. 4
( 8)


1 bird
2 birds 23
3 birds
4 birds

Table 3.4. Birds and winged creatures
next to lions (no human element present)

number of birds occasions

0 birds 166
1 bird 9
2 birds 5
3 birds 0
•i birds

Figure 3.16 Confronting sphinxes from an olpe in Frankfurt (Museum fur Vor- und Fruhgeschichte

This structure accounts for nearly half (42 per cent) of later scenes containing lions.
Birds and avian forms may be described as mediating and mixing various fields,
themes or meanings: they may be both domestic and associated with wild animals;
connected with floral and geometric forms (artifacts out of the ordinary); coming
between people and domestic dogs; between people and lions (two orders of violent
aggression). Sphinxes mix the lion, bird and person. If the similarity of lions and
soldiers breeds contagion, birds overcome it. This may be summarised in Figure
Art and the Greek City State

Figure 3.17 A scene containing lions upon a conical oinochoe from Perachora in the National Museum,
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 95

Figure 3.18 The space of the sphinx.

what are these birds that have come from Ocean's stream, from the ends of
the earth,
these wild duck, dappled necked, wide-winged?
Alkaios Lobel and Page 345
The general works of Thompson (1936) and Pollard (1977) make it clear that, for
the Greeks, there was a complex set of images and references surrounding the avian.
Birds variously were conceived as having magical powers and medicinal value; deities
took the form of birds, and human metamorphosis too was often into bird-form.
They were kept as pets, and given as gifts between lovers (Pollard 1977: 139-40). Of
course, birds were also the subject of divination. Even (pseudo-) Aristotle's treatment
of birds was predominantly mythographic (Historia Animalium: esp. book 10).
More particularly relevant to my inquiry, because concerned with near-contem-
porary texts and sources, are Schnapp-Gourbeillon's study of animals in Homer
(1981), and Vermeule's Aspects of Death in Early Greek Art and Poetry (1979). Birds in
Homer are not classed with animals, are not so much 'animals' as of another order,
'other', never integrated into the world of men (Schnapp-Gourbeillon 1981: 178,
190). The epiphanies of gods occur not as animals, but exclusively as birds. Their
otherness and association with divinity makes of birds a sign of the beyond. The
appearance of a bird is never without significance; their song and flight is sign of or
from divinity, requiring interpretation, the ambiguity and mystery a function of the
distance between men and the gods (ibid.: 178f).
An and the Greek City State 96

Figure 3.19 Sphinxes and people: four scenes. Sphinxes rarely interact with people upon Korinthian pots,
but here are four examples:
1 a detail of A frieze upon a cup from Samoa (see also Figure 3.27);
2 an aryballos in and from Syracuse, Fusco cemetery;
3 a cup (Perachora 67 3);
4 aryballos (Taranto 4l73).
Associations are clearly and consistently with violence and soldiery, the hunting of lion, and with
arbitration (of a horse race here; note also the judgement of the goddesses by Alexander upon the Chigi
Olpe. Perachora 673 appears to be either a hunt or a herding of sphinxes, a taming of wild sphinxes -an
ambiguity of the wild and the domestic? Upon the Chigi Olpe a double sphinx conies in the midst of a
scene of male activities: hunting and arbitration or judgement, and the procession, display or racing of
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 97

he rots away staining the earth with his blood
and there are more birds swarming around him than women.
Iliad 11.394-5
Dogs do hunt with men and are therefore, with the horse, associated with the
heroic hunter (Schnapp-Gourbeillon 1981: 164); but for the most part dogs are
below the level of the human, and to compare someone to a dog is an insult. Though
domesticated, dogs eat dead heroes (ibid.; 168). Birds too eat the dead, cleansing
carrion: 'on you the dogs and the vultures shall feed and foully rip you' (Iliad
22.335-6; the Iliad opens with such a scene, 1.4-5; see also 24.409f). This disequi-
librium between domestication and feeding upon men places dogs, like birds, be-
tween order and disorder (Schnapp-Gourbeillon 1981: 168-9). Vermeule connects
this cleansing function, eating, with burial and sacrifice. 'The gods oversee both
sacrifice and burial, which are both acknowledgements of order and responsibility'
(Vermeule 1979: 109). Burial and sacrifice are ways of avoiding pollution, as is the
scavenging of dogs and birds. So in keeping order in this way, birds and dogs are
allies of the gods.

they lay on the earth, much more beloved of vultures than those with whom
they shared their beds.
Iliad 11. 161-2
A further metaphor is of eating and sex. The dead hero in Homer is like a female
'loved' by attentive animals, dogs and birds (Vermeule 1979: 235, n. 24); and so too,
when the city falls, will the hero's wife and children be in the same position. Birds and
dogs go with eating, sex and death.
More generally it can be noted that culinary codes have been a favourite topic of
structuralist analysis of ancient myth, interpreted as basic principles of cultural
organisation (see for example Detienne 1977; Detienne and Vernant 1989; Mason
1987; Vidal-Naquet 1981b).
Vernant (1991b: 123-5) adds further connections to dogs, birds, eating, sex and
death: barking, horses, snakes and the female Gorgo, Vermeule completes her
assemblage with the sphinx: 'a waiting sphinx, a dog-bird or lion-bird of a kind, had
been involved in such deaths since late Mycenaean times' (Vermeule 1979: 105).
The sphinx was described as kuon (dog) (Sophokles, Oidipous Tyrannos 391; Ais-
khylos fr236 N2). In Hesiod the Sphinx's half-brother is Kerberos the dog (Theogony
311). Sphinxes do appear in late Mycenaean funerary scenes and were used as grave-
markers in the sixth century (Vermeule 1979:68-9). Less secure an association is the
identification of the sphinx with keres, Homeric death daimones (in Aiskhylos the
Sphinx is called harpaxandra Ker, (Ker, ravisher of men): Seven against Thebes 777).
Art and the Greek City State 98

From the end of the sixth century, sphinxes are shown carrying off young men (for
example Boardman 1968: Chapter 7, esp. 68). As Vermeule picturesquely describes
the sphinx: 'she combines the clawed body of a man-eater with the wings of a raptor
and a face made for love, and clumsy man who prides himself on his intelligence is
likely to end up eaten in her cave, a bordello full of bones, and a cavernous passage to
otherplaces' (Vermeule 1979: 171).

and with limb-loosening desire she has a look
more dissolvant than sleep or death
Alkman Davies 3.61-2
Vernant (1991c) has elaborated upon this association in Greek literature of death
and the female, an exchange between eros and thanatos which dates back beyond
Hesiod, who had woman and death created together. 'In its fearful aspect, as a power
of terror expressing the unspeakable and unthinkable - that which is radically 'other'
- death is a feminine figure who takes on its horror' (ibid.: 95), as Gorgo or Ker. But
death may also appear as beautiful woman, sweetly deceitful, as sphinx or siren or
harpy, albeit with the claws of a wild beast. In this connection, and with reference
also to floral pastoral idyll, I mention Vernant's observations (ibid.: 107) of the
parallels between Kalypso's island and that of the Sirens. A flowering meadow
encircles the island of the Sirens (Odyssey 12.158) who sing to seduce and destroy
passers-by on rocky reefs. Kalypso too sings seductive songs in her pastoral idyll
(Odyssey 1.56-7; 5.61), offering Odysseus escape from death (5.136, 209 and
elsewhere), while he longs to die (1.59).

Faces, heads, and the look of the panther
Lions may not appear with people very often, but theirs is a similar aggressive
environment. And simply in terms of numbers, lions are a significant character or
design feature.

