Agora Object: Agora XXX, no. 273
Chronology:   Ca. 440 B.C.
Deposit:   B 19:12
Published Number:   AV 30.273
References:   Object: P 18279
Wall fragment. Glaze dull and misfired reddish here and there on inside and outside; slightly abraded. Max. dim. 0.107. H. A. Thompson, Hesperia 17, 1948, pl. 67:4; Matheson, Polygnotos, p. 354, cat. no. P 37.

Theseus and the Minotaur. At the left is an Athenian youth (most of head, left side of body to mid-thigh) standing to right, holding in his left hand a lyre (tips of arms and crosspiece missing). He wears a himation. In front of him is Theseus (right arm with sword, a bit of drapery or end of scabbard), also to right. Relief contour.

Parallels for the youth holding a lyre do not seem to occur in other red-figured representations of this scene. See E. R. Young, "The Slaying of the Minotaur: Evidence in Art and Literature for the Development of the Myth, 700--400 B.C." (diss. Bryn Mawr College, 1972), p. 158, who points out that the lyre occurs in the victory dance on the François Vase, Florence 4209 (ABV 76, 1; Paralip. 29, 1; Addenda 21; M. Cristofani, Materiali per servire alla storia del vaso François [Bollettino d'Arte, Serie Speciale 1], Rome, 1980, fig. 65: the figure of Theseus) and in the slaying of the Minotaur on the cup in Munich by Archikles and Glaukytes, 2243 (ABV 163, 2; Paralip. 68, 2; Addenda 47), also on a late-6th-century cup in Taranto by the Edinburgh Painter (ABV 476, 3): there the lyre is hanging up. On Bologna 177, a stamnos by the Agrigento Painter (ARV2 577, 53; Philippaki, Stamnos, pl. 48:3, side A only), Theseus and the Minotaur appear on the obverse, and a man offering a lyre to a youth, accompanied by a male, appears on the reverse, but it is far from certain that the two scenes are connected (Beazley separates his description with a period, not a semicolon, indicating that he considered the two unrelated; see ARV2 p. xlvi). In view of all this, the statement by Brommer (Theseus: Die Taten des griechischen Helden in der antiken Kunst und Literatur, Darmstadt 1982, p. 45) is puzzling: "Ebenfalls auf attischen Vasen beider Techniken kommt öfter einer Leier in der Hand eines Zuschauers vor."

Polygnotos (ARV2 1030, 32).