, one cannot be sure if it was intended to be comical. Unfortunately this is a difficult process when studying ancient artefacts. To add to these difficulties, one is also influenced by one’s own culture in the study of humour.

Clarke is aware of some of these issues, which he discusses from the very beginning (9). He also shows, (43), that ‘it is clear that ancestor masks and veristic portraits… were meant for veneration, not derision—no matter what facial flaws they preserved for posterity.’ The advantage of studying many comical representations enables Clarke to differentiate caricature from theatrical masks, and these from veristic portraiture, and doing so, presents the reader with the dangers of overinterpretation and ignorance in a study of visual humour.

Pp. 44-49 on graffiti are interesting, mostly in their use of language rather than caricature narrowly defined. There are exceptions as it would seem that Romans found baldness amusing, or at least Suetonius did ( Iulius 45) when he describes Caesar, glad to wear a laurel wreath on any occasion as it covered his baldness. There is a graffito, Rufus, fig. 9, on the north wall atrium of the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii, showing just that.

In pp. 60-62, ‘controlling defecation: a humorous admonition’, Clarke describes some of the best humour in the book. A hilarious relief shows the great Jupiter hurling a thunderbolt at a crouching man, clearly defecating in the wrong place. This is best understood in the context of the many graffiti against shitters such as Cacator cave malum (‘shitter beware!’).

Clarke discusses paintings and mosaics of guard dogs which he considers to be funny, because they seem to be ‘real’ dogs. He considers this illusion to be comical and describes it as a ‘double-take’ (51). Yet, no home-owner who uses today guard dogs and puts a sign up ‘beware of the dog’, or a sticker to this effect, would ever think that this was intended as a joke. Further, Clarke considers the mosaics showing ‘unswept floors’ ( asaratos oikos) to be comical (57-60). These mosaics were found usually in the triclinium, the dining area. The floor was often slightly depressed to help cleaners wash the floor after the event, as diners threw bones and detritus directly on the floor. It is not the mosaic showing an unswept floor that is comical as Clarke argues but surely incongruous details, like a little mouse nibbling on rejected food, as on a ‘unswept floor’ mosaic in Rome, fig. 19, signed by Heraklitos.

In Chapter 4, Clarke tackles the difficult question of apotropaic laughter. His main point is that laughter dispels the evil eye, and that a number of such images are found in the fauces, or vestibules, of houses. It is an accepted notion that dangerous spaces were often found at doorways, and in the Roman house images of Priapus, or huge phalluses, flying, attacking, appear. 3 As far as laughing at these images is concerned, I would only agree that this is true of some of these images, when they clearly use the comic mechanism of exaggeration (see below on Priapic imagery): for instance, Clarke describes the so-called mosaic of the Evil Eye in Antioch in the House of the Evil Eye (2nd Century A.D.), which shows the evil eye itself being attacked by a trident, a scorpion, a snake, a dog, a centipede, a feline, and a bird. A masked dwarf turns his back to it but aims his gigantic phallus and spiked crown at it while clicking two crossed sticks. Anything else? The image is funny, because nothing is left out to batter the evil eye, usually never shown in this fashion.

In Chapter 5, Clarke focuses on Romans laughing at pygmies and Aethiops. Clarke writes on the use of dwarfs and other deformed beings: they were like ‘lightning rods, to pull away the forces of evil from non-deformed individuals through the laughter they incited, when a Roman encountered a visual representation of deformed, phallic dwarfs in a liminal—and therefore dangerous—space, he or she understood that laughter was the point’ (67). I agree with Clarke on his interpretation of these creatures as representations of the ‘Other’, so ugly in contrast to the Roman ideal man: as such their various sexual antics must have raised a few laughs. Unfortunately, Clarke goes a step further when he considers them to be representations of the opposite of the dominant power in a colonial context (89-107). He compares Roman Imperial Rule in Egypt to British Rule in India (86) but the comparison is unconvincing: there certainly was a sense of the Other in India, but it preceded British Rule. I do not think that Romans considered pygmies to be apotropaic images, nor that the colonial aspect was what made people laugh specifically at pygmies or was at the origin of the vision of Egypt as an exotic wonderland. Pygmies were funny visual creatures since at least the 6th century B.C. (e.g., on the François Vase). 4