then the rage tripled took hold of him, as of a lion.
Iliad 5.136
(see also Tyrtaios West 13)
In terms of animal metaphor and simile, the lion is the most important creature of
the Iliad. The animal incarnates, displays and signifies the qualities and values of the
hero: menos and alke (Schnapp-Gourbeillon 1981: 40f). The lion is like the hero,
indifferent, autonomous, provocative. Solitary hunter, the lion is opposed to domes-
tic animals and those who tend them, shepherds and peasants. The lion consumes
krea, the word used for meat obtained after sacrifice (ibid.: 56); this consumption
implies the act of sacrifice (ibid.: 151). And it is the mark of prosperity and the hero to
eat meat. So the lion enjoys the same food and the same pleasures of the hunt as the
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 99

hero. The lion is both adversary and equal of the hero. As the hero is distinct from the
mass of society, so the lion is opposed to domestic and other animals; as the hero is
opposed to his enemy, so the lion is opposed to the society and world of the peasant
{ibid.: 57). Schnapp-Gourbeillon describes the lion as 'sauvage socialise' {ibid.: 63).
Heroes are not like the herd of ordinary people, they are part of a world beyond, or
rather liminal characters, often in contact with divinity (ibid.: 197; see also Nagy
1979). So too, for Hesiod at least {Theogony 327-32), lions were creatures of myth;
lions were no longer to be seen wandering the mountains of Greece. They were
exotic creatures of eastern sculpture and painting (Payne (1931: 68f) identifies the
schema behind the Korinthian lion as Hittite, later Assyrian).
Animals, as those upon the shoulder of the Boston aryballos with which I began,
are drawn in profile, and so they run, step, graze or leap in lines which flow around
the pots. Interruptions to the linear flow come with change of direction and with
floral and geometric devices which provide punctuation. Both of these may attract
attention, but the friezes keep to a world of their own: the animals and people follow
or look at each other, or act upon one another, punctuated by lozenges and flowers.
However, the lion looks OUT from the friezes. The only animal drawn full-face the
lion. There are thirty-six big cats which look out from the friezes (an eighth of all lions
and felines). They are conventionally called panthers: frontal felines are labelled
pardalis on an Attic cup in Boston (61.103; Amyx 1988: 663 for discussion). Some
frontal felines in this sample are spotted (for example a lekythos from Perachora;
Amyx 1988: 30). The only other confrontation with a face is through the heads
modelled upon the top of four aryballoi (Taranto 4173; ibid.: 38; the Macmillian
aryballos in the British Museum, ibid.: 31; Berlin Pergamonmuseum 3773, ibid.: 32;
Louvre CA 931, ibid.: 38), gorgon-heads painted upon a shield and below an
aryballos handle (the Macmillan aryballos again), and a small female figure modelled
upon the outside of an oinochoe (from Aetos; Robertson 1948: No. 1026). What is
the significance of these faces?
The meeting of eyes is a recognition of the other, of their similarity (the gaze
returned), and their difference (separation is the condition of a returned gaze). A
panther looks at the viewer of an aryballos. It is different, not a person, but through
the returned gaze, it is similar. So I argue that the look of the panther draws the
viewer into the scene, effects an association or identification of the viewer and the
frieze, by means of the panther. In however small a way, we too are like and different
to the panther or lion and its animal world, like and unlike the analogous world of the
hero. The gaze returned mirror-like is also a confirmation of the self of the viewer, a
self defined in terms of the world looking back (Lacan 1977 on the 'mirror-phase').
And if we might wish to belong with that world, then the eyes are those of desire,
another experience of the returned gaze.
As I have described, there are images of the violent world of the hoplite, particular-
ly in some later friezes. The returned gaze of the opponent is an experience of close
battle. I will later delve into the experience of soldiery and hoplite warfare, but here
mention that phalanxes joined in combat involve a particular perception of individ-
ual and group. The hoplite has to be one of a formation phalanx, moving and fighting
Art and the Greek City State 100

with fellow hoplites. Individual urges and actions of the hoplite are dominated and
transformed by the needs of the phalanx to keep together and push forward; the
individual becomes one of the group. Anonymous within helmet and armour, the
hoplite in phalanx achieves human and direct contact with the enemy through the
eyes; the moment of individual contact is that of the returned gaze of the enemy over
the top of shields locked with fellow hoplites.
A late eighth-century grave in Argos, excavated in 1971, contained a bronze
helmet with two extra eyes embossed on the forehead (Deilaki 1973: 97-9, Pl. 95e).
Korinthian potters painted the Korinthian helmet (Figure 2.7). A new invention
for hoplite warfare (Snodgrass 1964: 20-8), it gave all-round protection at the
expense of hearing and visibility, not so necessary in the phalanx as in open and
one-to-one free combat. The Korinthian helmet focuses battle experience even more
upon the gaze, eyes cut out from sheet metal, the only mark of the person. The only
mark, that is, apart from shield devices and heroic actions performed. I have already
marked an animal significance of shield devices; and actions performed return us to
the world of the individual hero.
'Eyes meet, and the soldier is confronted with the seducer who has tempted him so
long. The enemy surfaces as a momentary apparition of the soldier's own mirror
image', Theweleit writes in his discussion of the psychology of the warrior male in
inter-war Germany (1989: 195). The returned gaze is also erotic. Vermeule connects
the world of violence and sexuality in Homer (1979: l0lf; Vernant 1991c: 99f)-
Girard has also presented an analysis of violence and desire in Greek literature.
Violence may be rooted in a rivalry based upon opponents sharing a desire for
something (Girard 1977: 145). An association between sexuality and violence also
exists through their respective dual characters and through notions of exchange and
sacrifice. Violence is both terrifying and seductive (ibid.: 151). When purified
through ritual, violence expends itself upon a victim whose death provokes no
reprisals, no bloodfeud. It is as in the ritual violence of sacrifice, an exchange (of a
slaughtered victim) to achieve order (between mortality and divinity). Such good
violence is contained and ordered; distinctions between self and other, differences
within and between social groups are established and maintained. This is generative
violence, directed against an other who may be a scapegoat, a surrogate victim,
expelled in a return to differentiated harmony. Bad impure violence is that which
results from a crisis of distinctions, as in fraternal enmity; it is a sacrificial crisis, when
purity is ignored or not possible (ibid.: 43, 51). The dangers of sexuality are incest
and seduction which confuse the distinctions and order of (legal) sexual association,
involving impurity and mixture. Marriage, in contrast, is a legal exchange of women
which serves the reproduction of social order.

The lions facing us may well be panthers, as I wrote above. Detienne (1979: 38f)
has noted that panthers were later thought to be animals which hunt with cunning
and through their scent or perfume which attracts their prey. Deceit and seduction
are related. Perfumes and spices are of the order of the gods, belonging with sacrifice
and so heat. As aphrodisiacs, perfumes arouse and heat the seduced, their sexuality
and excess threatening the order of marriage (ibid.". 60f, 127f)-
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 101

Figure 3.20 Design from en aryballos found in Sellada cemetery, Thera (A419).

Here then is an assemblage which moves from faciality through panthers, violence,
seduction, marriage, social order and disorder, and recognition of what the viewer
may be and become. What, now, of those other faces, gorgon heads?
Grimacing, human yet inhuman, the gorgoneion is a mixture, revealing the alterity
of human and animal. It was associated with marginal states such as death, sleep,
exertion, drinking and music {Frontisi-Ducroux 1984). Vernant (1991b), following
literary references, associates gorgoneia, martial themes, horses, the brilliant gaze,
death, infernal sounds, worlds beyond; Gorgo was also, of course, female. Disquiet-
ing mixture and disorder, 'the face of Gorgo is the Other, your double. It is the
Strange . . . both less and more than yourself... It represents in its grimace the
terrifying horror of a radical otherness with which you yourself will be identified as
you are turned to stone' (ibid.: 138).
With the gorgoneion, mask of death, Vernant (ibid.: 130-1) connects Praxidikai
goddesses who appear only as heads, and who guarantee oaths and execute ven-
geance by incarnating fright and the terrible.
Deleuze and Guattari (1988: 168f) have made an interesting distinction between
the head and the face. The head, not necessarily a face, is connected to the body, is
coded by the body in that it completes the organism. In contrast, a face is when a
head ceases to be part of an organic body; the face 'removes the head from the
stratum of the organism, human or animal, and connects it to other strata, such as
signification and subjectifcation' (ibid.:, 172). Faces, or rather the process of fa-
cialisation, do away with corporeal coordinates to replace them with a system of
plane and holes - the face and expression. 'The face is not universal' {ibid.; 176), but
depends on an abstract system or 'machine' of screen and holes, and which signifies,
goes with the idea of a subject to and behind the face, and forms a different medium
of expression. In contrast, the head belongs with the body, corporeality and animal-
ity. This contrast between animal head and abstract face makes it possible for
Deleuze and Guattari to write 'the inhuman in the human: that is what the face is
from the start' (ibid.: 171). The face provides an overarching layer of identity or
expression, and in so doing makes reference beyond that which is the human or
I noted an association which made reference to heads and helmets with agalmata,
birds and flowers. Strangeness and the special were suggested as connotations.
Art and the Greek City State 102

Korshak (1987) has collected and examined examples of frontal faces in archaic
Attic vase painting. The subjects who gaze out from the vases are satyrs, gorgons,
komasts and symposiasts, fighters defeated or dying, athletes, centaurs. All are male,
female examples only occur later. Masculinity is hereby related with sexuality and
animality (the satyrs), death, the body and lifestyle, through faciality. Korshak
associates satyrs, gorgons and symposiasts via masks (in drama), Dionysos as patron
of drama and wine, and she makes a further association between masks and helmets.
In summary, these all represent 'the coming together of opposites in frontality', that
is occasions 'when governance of the self is relinquished and nature takes hold' {ibid.;
23-4). Vernant and Frontisi-Ducroux (1983) have also noted connections between
masks, the gorgoneion, Dionysos, drink and states of otherness', adding also refer-
ences to virgin huntress Artemis and the animal world.
In sum, these faces extend the assemblage I am following. The face and gaze met
break the order of human and animal, mediating and pointing beyond to identity,
death and desire, states of 'otherness'. Looking at the panther draws in animality,
violence and warfare. And in hoplite warfare are associated the face, the helmet, the
individual in the group, an armoured individual overcoded by the phalanx-group and
the system of heavy armour.

