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121 Adrianou Street Plaka 10558 Athens Greece

Archaic black-figure amphora with Achilles and Ajax playing a board game

Hand-painted archaic black-figure amphora depicting Achilles and Ajax playing a board game. Replica of the original 6th centure BC mastepiece made by Exekias

Hand-painted archaic black-figure amphora depicting Achilles and Ajax playing a board game. The amphora is a replica of the original 6th centure BC mastepiece made by Exekias, which is currently on permanent display at the Museum of Vatican in Rome.

Exekias was an ancient Greek vase-painter and potter who was active in Athens during the 6th century BC. The amphora, signed by Exekias as both potter and painter (Exekias epoiesen = Exekias made), depicts Achilles and Ajax playing a board game, which might be compared to a backgammon or checkers variant and was played with a dice.
Both men are identified by their names written on the amphora. The two men sit across one another, looking down at a block situated between them. Both, Achilles and Ajax are heavily armed as being on duty, accompanied by their body armor and holding their spears, suggesting that they might head back into battle at any moment. Achilles is portrayed wearing his helmet, indicating his dominance, while Ajax is shown with his heel slightly lifted, suggesting that he is nervous around Achilles.

There is no known literary source from the 6th century BC in Athens regarding a narrative involving Ajax and Achilles playing a board game. Exekias could have been inspired by an innovating composition from a local oral bardic tradition relating to the Trojan War.

 

Dimensions

18 x 36 x 18 centimeters
7.09 x 14.17 x 7.09 inches

Material

Clay

Color

black-yellow

€300.00

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