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A man wrestles a lion while other figures look on.

The shallow rim and symmetrical handles are black and there are geometric floral and swirling designs on the neck and body of the vessel. There is a central figure who is nude and wrestling a lion, two figures stand to either, one is nude and reaches towards the lion while the other wears a tall helmet, clothing with geometric designs on it, and a shield. There are curling floral designs around the figures and black shapes above them, though it is unclear if they are flora or fauna.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Near Exekias
Neck Amphora (storage jar): Herakles and the Nemean Lion; Theseus and the Minotaur
Work Type
540-530 BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Attica
Archaic period
Persistent Link


Level 3, Room 3400, Ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Art, Ancient Greece in Black and Orange
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Physical Descriptions

41.3 cm h x 31.5 cm diam (16 1/4 x 12 3/8 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
David M. Robinson, Baltimore, MD, (by 1958), bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1960.

State, Edition, Standard Reference Number

Standard Reference Number
Beazley Archive Database #310424

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of David M. Robinson
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Group E amphora.

On side A, Herakles wrestles with the Nemean lion between Iolaus and Athena. Herakles stands in the center facing right and strangles the lion, clinching his neck. On the left is Iolaus (Herakles' companion) who moves to the left and looks back over his shoulder. On the right stands Athena, wearing her customary peplos and helmet, and bearing a shield.

On side B, Theseus battles the Minotaur between two maidens. Theseus, the Athenian hero, stands in the center facing right wearing a short garment and ani mal skin. With his left hand he grasps the Minotaur (half man, half bull), stabbing the monster with a short sword. The hero is flanked on either side by two maidens, both wearing floor-length, decorated peploi.

On the shoulder, a cockfight. The neck is decorated with a palmette-lotus chain and tendrils, palmettes, and lotuses appear beneath the handles. Added red and white provide detail including the mens' hair and the womens' skin, respectively.

Both of these scenes were popular during the mid-late sixth century BCE

Publication History

  • J. D. Beazley, Attic Black-figure Vases, The Clarendon Press (Oxford, England, 1956), p. 148
  • David M. Robinson, Unpublished Greek Vases in the Robinson Collection, American Journal of Archaeology (1956), 60.1, 1-25, p. 7-9, no. 8, pl. 5
  • Diana M. Buitron, Attic Vase Painting in New England Collections, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1972), p.30, no.11
  • Thomas Carpenter, Thomas Mannack, and Melanie Mendonca, ed., Beazley addenda : additional references to ABV, ARV² & Paralipomena, Oxford University Press (UK) (Oxford, 1989), p. 62
  • Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC), Artemis (Zürich, Switzerland, 1999), Vol. 5, Herakles 1807.

Exhibition History

  • The David Moore Robinson Bequest of Classical Art and Antiquities: A Special Exhibition, Fogg Art Museum, 05/01/1961 - 09/20/1961
  • Attic Vase Painting in New England Collections, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 03/01/1972 - 04/05/1972
  • Re-View: S422 Ancient & Byzantine Art & Numismatics, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 04/12/2008 - 06/18/2011
  • 32Q: 3400 Greek, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at