Monsters: identity, integrity, violence, dismemberment
Monsters, such as the centaur upon this aryballos, are a distinctive, though, in terms
of numbers, an infrequently encountered type of creature: there is slightly better than
a one in twenty chance of encountering a monster in a pottery frieze.
Including sphinxes, there are the types of monster shown in Table 3.6.
Sphinxes, griffons, lion men, centaurs and variants: monsters are formed by the
incongruous assembly of animal, bird and human body parts, heads and limbs or
wings. Monsters are amalgams. I point out again the association and importance of
the human, feline and avian in the constitution of monsters: even when sphinxes are
excluded, almost alt monsters make reference to the avian or to the feline. Centaurs
are the exception.
Discussion of monsters in Korinthian painting will follow, but first let me remark
mat this is a very particular kind of monstrosity. Monsters, belonging to the realm of
horror, may be defined by their form, actions, and position vis-a-vis human normal-
ity and understanding. With respect to their form, monsters may be exaggerations,
distortions, amalgams, be formless or look normal. They may threaten, take action
against people, be friendly or indifferent. Carrol (1990) has stressed particularly the
narrative structures into which monsters are incorporated. Monsters may fit normal-
ity, be counterpart or analogy, belong in the gaps or at the edge, or be utterly
other/unknown or unknowable. These Korinthian amalgams appear closely related
to interstitial creatures (neither one thing nor another). Monster forms which do not
appear include, for example, alter egos (looking the same), formless threats, exagger-
ations (giants) and freaky distortions.
In the mixing-up of different parts, the monsters deny difference. And on this basis
the monsters are equivalent, many variations on sphinx, siren, griffon, centaur,
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 103

Figure 3.21 Soldiers, heads and the gaze: an olpe in Hamburg (1968.49) and an aryballos in Boston
(95.11), The heads of the man and the lion upon the olpe are detached from bodies and are united in
juxtaposition here through faciality, a field which I have described as separate from the body and to do
with signification and ultimately identity. The lion's face is like the man's face (beard and mane are drawn
in the same way); lion is as man. The scene upon this aryballos encapsulates so much of the cultural
assemblage that is Korinthian ceramic imagery. Armoured integral hoplite faces monsters, the disjointed
unities of lion and man and bird. The soldier's shield gives his identity as bird. The lion or panther behind
is with him, backing him up (it does not roar at him), and, through the gaze, the viewer is with the hoplite.
So the man is both with and against lion, while his eagle identity mediates. And it is armour, shield and
violence which allow him to face and be at the same time a lion-man, or eagle-man. The mediating role of
the bird is very prominent and clear, The avian, in its associations, forms and placing, is that which comes
between and effects transition. Transitions are between human and animal violence (the hero has to be
bird to become like the lion), and also, as in the presence of the monsters, between an armoured and
protected interior identity, and a fluid and animal otherness which threatens, which may thus be described
as contagious. Ultimately the avian communicates between that which can be controlled and held in and
[hat which cannot. Through violence and the avian the soldier hero approaches another and strange realm.
Art and the Greek City State 104

Table 3.6.Monsters

with human features Animal forms

male protome winged horse
winged protome griffon (eagle-lion)
winged male, clothed griffon protome
lion headed male griffon-bird (griffon head, bird body)
animal bodied male goat-bird
lion with extra male human head lion-bird (bird body)
bird with human head, sex indeterminate winged lion
bird with male human head chimaira (lion-goat-snake)
sphinx, sex indeterminate
male sphinx
double bodied sphinx
horse-man (centaur)
winged centaur

chimaira; animal, bird and person. The mixture of different parts can be taken to
deny the apparent stable differences between animal and human forms.
Empedokles, thinking and writing in the early fifth century, conceived the prehis-
tory of bodily and organic form in three phases (Kirk, Raven and Schofield 1983:
302-5). At first animals and plants were in pieces, then the parts were joined anyhow,
and only in the final phase emerged the whole and 'natural' forms of animals, birds
and plants. Canetti (1962: 432-3) also works with such a mythical and primitive age
of fluidity and transformation, as opposed to emergent fixity. Deleuze and Guattari
(1988) propose a distinction between the molecular and the molar {comparable with
Canetti's distinction between pack, and mass or crowd). The form of the molecular is
multiplicity; it is constantly becoming something else through non-genetic or non-
structural transformation, affinity, contagion and infection, flowing beyond bound-
aries. In contrast, the molar is a stability of identities and forms, and involves relations
of conjugality and reproductive filiation. Korinthian monsters are of the molecular,
forming a (heterogeneous) assemblage - lion, bird, person, monster. Monsters, in
their Korinthian variety, are different from the animals which appear clearly
speciated, posed and identifiable, painted in lines.
With these distinctions (pack and crowd; molecular and molar) Canetti and
Deleuze and Guattari are concerned with relationships between the individual and
the group, which includes the relationship between animal identity and species or
pack. For Deleuze and Guattari, 'every animal is fundamentally a band, a pack'
(1988: 239). By this they mean that animals may be classified according to character-
istics extracted by natural history and science, but they remain more and something
else; animality is an order which cannot be wholly subsumed beneath signifying
Biers has noted that Korinthian plastic vases in the form of animals and monsters
(Amyx 1988: 512p33;Ducat 1963; Payne 1931: 170-80) were made by combining
and recombining wheelmade body parts, handmade accoutrements, moulded head
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 105

and painted decoration. He uses Amyx's phrase of 'inventive hybridisation' (1988:
66 0 to describe this process of assembling ready made parts (Biers 1994: 509).
I have had cause already to refer to Girard's contention (1977: 51) that violence
can result from a crisis of distinction (his context is that of late archaic and classical
Greek literature). A disordered loss of difference is intimately related to violence,
because order and peace depend on difference: equilibrium may lead to violence in
an attempt to establish a preponderance of one over another, whether it is good over
evil, the hero and his enemy, or a boundary between pure and impure. As Theweleit
puts it, mentioning a German military saying that war will break out when men and
women become so alike that you can hardly tell them apart: 'war accompanies the
disappearance of the signifier' (Theweleit 1989: 51), a state of becoming-animal',
according to the conception of animality just described.
Upon this aryballos of Figures 1.1 and 3.1 the clothed warrior opposes a centaur
and its denial of integral human form, but the centaur is part human. Horses too are,
with only ten exceptions (out of ninety-four), always shown bridled and ridden or
harnessed to chariots, associated with men. The centaur has something of the
swordsman: both hold the staff, and the brandished staffs or weapons mirror each
other. There is an ambiguity or dialectical tension in the antithesis; I have remarked
already that the surrounding ornament seems to confirm this dialectic of opposition
and similarity. Behind the pair is a ceramic stand, agalma, prize, symbol of the agon.
If equivalence and equilibrium can lead to violence (the mobile swordsman behind),
then justice may appropriately be imbalance, winners and losers, the outcome of this
conflict, the artifact standing to one side - prize for the winner?
Mediation and contest: the two later scenes which feature stands, dinoi and kraters
(Taranto 4173; Amyx 1988: 38) and from the Athenaion, Syracuse (ibid.: 44) are
both races. Horses on one and chariots on another race towards robed figures. Are
these figures judges? On one a sphinx stands in attendance. Of the ten unarmed and
long robed figures in the sample, six can be interpreted as being in a position of
mediation. Of these, two on earlier pots hold what may be interpreted as wreaths.
The 'abduction of Helen' (Louvre CA 617; ibid.'. 23; Fig. 3.2), mentioned earlier,
can thus be interpreted as two (racing?) riders and two swordsmen (rather than
Castor, Pollux, Theseus and Perithoos) separated by an arbitrator or judge, hands
upraised (the figure of 'Helen'}- A similar argument may be made about the scene
upon the aryballos in Oxford also illustrated in Figure 3.
Between monsters and people are protomes or severed heads without bodies. Play
on the connection or separation of head and body is brought to maximum visibility in
the aryballoi (later) which have modelled human and lion heads on aryballos bodies.
Instead of monstrous bodies, the lion and people heads are attached to ceramic
bodies. Some of the ceramic and metal dinoi and cauldron stands grow protomes
too, of avian creatures (reference again to the assemblage of human, lion, bird,
monster). Mention may be made again of plastic pots in the form of creatures.
An analogy or association is implied between pots and bodies. This is already
familiar to us in the way parts of pots are described - foot, shoulder, mouth etc. And
here these Korinthian pots are treated in the same way. Some Geometric pots are
Art and the Greek City State 106

