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Currently shown

Red-figure Calyx Krater: Origins of the Samnite People

Location

SOUTHERN ITALY, CAMPANIA

Era

5th-3rd c. B.C.E.

Culture

Italiote

Title

Red-figure Calyx Krater: Origins of the Samnite People

Date

4th c. B.C.E.

Materials

Earthenware, painted decoration

Dimensions

53 x 42.1 x 29 cm

Credits

Gift of Claude Paradis, inv. 2019.100

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

This large calyx krater depicts the mythical origins of the Samnite people, referred to by the Greek historian Strabo in his Geographica. The warrior scene, which centres on a female figure wearing an Italic helmet, likely represents the conflict between the Sabines and the Umbrians, who occupied an area to the northeast of Rome. Seeking the aid of Ares, god of war, the Sabines promised him the entire year’s harvest, but it was not enough to satisfy the god, so they further pledged to him all the babies born that year. Upon reaching adulthood, they were sent away to establish a colony in the south of Italy, guided by a bull. After conquering the territory, the bull was sacrificed to Ares (figure seated in the upper register on the reverse).

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