2016 | 20 | 27-45
Article title

In the realm of the scheme. The limits of interpretation in exploring Archaic Greek visual culture. A case of black-figure lekythos from Krakow

Selected contents from this journal
Title variants
Languages of publication
The aim of this paper is to examine the possibilities of interpretation using readings of pictorial schemes on Archaic Greek vases on the example of a black-figure lekythos from the collection of the Institute of Archaeology of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. The current interpretation of the scene on the vase describes it as setting out for the hunt. It is argued here that this scene represents warriors setting out for war, in line with the first interpretation of this piece made by Piotr Bieńkowski. Furthermore, it is argued that since the readings could always be plural, the creator of the vase made deliberate attempts to limit interpretation, however, the vase can still retain its interpretational freedom if put in a viewing context that stimulates unorthodox readings.
Physical description
  • Anderson J. K. 1975. Greek chariot-borne and mounted infantry. AJA 79, 175–187.
  • BADB. Beazley Archive Pottery Database. Retrieved from http://www. (status as of June 1st, 2016).
  • Barringer J. M. 2001. The Hunt in Ancient Greece. Baltimore, London.
  • Barthes R. 1977. Rhetoric of the image. In R. Barthes, Image, Music, Text, trans. S. Heath, 32–51. London.
  • Barthes R. 1986. Elements of Semiology, trans. A. Lavers and C. Smith. New York (11th ed.).
  • Barthes R. 2005. System mody, trans. M. Falski. Krakow.
  • Beazley J. D. 1956. Attic Black-figure Vase-painters. Oxford.
  • Beazley J. D. 1971. Paralipomena. Additions to Attic Black-figure Vase- painters and to Attic Red-figure Vase-painters. Oxford (2nd ed.).
  • Bérard C. 1983. Iconographie – iconologie – iconologique. Études de Lettres 4, 5–31.
  • Bernhard M. L. (ed.) 1976. Zabytki Archeologiczne Zakładu Archeologii Śródziemnomorskiej Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego. Warsaw, Krakow.
  • Bieńkowski P. 1917. O lecytach greckich w krakowskich zbiorach. Sprawozdania Komisji Historji Sztuki 10, 1–30, 143–150.
  • Bothmer D. von 1963. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: United States of America 12, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 3. New York.
  • Boulter C. G. 1971. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: United States of America 15, The Cleveland Museum of Art 1. Princeton.
  • Brouwers J. J. 2007. From horsemen to hoplites: some notes on archaic Greek warfare. BABesch 82, 305–319.
  • Brouwers J. J. 2010. Warfare and Society in Early Greece. From the Fall of the Mykenaian Palaces to the End of the Persian Wars. (PhD thesis, Vrije Universiteit). Amsterdam.
  • Bulas K. 1935. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: Pologne 2, Collections de Cracovie. Krakow.
  • Carpenter T. H., Mannack M. and Mendonca M. 1989. Beazley Addenda: Additional References to ABV, ARVp2s and Paralipomena. Oxford.
  • Chandler D. 2007. Semiotics. The Basics. London, New York (2nd ed).
  • Durand J. L. and Schnapp A. 1989. Sacrificial slaughter and initiatory hunt. In C. Bérard (ed.), A City of Images. Iconography and Society in Ancient Greece, trans. D. Lyons, 53–70. Princeton.
  • Greenhalgh P. A. L. 1973. Early Greek Warfare. Horsemen and Chariots in Homeric and Archaic Ages. Cambrigde.
  • Haspels C. H. E. 1936. Attic Black-figured Lekythoi. Paris.
  • Helbig W. 1902. Les hippeis athé niens. Mé moires de l’Acadé mie des inscriptions et belles-lettres 37, 157–264.
  • Hurwit J. M. 2007. The problem with Dexileos: heroic and other nudities in Greek art. AJA 111/1, 35–60.
  • Kunze-Götte E. 1973. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: Deutschland 37, München, Antikensammlungen, ehemals Museum Antiker Kleinkunst. Munich.
  • Kunze-Götte E. 1982. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: Deutschland 48, München, Antikensammlung 9. Munich.
  • Lissarrague F. 2001. Greek Vases: Athenians and their Images, trans. K. Allen. New York.
  • Lissarrague F. 2010. Transmission and memory: the arms of the heroes. In E. Walter-Karydi (ed.), Myths, Texts, Images. Homeric Epics and Ancient Greek Art. Proceedings of the 11th International Symposium on the Odyssey. Ithaca, September 15–19, 2009, 191–207. Ithaca.
  • Marconi C. 2004. Images for a warrior. On a group of Athenian vases and their public. In C. Marconi (ed.), Greek Vases, Images, Context and Controversies. Proceedings of the Conference Sponsored by The Center for the Ancient Mediterranean at Columbia University, 23–24 March 2002, 27–40. Leiden, Boston.
  • Matheson S. B. 2009. Beardless, armed, and barefoot: ephebes, warriors, and ritual on Athenian vases. In D. Yatromanolakis (ed.), An Archaeol- ogy of Representations: Ancient Greek Vase-painting and Contemporary Methodologies, 373–413. Athens.
  • Mayence F. and Verhoogen V. 1949. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum Belgique 3, Bruxelles, Musées Royaux du Cinquantière 3. Paris.
  • Miścicki W. 2015. Both sides matter? Reading Greek vases using pictorial semiotics. The problem of syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations of the image. SAAC 19, 107–128.
  • Mommsen H. 2013. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: Deutschland 94, Berlin, Antikenmuseum ehemals Antiquarium 14, Attisch schwarzfigurige Amphoren. Munich.
  • Morgan L. 1985. Idea, idiom and iconography. In P. Darcque and J.-C. Poursat (eds.), L’iconographie minoenne. Actes de la Table Ronde d’Athènes, 21–22 avril 1983, 5–19. (BCH Suppl. 11). Athens.
  • Packard P. M. and Clement P. A. 1977. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: United States of America 18, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art 1. Los Angeles.
  • Papuci-Władyka E. 2007. Ceramika antyczna w zbiorze zabytków starożytnych Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego. In J. Śliwa (ed.), Egipt, Grecja, Italia... Zabytki starożytne z dawnej kolekcji Gabinetu
  • Archeologicznego Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego. Krakow.
  • Papuci-Władyka E. 2012. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: Poland 11, Cracow 1, Jagiellonian University Institute of Archaeology 1 and Jagiellonian University Museum. Krakow.
  • Picard C. 1941. Une Cimaise thasienne archaïque. MonPiot 38, 55–92.
  • Plaoutine N. 1938. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: France 14, Musée du Louvre 9. Paris.
  • Pottier E. 1926. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: France 5, Musée du Louvre 4. Paris.
  • Schnapp A. 1997. Le chasseur et la cité: chasse et érotique en Grèce ancienne. Paris.
  • Snodgrass A. M. 1999. Arms and Armor of the Greeks. Baltimore.
  • Sourvinou-Inwood Ch. 1991. ‘Reading’ Greek Culture. Texts and Images Rituals and Myths. Oxford.
  • Stansbury-O’Donnell M. D. 1999. Pictorial Narrative in Ancient Greek Art. Cambridge.
  • True M. 1978. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: United States of America 19, Museum of Fine Art, Boston 2, Attic Black-figured Pelike, Kraters, Dinoi, Hydriai, and Kylikes. Boston.
  • Wees H. van 2004. Greek Warfare: Myths and Realities. London.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.