Figure 3.22 An aryballos with sculpted lion head from Kameiros cemetery, Rhodes.

furnished with raised mastoi (breasts) (DuBois 1988: 47f), and plastic vases else-
where suggest the vase as body:
Aux mains des potiers, le vase est comme un corps qu'ils faconnent. Notre
vocabulaire decrit metaphoriquement l'anatomie du vase, parlant de son col,
de sa panse, de son epaule, de son pied, ou de sa levre. Du meme en grec
Ancienne parle-t-on de la tete d'un vase, de son visage (proiopan)i de ses
oreilles pour les anses. Le vase a une bouche (stoma), un venire (gaster),
parfois un nombril (omphalos). Tel Promethee, fabriquant les premiers
hommes avec de la glaise, les potiers ont joue de ces metaphores.
(Bron and Lissarague 1984: 8; see also Lissarague 1990: 56-7),

Hesiod {Works and Days 60f; Theogony 572) has Hephaistos, divine artisan, create
Pandora, the first woman, out of earth and water. And, like a pot, she is decorated
and filled with qualities given by the gods. Homer also implies (Iliad 7,99) that men
are formed of water and earth. Du Bois (1988) has made much of Hesiod's account of
the creation of Pandora in her study of the metaphors surrounding woman in Greek
iconography and literature before Plato. She suggests a metaphorical series, woman-
earth-vase/container-body, in her argument that an archaic set of images of woman
as fertile, self-productive and self-sufficient was altered to become less of an ideologi-
cal threat to masculinity (ibid.: 46f, 57f 132f). I am not so happy with the cultural
context of the Greek from earliest times to Plato adopted by DuBois: it is too wide.
And the analogy between pot and body seems to involve more than just the female -
here, for example, there are lions and avian forms. But whether the gendered
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 107

interpretation of DuBois is accepted or not, I think it can be accepted that there is an
association or play upon the analogy between ceramic and bodily form. And refer-
ence is also made to productive activity and manufacture as transformation: earth
transformed into (clay) body, oil and scented flora into perfume, fruit of the vine into
wine for mixing bowl. I will return to this connection.

Violence, experiences of the soldier, the animal and the body
Violence and confrontation, perhaps arbitration through conflict, is a theme of the
aryballos I have been considering. Violence and competition are a significant part of
the imagery, as I have indicated. 155 out of 238 human figures (65 per cent) are
armed or fighting. Most of the animals are characteristically aggressive and male;
lions, boars, bulls, goats, rams. Animals are hunted (twelve scenes), lions roar and
attack (58 per cent of lions roar; there are thirteen scenes of a lion attacking or pulling
down another creature). Goats butt each other, and boars, bulls and goats stand in
opposition to lions and each other. (See below on the apparent exceptions: birds,
deer and dogs). Out of 184 human figures in thirty-two scenes upon twenty-seven
later pots, 102 (55 per cent) are hoplites, heavily armed with helmet, shield, spear(s),
and sometimes sword and body armour. All except one are fighting or dying.

Hoplite reform? The hoplite scenes have been examined to see if they show
a change of warfare suspected at this time (some time in the first half of the seventh
century) (for example, Salmon 1977). War is supposed to have become more open,
with a shift from aristocratic heroes fighting singly, to formations of citizens of the
new polis fighting together in phalanx. This change of fighting mode is also supposed
by some to be related to a change in weaponry - the development of a hoplite package
of heavy body armour, helmet, distinctive large two-handled shield and stabbing
spear. The supposition stems from a passage in Aristotle about the replacement of
cavalry by hoplites leading to a widening of the constitution {Politics 4.1297b:
16-29). This is backed by comparing Geometric battle scenes with those on later
pots, contrasting battle scenes in Homer with those in later literature, and speculat-
ing on the use of weaponry found after 750.
Much of the literature has debated the character of the supposed hoplite reform,
and its relation with the tyrannies and social changes of the seventh century (some
discussion for Korinth appears in Chapter Two). After a brief review I will side with
i hose students of ancient war who consider less the politics and tactics and more the
experiences of soldiering.
Lorimer (1947) examined particularly the poetry of Archilochos and Tyrtaios for
evidence of a change to massed phalanxes based on the new armour and shield.
Snodgrass, after his work on early armour and weaponry (1964), argued for a gradual
change to new tactics (1965), accepting a hoplite reform, but not that this had great
political consequences. For Van Wees (1994: esp. 148) these military developments
were the consequence rather than the cause of political change. In contrast, I have
mentioned how Andrewes (1956) explicitly associated hoplites with the political
changes of tyranny (tyrants representing the interests of a non-aristocratic hoplite
Art and the Greek City State 108

'class'), a position basically followed by Salmon (1977). He has considered the
emergence of the hoplite phalanx as the catalyst for political revolution: 'it turned
political revolutionaries, with deeply felt grievances but little opportunity to satisfy
their demands, into actual revolutionaries by giving them new military strength. The
introduction of massed tactics was the catalyst in an already explosive situation'
(ibid.: 95). Cartledge too weighed the evidence for and against a sudden change to
hoplite warfare in favour of the former on the grounds that the shield is suitable only
for formation fighting and could not be used in another way, as implied by Snodgrass
(Cartledge 1977:20). Both Salmon and Cartledge suggest a context of discontent for
the supposed military and political changes, but Cartledge, after Snodgrass, plays
down the threat of hoplites to the aristocracy (ibid.: 23; Snodgrass 1965: 114). The
weaponry required considerable wealth; hoplites were not a poor or a middle class,
though they may have defused the assumed contradiction between arete, the values of
aristocracy, and the more recent voices of dike in the polis (Cartledge 1977: 23j
Morris 1987: 198).
In contrast, Detienne (1968) and Vernant (1962) have associated the emergence
of hoplite warfare with the mentalites of the polis. For them, the hoplite phalanx and
citizen body were the same; the hoplite phalanx was the emergence into warfare of
the new order of the polis.
Bowden (1993) reads warfare in the Iliad and Odyssey as images of the hoplite
warfare of the polis, and not an individualistic heroic duelling. Such a radically
different line has been taken by Latacz (1977) and Pritchett (1985) and followed by
Morris (1987: 196-201). They argue that there was no hoplite reform at all, and that
there was no emergence of phalanx fighting; all early Greek warfare was fought by
infantry formations. 'There is no evidence whatsoever to support the theory that
there was a hoplite reform' (ibid,: 198); 'a technical progress in arms is not synony-
mous with a new battle formation, and mass fighting cannot be invoked as constitut-
ing a change in social relationships' (Pritchett 1985: 44). The main points are as
follows. It is argued that Homer's accounts of battles are of infantry formations, with
poetic attention focused upon the promachoi, the front rank of noblest and best-
equipped soldiers. Ritualised duels, such as might be inferred in Homer, were
possible and present in all ancient warfare; and are not inconsistent with formations
of infantry. Chariots in Homer were either not part of the described battle, or were an
effect introduced by Homer where horses would have been used by aristocrats
moving to and around the battlefield (Greenhalgh 1973: 84-95 for depictions of
mounted infantry). Ahlberg's conclusions about tactics (1971: 49-54), after her
study of battle scenes upon late Geometric pots, are inconclusive. However, this
argument against the existence of the reform overlooks and does not explain the
important questions of the apparently different motivations for fighting before and
after the proposed reform, and also the use of uniform equipment for soldiers from
the seventh century,
There is confusion over this politics of warfare (Van Wees 1994 for a compro-
mise)} but some things are clear. There were undoubted changes in weaponry from
750 - armour, the helmet and significantly the two-handled aspis known as the
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 109

hoplite shield. It seems a reasonable point that the design of shield and helmet are
particularly suited to fighting in phalanx. The helmet would not allow easy hearing
and visibility, important in some kinds of open fighting. The heavy shield held close
to the body by virtue of centre strap and rim grip was not very manoeuvrable, more
suited to pushing and static defence than deflecting varied blows and weapons; it also
guarded unnecessary space to the left of the soldier, unless there was a fellow hoplite
there. These remarks take me to another aspect of warfare,