The solution to this problem may be in Egypt’s distinct status from all other provinces of the Empire. On entering Aegyptus Province, one entered a special land, which had been considered since 30 B.C. to be the emperor’s personal possession. Roman Egypt was a mysterious land that few could visit: it was therefore an imagined and imaginary place. The presence of the pygmies getting up to funny and smutty acts may have been political mockery aimed at Imperial rule, rather than, as Clarke states, at the colonised. These funny images may originate from the need for certain rich provincial Romans to laugh at imperial greed, its desire to keep Egypt ‘off the map’.

Clarke then offers his interpretation of a painting in the House of the Doctor, Pompeii (104-105, pl. 8). After rightly disregarding previous interpretations (‘anti-Semitic’, etc.) of this parody of the well-known Judgment of Solomon from the Old Testament (1 Kings 3:16-27)—where the figures are clearly parodied using pygmies, gestures, and the use of a butcher’s knife in a ‘noble’ scene—he places this painting within the framework of ‘mocking elite pretensions’. The presence of a scene from Jewish lore in a Pompeian context is puzzling at first glance. Clearly Jews came and went to Pompeii like any other Roman town, and there even seem to be some graffiti describing kosher garum. However, to understand the parody, one would have to know the original story. On the other hand, would this story have been recognised by a Pompeian as ‘specifically’ Jewish? The story may have become by the first century part of wider group of stories, wise deeds of great monarchs, maybe originating in Alexandria where there was a large Jewish community. This would be a parody of one of these ‘good stories’. In this respect, a parody of an ‘exotic’ story would fit well with the other paintings in the house. 5 In conclusion, there is humour but not much apotropaism in pygmies.

A large section of chapter 6, ‘Who’s laughing? Modern Scholars and Ancient Viewers in Class conflict’, could have been placed at the beginning of the book, with Clarke’s critique of former philological and often morally Victorian approaches to Roman visual humour. It is a methodological chapter on philological over- and misinterpretation. He discusses one of the funniest images in the book, a painting of a lion buggered by an ass, crowned by a victory for his act (of bravery?). He rightly criticises previous interpretations, which ‘transform an embarrassing dirty sexual image into an almost clean allegory of a historical event!’ (111). Clarke discusses the reasons for the presence of this image, with parallels in other representations (a clay lamp from Vindonissa, fig. 47 a mould from Magdalensberg, fig.48).

Clarke’s aim, to pinpoint what the common Roman laughed at, is somewhat flawed because of his own methodology, as discussed above. But, when the context is right (taverns, street painting and graffiti) or the type of material (cheap oil lamps or medallions) his views are generally convincing.

Clarke’s use of Bakhtin’s concept of the carnavalesque is often very apt: the ‘popular’ parodies at the Tavern of the Seven Sages in Ostia and Pompeiian taverns, are images of reversal: social class role, language and bodily function (120-132). Clarke’s discussion of ‘making fun of elite intellectual pretensions’ at the Tavern of the Seven Sages, in Ostia is one of the most convincing sections of the author’s book. These are clever parodies of the Seven sages, who instead of being like the ‘statues that Roman viewers would see in the villas of the wealthy or in lecture halls’ (125), are here, in a place where common people ate, drank and chatted. Solon the Athenian, for example, has Ut bene cacaret, ventrem palpavit Solon (‘To shit well Solon stroked his belly’) and Thales of Miletus Durum cacantes monuit ut nitant Thales (‘Thales advised those who shit hard to really work at it’). Clarke explains with much care, the different labels, and rightly argues that this is a good example of the Bakhtinian angle on the class struggle between elite and ordinary men: bowels and parody!

