Red-figure krater. Sacrifice of Iphigenia.
4th c BCE Greek Attic red-figure Ceramics
(active 360 BCE - 350 BCE)
c. 360 BCE-350 BCE
4th c BCE
London. British Museum.
This 4th century vase painting depicts an episode from Homer's epic story of the Trojan War. Although the "Iliad," is dedicated primarily to the portrayal of masculine bravery and friendship, the attitude toward women was central to the epic. The battle was fought to obtain the return of Helen, the beautiful wife of one of the Achaean lords, who had been seduced by the handsome Trojan prince Paris.
Female sacrifices are an integral part of the story, for in order to obtain a fair wind to sale for Troy, the Greek leader Agamemnon had sacrificed his daughter, Iphigenia. The sacrificial scene is illustrated here. Needless to say, Iphigenia's mother Clytemnestra, was not happy about this turn of events, and she murdered Agamemnon when he returned from Troy many years later. A second female sacrifice was of the Trojan princess, Prolyxma, on the grave of the hero Achilles, to help him on his way into the netherworld. This did not make her mother very happy either, and she took her revenge on the Greeks. These stories of action and revenge provided much fodder for Greek dramatists, as well as for Greek vase painters.
Schliemann believed that it had been the Mycenaeans who had fought on the Greek side. Therefore, he thought that he had found the fabled city of King Priam when he excavated at Troy, and the grave of Agamemnon when he excavated at Mycenae on the Greek mainland.
ILLARPERSIS PAINTER | Red-figure krater. Sacrifice of Iphigenia. | c. 360-350 BCE | Greek | Attic Red-figure