Cultures of war in epic and lyric, and the euklees thanatos Ceramic
imagery has already led to reflection upon eyes, helmets and the identity of the
soldier in a phalanx formation. I suggest a redirection of interest from tactics and
their relationship to weapon forms and class politics to archaic expressions of the
experiences of fighting and associated lifestyles. Consider first epic and lyric portrayals
of the cultures of war.
Warfare is a significant theme of Homeric epic, of course, and of much early lyric.
But the evidence therein of a marked change from aristocratic duels to citizens in
formation is ambiguous and inconclusive. Two passages of Homer (Iliad 13.128-34,
also 16.215-7) describe massed clashes of heavy infantry, shields locked, spears
stabbing. They are the basis of the striking evocation by Tyrtaios of confrontation
with the enemy in what seems to be a hoplite fight (references to shield, spear, helmet
and discipline):

let him fight toe to toe and shield against shield hard-driven
crest against crest and helmet on helmet, chest against chest.
Tyrtaios West 11.31-3
Here the possible difference between heroic duel and infantry formation is not what
The battles of Homer are dominated by the figure of the hero, and I have already
had something to say about him; I will expand with an account of his conceptual
world. The Homeric hero is a complex and subtle figure, and I have no wish or need
to be controversial in interpretation, providing only further dimensions of the assem-
blage I am sketching with some synoptic remarks taken particularly from a reading of
Homer with Adkins (1960, 1972), Frankel (1975), Nagy (1979) and Vernant
The subject of epic is the deeds of men and gods (Odyssey 1.338). In the Iliad the
plain of Troy is no countryside or place, but a space or setting for the doings of men
and gods. Physical features are lacking, except when needed as props, as are the
seasons absent. There are no limits of time and space upon the action; nothing
mechanical or casual happens; the focus is upon the unusual, and all seems sup-
An and the Greek City State 110

pressed except for persons, personal effects and personalised powers. The masses are
in the background (for example, Iliad 17.370-5); the hero shines forth:

There to Tydeus' son Diomedes Pallas Athena
granted strength (menos) and daring (tharsos), that he might be conspicuous
among all the Argives and win the glory of valour (kleos).
She made weariless fire blaze from his shield and helmet
like that star of the waning summer who beyond all stars
rises bathed in the ocean stream to glitter in brilliance (lampros).
{Iliad 5.1-6, 136-8; see also, for example, 11.172f and 11.547f)
Here is romantic admiration of the awe-inspiring individual, the leader like a lion
before sheep, champion apart from the others. The hero is an agathos, head of his
autonomous household or oikos. Associated are arete (position, wealth, excellence
and the privilege of leisure) and time (honour, compensation and wealth owing to
position, and the possessions owned). A primary motivation of the agathos is to
acquire and to hold onto time, or philoi, those things and persons, dear and cherished,
upon which the agathos depended.

Glaukos, why is it you and I are honoured before others with
pride of place, the choice meats and the filled wine-cups
of Lykia, and all men look upon us as if we were immortals?
Therefore it is our duty in the forefront of the Lykians
to take our stand, and bear our part of the blazing of battle,
so that a man of the close-armoured Lykians may say of us:
'Indeed, these are no ignoble (akleos) men who are lords of Lykia,
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 111

these kings of ours .. . since indeed there is strength
of valour in them, since they fight in the forefront of the Lykians'
{Iliad 12.310-21)

The god-like agathos owed his position and its accoutrement to prowess in battle and
this meant that success mattered - action not intention: good intentions matter not to
the dead soldier. The compensation for the risk of the front line was kudos, success
and its glory, the prestige and authority of the victor, and kleos, fame. This makes the
culture of the hero a public one of shame and results, not inward intention and guilt.
The Homeric conception of man is one where man and action are identical, and
there are no hidden depths to the person; the hero is what others say of him. With no
boundaries between feeling and corporeal existence and action, 'he does not con-
front an outside world with a different inner selfhood, but is interpenetrated by the
whole, just as he on his part by his action and indeed by his suffering penetrates the
whole event. . . Even what a man does to others is part of himself (Frankel 1975:
There is clearly an enjoyment of physical pleasures in the hero - food, wine, sex,
sleep and festivity, even melancholy {Hind 13.636-9; Odyssey4. 102-3). But in such
an external selfhood the meaning of the act, indeed existence, lies in death and its
confrontation. When fame and existence depend upon being talked about (and
having deeds done sung in poetry), real death is silence, obscurity and amnesia. So
the hero risks his life in the front ranks; 'life for him has no other horizon than death
in combat ... In a beautiful death, excellence no longer has to be measured
indefinitely against others and keep proving itself in confrontation; it is realised at
one stroke and forever in the exploit that puts an end to the life of the hero' (Vernant
199 Id: 85). And the heroes in Homer do not have lingering deaths.
Vernant (1991a) establishes links between excellence achieved, a beautiful death
and imperishable glory through the song which remembers and celebrates the death,
in a sort of collective memory. The beautiful death is also an escape from the death
associated with ageing. Old age, evil and death are contrasted by Mimnermos with
love and pleasure, the 'flowers of youth' (West 1) (mentioned above in discussion of
flowers see p. 89). Ageing only brings decay, a loss of the kratos or power that allows
the hero to dominate an opponent, misery and an ignoble death. So at the moment of
euklees thanatos, glorious death, the hero guarantees his immortal and heroic youth.
The hebes anthos, flower of youth, is not so much a chronological age, but an attribute
of the glorious death; the hero's youth, hebe, goes with his aristeia, and an heroic
death is always youthful.
Art and the Greek City State 112

it is disgraceful this, an older man falling
in the front line while the young hold back,
his head already white, grizzled beard,
gasping out his valiant breath in the dust,
his bloodied genitals in hand -
this is shameful {aischra) to the eyes, scandalous to see,
his skin stripped bare. But for the young man,
still in the lovely flower of youth {hebes anthos), it is all brilliant,
alive he draws men's eyes and women's hearts,
beautiful felled in the front line.
Tyrtaios West 10.21-30
(see also Iliad 22.71-6)
Here Tyrtaios and Homer both describe the awful and, for Tyrtaios, disgraceful
{aischra) death of an old man; yet this would have been glorious and beautiful for a
young man. There is an aesthetics to the death of the hero (Vernant 1991a; Loraux
1975, 1986; Dawson 1966, on the poem of Tyrtaios).
The beautiful death, as well as being contrasted with that of the old man, is marred
by various things (Vernant 1991a: 67f). Aikia (disgrace) - dirt, disfigurement,
dismemberment, the dogs, birds and fish, worms and rot which spoil the corpse,
deprive it of its wholeness, integrity, beauty. These all threaten the proper securing of
the beautiful death; the purifying funeral pyre which sends the hebes anthos off to
eternity, retaining the corpse's unity and beauty, and the burial mound raised in his
The lyric elegy of Kallinos and Tyrtaios moulds the old epic vocabulary and world
with expression of the experiences of soldiery and with a new outlook of admonition,
instruction and exhortation to fight as the heroes did of old. The call is for men to
fight bravely. The emphasis on the glory and honour of war and death, in contrast to
shame and the misery of disrespect, on the appearance of male performance in war in
the light of opinion, is Homeric. But Tyrtaios (West 10, 11 and 12) and Kallinos
(West 1) also are the first to articulate a new aspect to the ethic of arete: excellence
lying in courage in the service of the country, city and whole community,an appeal
absent from Homer (see Jaeger 1966; Murray 1993: 134-5; Greenhalgh 1972, on
Homer and patriotism).
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 113

No man is of high standing in war
if he cannot stand the sight of bloodlet gore,
set blows at the enemy and stand close.
This is the highest good (ante), here is the noblest prize for men,
the finest for a young man lo win.
And this is a common good for his city and all the people -
when a man plants his feet and stands in the front rank
relentlessly, all thought of shameful (aischre) flight altogether forgotten,
his spirt and bold heart laid on the line,
and with encouraging words stands by the man next to him ...
And he lose* his own dear life, falling in the from rank,
so bringing glory (kleos) 10 his city, his people and his father,
with many wounds in his chest, wounded through his bossed shield
and driven through his breastplate at the front as well.
Such a man is mourned alike by the young and the elders,
and all his city is troubled at the keen loss.
(Tyrtaios. West 12. 10-19 and 23-28)
In contrast, the lyric of Archilochos presents a frank realism before an ideal and
exaggerated sense of epic honour. He is happy to throw away his shield to save his life
-a usual sign of cowardice (dropping a heavy shield facilitates escape) (West 5); and
the idea of posthumous glory is not in accordance with his experience:

No one in this city, once he has died, is honoured and respected. Rather we
living cultivate the favour of the living. It's the dead who always get the worst
of things.
(West 133; see also West 11)
As Frankel puts it; 'the fairy, dream of epic is done with. For Archilochos' self-control
is no longer a means of winning an imaginary final victory over all enemies; it could
Art and the Greek City State 114

Figure 3.23 A fight upon an aryballos from Perachora and in the National Museum, Athens.

only lend stability and power to resist and moderate excessive fluctuations of senti-
ment' (Frankel 1975: 143). Archilochos was a mercenary, living and surviving
through fighting; this may account for him repeatedly asserting the reality of the
present and experience. Fighting was simply part of what Archilochos did.