In Chapter 7, Clarke’s comic interpretation of the small paintings found in the House of the Menander in Pompeii (Regio I, 10, 4) is highly convincing. These are parodies of known mythological stories (e.g., Theseus and the Minotaur, Pasiphae and Daedalus, Marsyas and Athena) through the use of dwarfs with deformed bodies. Clarke argues that they were for close viewing. These dwarfish heroes are ‘marginalia’, incongruous figures on the edge. 6

Clarke also discusses a parody of Augustus’ well-known use of Roman founding myths, especially Aeneas and Romulus, to support his dynasty. This amazing painting was found in a zone called the grottoes of the Masseria di Cuomo. Aeneas, carrying his father Anchises and holding his son Ascanius by the hand are all dog-headed apes with huge phalluses. Although the painting with Romulus is badly preserved, it would seem that he was similarly parodied. It is a shocking parody and Clarke, convincingly, explains the presence of this scene within the context of a Pompeiian resentment of Roman rule, and especially Augustus’ dynastic pretensions. This image was well-known in Greece too, and was parodied all the same in the 5th century B.C. where no underlying political satire is needed to understand the images, 7 but in the light of Augustus’ overbearing use of Roman myth, this Pompeiian parody probably did have political connotations. Clarke describes a plausible ancient viewing in the following way: ‘the patron who commissioned the painted images of the ape-Aeneas and ape-Romulus was fed up with his [Augustus’] propaganda. He or she happily laughed at these parodies and knew that guests invited into the room where those images formed part of a decorative frieze would also laugh at them’ (154).

Part 3, on sexual humour, is a shaky one in some respects. Clearly our view of sex is different from that of the Romans and Foucault has clearly shown that sex is an eminently cultural act. But to extrapolate, as Clarke does, that most Romans were unabashed by sex scenes seems a little exaggerated. I would argue that, just like the Greeks, the Romans held a strong belief in the separation between what is done and shown in public and what is private. Just as the author argues that certain comic scenes would not be found in the main atrium but in the more private sphere of the house, the same should be said about explicit sex scenes.

The comical interpretation of some sexual scenes must be right: Clarke describes a situation comedy scene on a small terracotta lamp, fig. 79, with Leda having sex with Jupiter the swan. The funny detail here is Cupid helping out the couple by pushing the big bird ‘into’ Leda. One only wishes that Clarke had offered us many more scenes from small terracotta objects like these.

Clarke then considers a scene with Pasiphae and Daedalus in the House of the Vettii (oecus p, north wall, Regio VI, 15, 1) to be comical, because he is presenting her with the wooden cow on wheels which resembles toy animals on wheels made for children. How else was the painter to show the fake cow? A scene from the tablinum h, north wall, of the House of Lucretius Fronto in Pompeii (Regio V, 4, a), shows Mars and Venus on a bed. He is holding her breast. Further to the right the presence of Vulcan can be reconstructed from his exomis. The story is funny to an extent in Homer ( Od. 8.265-365), but Clarke may have overinterpreted the humour in this painting.

Clarke also considers Hermaphrodites to be comical, but Hermaphrodite’s myth is not comical, nor intended to be so. Surprise is important to arouse humour, but it is not humorous in itself. Clarke also considers these sculptures to be apotropaic because they are sometimes found over doorways. They were also found in gardens which did not need much protection, but did have unusual sculptures to surprise the visitor. Clarke also finds comical the scenes of Hermaphrodites involving Pan and Silenus, whom he calls ‘would-be rapists’, about to be surprised or scared by ‘a creature with female breasts and fully erect penis’. As far as I can see, Pan and Silenus do not seem to be scared in these paintings, and why should they be? Silens are known since the 6th century B.C. for copulating with anyone and anything they can penetrate, amphorae, donkeys, does, men and women.

Clarke’s interpretation of Priapus is much more interesting. He describes him beautifully (184) as a ‘phallic scarecrow’. He was often found in gardens to protect against thieves (see the great quote from the Priapea about his ‘sceptre’ which ‘will go into the guts of a thief all the way, up to my crotch and the hilt of my balls’ [188]). Viewers did not laugh at Priapic representations, except when they were clearly intended to be funny such as the Priapus weighing his gigantic phallus at the entrance of the house of the Vettii in Pompeii (Regio VI, 15, 1), fig. 92, against a sac of coins. Another funny representation is that of Mercury with a huge phallus above a bakery in Pompeii (Regio IX, 12, 2), where quite clearly, as in Greece, the difference between Hermes and hermaic pillars is humorously blurred. It is the exaggeration of the phallus’ size that lends itself to humour. 8 In chapter 9, ‘Laughing at human sexual folly’, Clarke discusses the uses of human sexual humour.

