The murder of Rhesus and the plunder of his horses by Odysseus 

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On the main side of the krater, the Homeric narration of Doloneia Rhapsody (Iliad K 433 et seq.) is depicted in detail. According to the myth, the Greeks, headed by Odysseus and Diomedes, dispatched the Thracian King Rhesus and his warriors, who fought alongside the Trojans, and stole his famous horses.

In the center of the upper zone, Rhesus is depicted sleeping on a richly decorated mattress and pillows. Diomedes approaches from the left, holding a sword and is about to kill him. To the right, the goddess Athena indicates the assassination of Rhesus to Diomedes, as his power made Troy impregnable. The fire they lit when they camped outside the walls of Troy, burns in front of them. In the lower zone, Odysseus moves Rhesus' horses away from his camp. They are painted white, since they were whiter than snow according to Homer. To the left of both zones, three Thracian comrades of Rhesus are sleeping. Their Thracian military equipment is also depicted: the alopeke (fox fur cap), a pelte (a crescent-shaped wicker shield) and two spears. To the right, Rhesus' parents are watching the scene, the Muse (above) and the River Strymon (below), who has ram horns on his head, a feature quite common in the iconography of rivers.

Caption Apulian Volute Krater depicting the murder of Rhesus and the stealing of his horses by Odysseus

Mythic people Muse / Muses (Deity), Odysseus (Hero), Diomedes (Hero), Athena (Deity) ,Strymon (River), Rhesus (King)

Type Clay object

Artist/Creator Darius Painter, Apulian workshop

Origin Taranto, Italy

Current position Antikensammlung der Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Index number 1984.39

Dating 340 BC



SMB-digital | Apulischer Volutenkrater

Giacobello F., Il furto dei cavalli di Reso nella ceramica apula, στο Iconografia 2006. Gli eroi di Omero. Atti del convegno internazionale (Taormina, Giuseppe Sinopoli Festival, 20-22 ottobre 2006). 2007, σελς. 207-215.

Points of interest


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