Grand scenes of war: who is that man?
In contrast to the warriors here upon the Boston aryballos (Figure 3.1), hoplites are
anonymous within helmet, armour, and behind shield. The swordsman's dynamic
upon this aryballos is in his angled limbs. The hoplite's shield and spear are the focus
of his energy. Earlier scenes of conflict and battle, as well as scenes more generally,
pose more questions in the range of juxtapositions they present (Table 2.3), in the
range of situations of violence and aggression. Scenes of battle which contain hoplites
and no other pictorial elements occur only upon later pots; eight hoplites in earlier
and 108 in later scenes. These friezes focus upon violence and weaponry, particularly
shields, and upon the group: there are only nine friezes of hoplite fighting (the hoplite
appears in an average group therefore of twelve). Only the birds lined up in the old
Geometric manner, and bird protomes (human protomes on one pot: aryballos
Thera 419; Neeft 1987: 34.1), appear in groups with no other design element.
Only the hoplite shields mark difference, but one of bird and animal devices (Table
3.2). The hoplite looks like another and another. And they appear in groups, tangled
up in the fight - the hoplite battle is one of the few occasions when the pot painters
overlap figures (other times are the lion attacking or bringing down an animal, and
horse or chariot races: an association is here established). Consider also Payne's
observation of the contrast between Attic and Korinthian miniature painting (1933,
manuscript translation: 6). The Attic scene may focus interest upon a single point or
figure in a wide and otherwise empty field of vision: a star performer in an empty
stage (Payne refers to Beazley's discussion of the Phrynos cup in the British Mu-
seum: Beazley 1928: Pl. 1.1-2 and 4). In contrast, the Korinthian miniaturist fills the
scene with detail and complication, multiplying, not reducing the elements of the
design so that 'the surface seems almost to move before one's eyes, like an ant's nest
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 115

disturbed' (Payne 1933, manuscript translation: 6): all is mixed in the movement
and unity of the whole,
In the tangle of fighting formation the armoured soldier's helmeted head has a
closer pictorial connection to the head of his fellow hoplite than it does to his own
torso or (greaved) calf: consider the depiction upon the Macmillan aryballos (Amyx
1988: 31; Fig. 3.24), with its line of helmets and crests, blazoned shields, and then
legs below. I argue that this is a real and functional connection too. In the phalanx
formation, bodies unite in the 'body of men' and their integration fears disruption
and break-up. (Consider also the poem by Tyrtaios (West 11) quoted above,
expressing the proximity of helmet and helmet, chest and chest, shield and shield,
spear and spear.)
The hoplites appear anonymous. What identity does the hoplite have? And what
identity in the group or phalanx, when helmet relates to helmet, and shield to shield,
rather than to the soldier beneath and behind? In contrast to the rows of protomes
and monsters of dismemberment and incongruous assembly, the physique of the
heavy infantryman is held together and defended by the talismans of his identity- the
weaponry. The hoplite's armour and shield hold him together, but he does face
violence and risks death, risks bloody wounding, dismemberment and monstrous
chaos. So the formation and the equipment forms new, centred bodies, and provides
identity (on arms and the group in another scene of war upon a later Korinthian
alabastron see Henderson 1994: 88).
What more of the identity of the soldier? Pamela Vaughn (1991) has drawn
attention to the difficulty of identification after hoplite battle: facial injury across
shield top was common, and bodies were bloated from being left after battle, cooked
in cuirass, disfigured by the heat of Greek summer sun upon bronze armour.

Experiences of soldiering and techniques ofthe body
In short, anyone who paid attention to the poetry of Sparta. . . and examined the
marching rhythms they used when going against the enemy to pipe accompaniment,
would decide that Terpander and Pindar were quite right to associate valour with
music. The former says of Sparta
Art and the Greek City State 116

Figure 3.24 Soldiers together. A pyxis in the British Museum (1865.7-20.7). Three figures face an
archer. Their identity has been suggested as a multi-bodied monstrous Geryon 1921, page
144, and others after him), facing archer Herakles. I suggest that there are three soldiers overlapped in
formation, facing the representative of a different violence, the archer. The formation and hoplite
equipment form anew centred body and provide an identity when risking death. The Macmillan aryballos
in the British Museum (Amyx, 1988, page 31 ; photograph and permission courtesy of the British
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 117

round hoplite shield - the old man in Tyrtaios. War was not about drawn out,
cowardly 'terrorism ' or guerilla tactics at a distance. Risk was heightened and blood
proliferated, at least in the front ranks. (Alternative experiences of war and battle are
neatly summarised in Keegan 1993.) So what more was hoplite battle about? I have
already discussed the aesthetics of heroic death. There was an aesthetics to the art of
hoplite war.
There is the display of armour, crests and shields. Vernant (1982) has written of
the ceremonial and ritualised character of early hoplite warfare (see also Connor
1988). War is not simply functional behaviour; but let me stay with experience and
the body. The fighting formation moved rhythmically. Pipers accompanied phal-
anxes: this is known from illustration upon Korinthian pots (the Chigi Olpe, Villa
Giulia 22679, Amyx 1988: 32) and an aryballos from Perachora (Figure 3.23).
Henderson has commented (Henderson 1994: 109-10) on the splicing of war and
dance in his reading of a Tyrrhenian neck amphora of the early-mid sixth century
(see also Poursat 1968 and Spivey 1988).
The Korinthian helmet had particular effect upon the look and experience of its
wearer. I have already discussed eyes and the gaze of the enemy. Consider also the
body armour, again so evident in these illustrations. Muscled bronze torsos harden
the hoplite against the spilling of blood and intestines, but follow the contours of the
human body (however idealised). A widespread convention of Greek art is furthered
when the hoplites appear naked apart from their armour and weapons. Other figures
too are drawn naked. Why is this, if not because war and violence are a function of the
body of these men, its aesthetic and politics?
Fighting in formation in this warfare required discipline, rhythmic movement,
trained manipulation of weaponry - the cultivation of distinctive techniques of the
body. This term is part of a realisation that the human form and its relationship with
notions of the self is not, by virtue of its biology, a social constant (Foucault 1975,
1976; Martin, Gutman and Hutton 1988). Different social practices and ideologies
constitute the body in different ways, and experiences of the body are a primary
dimension of people's relationship with the social. Posture, dress, training, disci-
pline, economies of pleasure and pain all help constitute distinctive experiential
lifeworlds (meaning the social world as experienced and perceived) (for comparative
source material: Crary and Kwinter 1992; Feher, Naddaff and Tazi 1989).
These techniques of the body and the bodily lifeworld of archaic violence are clear
also in early lyric poetry. There is much reference to discipline and posture.
Art and the Greek City State 118

The hoplite stands upright and straight in the line. Contrast the death of a monster.
Herakles shoots three-bodied Geryones in the head with an arrow:

it stained with darkening blood
his cuirass and gory limbs.
Geryones bent his neck to one side
just as a poppy spoiling its delicate structure
suddenly lets drop its petals.
Steisichoros Davies S15ii. 12-17
An image from Archilochos is another reference to neck, appearance and bearing:

.. . hair cut short, off the shoulder.
Archilochos West 217
Consider now early Greek sculpture: stone kouroi (and other figurines) (Richter
1970; Stewart 1990: 109-13, 122-6). These were dedications to divinities and are
found associated with graves. The kouroi are all in stiff poses. Why? It is clear that
they are the desired appearance of the ideal male. And they are naked. But there is no
experiment with bodily form. This is not 'natural', not a function of normal artistic
development'. I argue that this artistic conservatism (Snodgrass 1980a: 185) is a
social requirement: contrast the radical experimentation of figures upon Korinthian
pottery. There was no desire to sculpt animated naked males. They are made upright
and hard, representing the valuation of a posture belonging with new and expressive
techniques of the self and body. Simonides, has the agathos, the man of arete (virtue):

hand and foot alike, and in understanding cut foursquare, fashioned without
Page 542.1-3
Tetragonon (foursquare) is reference to tetractys, a Pythagorean term of excellence
and justice, root of harmony and arete (Frankel 1975: 276-7, 308). Tetragonon may
also be connected to technique of manufacture. The method of sculpting kouroi is
clear - separate views were sketched on the four faces of a block of stone prior to
taking it down to the final form.
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 119

The relationship of kouroi to aristocratic ideologies has been well covered. Stewart
associates kouroi, expensive artistic commissions) with the aristocracy and its ideals
(Stewart 1986; Zinserling 1975). As grave-markers they are monuments to aristo-
cratic virtue {kalokagathia) in the flower of youth (hebes anthos). Hurwitt puts it like
this 'The kouros and kore forms were perpetuating symbols of the physical prowess,
moral authority, goodness and beauty that aristocrats (naturally) considered innately
aristocratic' (Hurwitt 1985:198-9). What should be emphasised is the novelty of the
expression of this ideal.
An aside here on another eastern, Egyptian, connection is appropriate. A few
kouroi are to the same proportions as the Egyptian canon of proportions (Guralnick
1978; also Diodoros Siculus 1.98.5-9) The posture clearly owes something to
Egyptian sculpture, even if the proportions do not match precisely (generally on this
relationship: Hurwitt 1985: 190-9).
Further connections can be made between the anatomical detailing of kouroi and
bronze armour (Kenfield 1973). Courbin noted a similar muscle schematic on the
bronze cuirass found in the famous eighth-century warrior's grave at Argos as on an
Argive statue signed by Polymedes at Delphi (Courbin 1957: 353, Fig. 36). Kunze's
study of archaic greaves at Olympia (1991) shows clearly their artistic credentials;
they are not simply functional items. The detailing of the knee joint is common to
both greaves and kouroi (Snodgrass 1991).