Although there is a funny mosaic in the Baths of the Trinacria in Ostia (Regio III, 16, 7) with the inscription: Statio Cunnilingiorum (the joke here is that statio usually refers to the various offices, stationes, arranged around the Forum of the Corporations), most sex scenes at the Suburban baths in Pompeii were more smutty, titillating rather than raucously comical.. Clarke’s interpretation of the amazing ‘sexual orgy’ scenes (acts of fellatio, of men performing cunnilingus on women, lesbian women and foursomes) in the Suburban Baths is ‘laughing at taboo sex’ (194). All these images were found above the numbered boxes where one left one’s personal belongings. Clarke gives the best and probably only answer to the presence of these images at the baths, ‘as if the numbers were not sufficient, the artist added an unforgettable ‘label’ atop each box: a sex picture! Even if the bather forgot the number of the box, he or she was not likely to forget the picture’ (195). Other explanations Clarke offers on their apotropaic nature are unconvincing. Further, he writes that ‘given the stigma attached to the practice of fellatio it was an act that no freeborn woman would admit to’ (196). ‘Admit to’ is the correct expression: also, Roman women did not write much about their sexual practices. Who would know if they did or not perform fellatio, as this is a matter for the privacy of the cubiculum ? As far as the cunnilingus scene in room 7, scene IV, fig. 98, is concerned, the key to the scene is in the special nature of the Suburban Baths. They were the only baths in Pompeii where the same facilities were shared by men and women alike, at different times of the day. Images should reflect both male and female customers. Although Clarke writes that in the face of ‘such taboo-breaking…the expected response could only be laughter’ (212), rather than being highly comical, these images were smutty. The problem of the titillation by the forbidden is well-known. One just needs to think of Suetonius’ account of Tiberius’ never-ending sexual depravities on the island of Capri!

Why did one need apotropaic images in baths? According to Clarke, it is because ‘of the danger that a person so envies the beauty of another that he or she directs the Evil Eye at that person’ (74). However, baths were famously dark places. Seneca ( Ep. ad Lucilium, 86) says about public baths that they were obscura et gregali tectorio inducta. Thus, little could be seen in the baths, and therefore there was little to be envious of.

The other good source for sexual/popular humour is visual humour on cheap objects available to all. 9 Discussing ‘Hercules in drag’, ( 172-179), Clarke explains how in Greek myth (Soph. Trach.247 Apoll. Bibl. 2.6.3 2.7.8) Hercules is only enslaved by Omphale, in contrast to Roman myth where he is made to exchange clothes with her, and forced to perform womanly tasks, such as spinning wool. Clarke describes an Arretine bowl, with Hercules in woman’s clothing looking back at Omphale, wearing his lionskin and wielding his club. It is a comic scene of inversion. As for many scenes described by Clarke in the Roman world, there are Greek precedents: for instance, there is a funny exchange of clothes between Herakles and Omphale on an Attic pelike in London. 10 The gender-bending scene on the Arretine bowl is comical because of the usually unbeatable masculinity of Hercules, but I would argue that Greek myth tells us that in the end, even man-eater Omphale bore Herakles two sons. 11 He was not that feminised after all. Ultimately the myth has a moralistic feel to it, on the high price of love and its compromises. One only wishes that Roman artists had shown Hercules spinning wool: now that would have been really funny!

Chapter 9 is also interesting in that Clarke focuses mainly on inexpensive objects. Among the clay objects discussed in this chapter, two types seem to be found in many parts of the Roman world: oil lamps and moulded medallions applied to hand-thrown jugs. For example, fig. 112 shows a woman ‘riding’ a man while playing with his shield. He says orte scutus est (‘Careful! That’s a shield!’). Another funny one, fig. 115, shows a man and a woman making ‘acrobatic’ love. Cupid helps him stay in place. The balancing acts seen in fig. 118 are amusing to an extent. 12

With its flaws and some overinterpreted scenes, this is a pioneering study, the most engaging and erudite study of Roman elite visual humour so far. It also promotes and exemplifies Clarke’s viewing mechanisms already discussed in previous publications. 13 However, Clarke has insisted so much on the importance of understanding paintings and mosaics within their original context that his own archaeological guidelines unfortunately leave little space for objects without context, but these offer us a good insight into the Roman psyche, into what the common man thought, even without a precise context. It is also quite unlikely that these clay objects were produced for a patron, but for the marketplace, and therefore a glimpse of what was enjoyed by the entire populus.

1. Cèbe, J.-P. (1966). La caricature antique et la parodie dans le monde romain antique, des origines à Juvénal. Paris: Boccard.

2. Bakhtin, M. (1984). Rabelais and His World. Trans. Helene Iswolsky. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.

3. On the Greek origins of phallus birds, see Boardman, J. (1992). “The phallos-bird in archaic and classical Greek art.” Revue Archéologique : 227-242.

4. Attic black-figure volute-krater, Florence, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, 4209 Beazley, J. D. (1956) Attic Black-figure Vase-painters. Oxford: 76.1, 682 Beazley, J. D. (1971). Paralipomena Additions to Attic Black-figure Vase-painters and to Attic Red-figure Vase-painters. Oxford: 29 Carpenter, T. H., Mannack, T., Mendonca, M. (1989). Beazley Addenda, 2nd ed. Oxford: 21. From Italy, Chiusi signed by Kleitias and Ergotimos 570-560 B.C.

5. The latter argument was kindly offered to me by Katherine Dunbabin.

6. See M. Camille on humor in medieval manuscripts. Image on the Edge. London: Reaktion Books, 1992.

7. See for example an Attic red-figure neck-amphora, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, 76.46 Beazley, J. D. (1963). Attic Red-figure Vase-painters 2nd ed. Oxford: 654.13, 1572, 1664 Burn, L., and Glynn, R. (1982). Beazley Addenda. Oxford: 135 Carpenter, T. H., Mannack, T., Mendonca, M. (1989). Beazley Addenda, 2nd ed. Oxford: 276 Mitchell, A. G. (2004). “Humour in Greek vase-painting.” Revue Archéologique : fig. 22. From Capua attributed to the Charmides Painter 460-440 B.C.

8. See for example an Attic red-figure pelike in Berlin, showing a bird sitting on the perch-phallos of a herm: Antikensammlung, F2172 Beazley, J. D. (1963). Attic Red-figure Vase-painters 2nd ed. Oxford: 581.4, Burn, L., and Glynn, R. (1982). Beazley Addenda. Oxford: 128 Carpenter, T. H., Mannack, T., Mendonca, M. (1989). Beazley Addenda, 2nd ed. Oxford: 263. From Italy, Etruria attributed to the Perseus Painter 490-460 B.C.

9. This has been my own starting point in studying popular visual humour in Greece: Mitchell, A. G. (2004). “Humour in Greek vase-painting.” Revue Archéologique : 3-32. Mitchell, A. G. (2007). “Ancient Greek visual puns: a case study in visual humor”, in Attardo, S., Popa, D. (eds.) New Approaches to the Linguistics of Humor. Galati (Romania): 197-216. And Mitchell, A. G. (2009 in press). Greek Vase Painting and the Origins of Visual Humor. Cambridge-New York: Cambridge University Press.

10. See Attic red-figure pelike, London, British Museum, E370 Beazley, J. D. (1963). Attic Red-figure Vase-painters 2nd ed. Oxford: 1134.7 Carpenter, T. H., Mannack, T., Mendonca, M. (1989). Beazley Addenda, 2nd ed. Oxford: 333 Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae VII, pl. 30, s.v.‘Omphale’ 2. From Nola (Italy) attributed to the Washing Painter 440-420 B.C.

11. Think also of the 50 daughters of Thespius Herakles impregnated over 50 nights, described in Paus. 9.26.4.

Watch the video: The customers cried when they saw this one (June 2022).


  1. Kerrie

    I don't like it.

  2. Nikiti

    brute force)

  3. Coyne

    if blown away by the wind?

  4. Yabiss

    It's time to get down to your mind. It's time to come to your senses.

  5. Tusar

    wonderfully, very entertaining thought

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