Pois and bodies
Discipline, posture, aesthetics of war, hard and ordered physique involved working
practices of sculpture and battle, and ideologies of arete. But what more have the pots
to do with the body? The aryballoi, which carry the main elements of the figured
decoration, were most probably containers for perfumed oil, anointment for the
body. Most of the finds we have come from cemetery deposits (see Chapter 5), laid
down with the body of the dead. And I have already mentioned the connection
between ceramic form and the body, through transformation of earth and water. I
have focused on the appearance of people in the figured paintings in an attempt to
make sense of this scene upon an aryballos in a museum in Boston. But people are in
a minority upon the pots. Let me return to more general impressions.
The scenes break down as shown in Figure 3.26.
The pie chart of Figure 3.26 covers a total of 1,219 figured friezes. There are a
further 2,074 friezes decorated with flowers and geometric designs which ail appear
upon 1,225 pots; I have already pointed out the very frequent occurrence of the
floral. Another 726 pots are decorated only with lines and one other type of orna-
ment. In practical terms this means that there is only one chance in thirty-eight of
coming across a scene containing a person. The general pictorial 'assemblage' is of
ceramic surface linearly covered and ordered, with ornamental deviation from paral-
lel, perpendicular and triangular angularity, and also animals around pots, animals
which are not to do with agriculture and the domestic economy so much as an other
and wilder, even aggressive and violent field. These mingle and interact with other
creatures, including people and monsters. The taciturn linearity of Korinthian
An and the Greek City State 120

Geometric (Fig. 2.11) is opened into 'ornament' and the representation of the form
of animate creatures. The animals are recognised through their bodily form, and the
way this is conveyed in painting. I have already mentioned the play with body parts in
creating monsters. 'Ornament', linear order, and the forms bodies take: there is
nothing else, only a very few artifacts. So this Korinthian design is indeed in large part
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 121

Figure 3.26 The different components of Korinihian figured friezes of the seventh century BC. Values
refer to the number of friezes in which a particular figurative component occurs.

about bodily form. Here reference may be made to Schnapp's general remarks
(1988) about the character of Greek art and its overriding concern with the body.
Animals such as those on the shoulder of this aryballos (Fig. 1.1} appear on the
pots in great numbers and the soldier may conceive of himself as a lion, or one of the
other wild creatures pictured on the pots (lions, boars, bulls, rams and stags comprise
90 per cent of animals shown on later pots). I have indicated already in considering
the eyes of the panther that association between the animal and the person may occur
through the viewer. There are thirty-eight friezes where people mix with animals.
The juxtaposition of the two friezes upon this aryballos may suggest some analogy
between animal and human worlds. There are, however, only nine cases of such a
juxtaposition of a scene with men next to one with animals (dogs excluded, see p.
000). The main connection between worlds of people and animals is that both take
bodily form.
Benson (1995) has argued that flowers act as metaphorical links in some figured
scenes: 'the floral ornaments, in effect, function as would the word 'like' in a literary
context' (ibid.: 163). His point is that major free-standing floral ornaments seem to
occur in positions which point to connections between different elements of the
designs upon the pot, basically mediating worlds of animals and men.

Creatures and men, sauvages socialises
Art and the Greek City State 122

And he will make trial of you by becoming everything - all the creatures
that move on the earth, taking the form of water and fire kindled by god,
Odyssey 4.417-8
When held by the gods on Pharos, away in far-off Egypt, Menelaos discovered how
he may escape home from Proteus, the ever-truthful Old Man of the Sea, who knows
all the depths of the ocean {Odyssey 4.365f). But to get Proteos to speak to him,
Menelaos had to be disguised as a seal and then hold onto the immortal and suffer his
transformations through animality and matter:

... First he turned into a great bearded lion,
and then to a serpent, then to a leopard (pardalis) then to a great boar,
and he turned into fluid water, to a tree with towering branches.
Odyssey 4.456-8 Translation Lattimore
This experience of the 'form of all creatures that come forth and move on the earth' is
one of fluidity and transformation as bodies change; it is a strange experience of the
beyond, a divinity in Egypt. The transformation is also one that involves scent and
divine perfume, for to resist the foul smell of the seal skins, Eidothea, divine daughter
of Proteus, placed perfumed ambrosia, food of the gods, in each man's nostrils
(Odyssey 4 - 441-446).
There is, de facto, the association of animal, human, avian and monstrous form
made by Korinthian pot painters: it is their subject matter. However, animals and
lions are of another order. Upon later pots there are scenes containing both animals
and humans; however, lions, boars, bulls, goats and rams, those masculine and
aggressive creatures, very rarely interact with humans. Those animal friezes which
appear upon the same pots as friezes containing people are almost all domestic dogs.
The dogs run and express a vital animal energy, but this is domesticated, without
threat. So let it be said that animals are like, and unlike humans (the swordsman and
centaur in dialectical tension upon this aryballos in Boston). Lions rage and fight like
the hero, but animals are animated, complex, varied, changeable and unpredictable.
This is especially true of those wild and dangerous animals which figure on the pots.
Opposed to order and domestication, they area threat to societal man of culture.
Considering the appearance of animal metaphor in Homer, Schnapp-Gourbeillon
concludes (1981: 194f) that Homeric animals are not representatives of an all-
powerful Nature, but are part of a cosmogony which contrasts human society with an
other world of the gods. The contrast is between that which is under human control
and that which is not, and animals come between. Animal analogy revolves around
society: to be understandable, animals must be related to social behaviour. In
discussing the animal fables of Archilochos, Frankel argues (1975: 146) that animal
natures need to be typed for simile to work. Animals in themselves are strange,
nonsensical and irrational (ibid.: 200). So for a man to become an animal permits an
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 123

encounter with that world beyond, of divinity (Menelaos as a sea! suffering animal-
ity). To become an animal is to reject society, its norms and collectivity, and to
become solitary, in intermediary spaces belonging to otherness.
The relationships I am exploring are thus as follows: between men and gods;
animals as metaphorical reflections and strange wildness; between social behaviour
and a world of savagery; heroic models and the monstrous; between epic and myth.
Bellerophon appears riding upon winged horse Pegasos and attacking the chimaira
in a scene upon a Korinthian pot (Boston 95.10; Amyx 1988:37; Fig. 2.4). The myth
of the hero has cult associations with Korinth: among other things Pegasos was found
drinking from Korinth's fountain of Peirene (Pindar Olympian 13.63-87). Homer
describes the monster, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle:

it was a thing of immortal make, not of the world of men.
Iliad 6.180

The creature belonged to the world of divinity.
I mentioned above (p. 104), in connection with monsters, the distinction made by
Deleuze and Guattari between the molar and the molecular. The molecular is that
which is not overlain by a dimension of signification: it is not possible to say that it is
or signifies something, because the molecular is fluid and cannot be pinned down
(except by a Menelaos who has become animal himself), because it is a multiplicity
which is strange, always becoming something else. The molar is that which is stable,
controlled and coded. So there are two ways to be like an animal. One is to imitate
that animal entity which has been defined by its form, endowed with characteristics
and assigned as a subject; to identify with it. The other way is to become an animal, to
enter into a relationship with that other side of animality (which is part of us too, as
human-animals), the realm of the molecular; it is to become savage (no orders of
signs and definitions), so that it is difficult to say where animal ends and person
begins; it is to encounter the monstrous, that which cannot be held still. Deleuze and
Guattari (1988: 232f) thoroughly consider this distinction and give many examples
of becoming animal. Some are familiar through popular literature and culture: Ahab
encounters the monster Moby Dick with an irresistible desire to become whale,
consummated in his death attached to the white whale's back.
Deleuze and Guattari (1988: 240-1) specify three types of animal: pets, those with
personal and sentimental relationships with the human ('my' cat); then those ani-
mals with characteristics or attributes, species, classified, domesticated, tamed,
understood animals. Finally there are demonic animals which go beyond singular
definition, animals which are a multiplicity. The relationship with the distinctions
made in Homer is, I think, clear.
The bodily form of animals and men is a subject of Korinthian drawing, but they
are treated somewhat differently. There are thirty-five different types of person (from
riders to robed figures), of which a good proportion are recognisable as hoplites (42
percent); of the types remaining there is an average of four examples of each. There
Art and the Greek City State 124

are 556 lions, boars, bulls, goats and rams drawn in twenty-one different poses: an
average of twenty-seven cases of each animal pose. And the difference in the variabil-
ity of people and animals is even greater than this indicates. Although many men are
hoplites, and I have classified the rest into thirty-four categories, in fact hardly one
figure is drawn like another - postures and activities differ. And whereas I have
characterised the hoplite as anonymous within helmet and armour, and behind
shield, they form varied battle scenes, with winners and losers, some chasing others
fleeing over the dead. Other men are animated in various ways, hunting, racing,
standing with others. So people are different from animals according to the way they
are drawn, according to the things they do as well as the way they look, In contrast to
people, six poses account for 502 animals (90 per cent of those species listed above):
lions standing and roaring, 'panthers' facing, boars standing, bulls and goats 'graz-
ing' (head more or less down}- More than 2,400dogs run around the pots. They may
differ by number of legs shown and some are more care fully and skilfully drawn than
others, but they are all remarkably similar.
Payne (1933 manuscript translation: 21f) made an elegant and sharp observation
of the character of this Korinthian drawing of animals. They were drawn according
to a system of principles (schemes of drawing or formulae) which embody a contrast
between an analytic articulation of the structure or form of an animal, and a synthetic
overlying curvilinear rhythm. Pans of an animal - head, haunches, legs, back, tail -
are articulated, to a greater or lesser degree, under a characteristic contour curve.
And indeed most animals have a distinct curved rhythm, even with the different
abilities, interests and purposes of pot painters. So the animals do not appear in many
poses, and they are very frequently overridden by the discipline of a particular
graphic curve (Fig. 3.30). This does not apply to the men on the pots.
Nor were the painters obliged to draw their animals in this way. The drawing of
people, indeed the whole emergence of this new style of decorating pots, breaking
with the Geometric, shows that they were willing to take risks and experiment. The
awkward angles of arms and outsize heads of the aryballos in Boston are distinct,
different and individual. (This is one origin of the possibility of distinguishing
different painters.) The painter was trying out ways of depicting people. The differ-
ent poses and forms of monsters are further evidence of the willingness to elaborate
and differentiate. And the painters could produce leaping goats, and accomplished
scenes of lions leaping upon animals. But they hardly experimented with animal
form; the wild animals are brought into a regulated code. This is particularly evident
on later larger vessels. The animal friezes stylise and de-animate their animals, place
them under a code, lined up in formal sequence. This is clear from Figure 3.27 which
shows an olpe, technically classified as slightly later transitional protokorinthian.
Why is it that men do different things, interact and overlap in contest and
aggression, or fight and die in armour? Why do animals appear in only a limited
number of poses, stylised, with only formal indications of interaction (two animals
facing)? I suggest that the answer to these two questions is the same. It is to do with
how we may think of our bodies, animality, human and animal, and the animal
within the human.
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 125

Figure 3.27 Stylised animals. Friezes from a later Korinthian oinochoe in the Louvre.

Lissarague (1988) has focused upon the figure of the satyr in later Attic iconogra-
phy, a hybrid creature between men and animals. He reveals a clever play around
anatomy, comportment, gesture and techniques of the body in various fields where
men and animals come together - in sacrifice, the hunt and in the domestic sphere.
En representant les satyres, les peintures cherchent a explorer loutes les
formes de comportements et de gestualites qui definissent L'Homme et
l'opposent a l'animal. Le satyre voit en lui meme a'affaiblir, parfois s'abolir, la
frontiere entre human et animal.
{ibid.: 336}
This iconographic play is about boundaries between men and animals and their
This hybridity finds a different exploration in Korinthian iconography. Animals
are brought TO order in their stylisation upon Korinthian pots, I suggest, because
their contagious otherness threatens. Violence and war are of an experience where
the animal erupts into the human; Diomedes is as a lion in the fight. The soldier in
the fight leaves order and security behind (the ceramic stand as arbitrated order, here
on this aryballos in Figures 1.1 and 3. 1)to risk the otherness of death {the otherness
of the man-animal centaur). Violence, with its associated techniques of the body and
material culture such as armour, allows the soldier to find identity with his bestial
interior while avoiding being devoured by it. The animal interior threatens, so men
upon the pots do not usually appear with the lions. And the lions are anyway
de-animated, controlled through their stylisation.
I might say that the death risked through violence does not oppose life. The figures
on the pots are animated precisely through violence. Carter (1 972: 38-9) has argued
that an interest in depicting narrative and action lay behind orientalising Greek
borrowing of eastern design. Payne remarks on this Boston aryballos: 'movement is,
as usual, the inspiration of the story' (1933 manuscript translation: 11). In all, death
is opposed to the consciousness of life, and this is of culture, involving lifestyle (all the
activity of the painted men), and is a negation of the animal
War animates the dead within him. The fighting man is both hunter and hunted
(scenes of animal hunts, animal attacks on people, soldiers fight among wild ani-
mals), finding the identity of his self in hunting and fighting the 'other'. That animal
otherness is the opposite of its representation upon the pots: it is changeability and
resistance to order and stylisation, qualities of unpredictability and deep powers
Art and the Greek City State

Figure 3.28 Death, otherness and lifestyle.

which lack definition. The animal interior of the soldier threatens to blow him apart
or tear him to pieces - chaos of dismembered monster, and the dogs and birds which
feed upon the corpse unattended by cultural propriety. His armour holds him
together, and when one with the group, that threat is staunched; its integrity opposes
the multiplicity and break-up that is the animal within.
Apart from the coursing hounds, the only other creature to appear in soldier lines is
the bird: flocks of water birds, rows of heads. And the avian appears prominently
upon the hoplite shields as talisman of identity. I have already shown how the bird
seems to take a mediatory position, and forms an assemblage with the lion and the
human. It would seem that somehow the bird allows the soldier to come to terms
with that danger represented by the lion and the animal. At least the bird mediates.

War machines In an interpretation of popular German military literature of
the 1920s and after, Theweleit (1987, 1989) has provided fascinating insights into
the psychology of a soldier 'society', the Mannerbund of the Freikorps. With their
militarism, male comradery and heroic youth, this militaristic grouping was part of
the political and intellectual culture of the inter-war period, out of which indeed
emerged fascism. I have already drawn on his work, and will now clarify and
A major contention is that war is not only a restricted field of political authority and
physical domination; war is a function of the body. The body is the site of the political
ethos of militarism. Theweleit is concerned with the social psychology of male
Early archaic Korinth: design and style I2 7

sovereignty and its world which elevates the experience of violence and war, hardship
and discipline. The centrality of the body is apparent in techniques of the self which
define and are practised by the soldier - bodily drills, group drills and regimes,
countenance (those eyes and the helmet), keeping one's bearing and expression
correct and upright, training, self-control.
A primary motivation is towards bodily and social unity. This will to wholeness
arises because of the perceived threat of its opposite: those wild and disorderly
powers which break down barriers, setting off floods and waves of lower and sordid
elements; there is fear of dissolution, commingling with these base elements, fear of
engulfment. For the member of the German Freikorps in the 1920s, this was the
threat of engulfment by communism and bolshevism, the lower classes, and their
women. This will to wholeness is a fear of the molecular, and is a will to power. It is a
compulsion to put down that other which threatens his unity and integrity, to oppress
those elements in the body of another, or the body in his own self, bringing to order.
The relationship with bodies is one of violence and hierarchy, not commingling with
the base and dirty, but establishing the preponderance of self over the other, of man
over the animal (within).
So the soldier male's commitment to unity and the whole arises out of his own fear
of splitting. 'Think in terms of the whole = don't forget that you are subordi-
nate = don't forget that without us you would have no head, nothing above you.
Think in terms of the whole = without us you would die = without us you would lack
divinity (masculinity) and would be animals' (Theweleit 1989: 102). And the soldier
is split if and when those 'lower', suppressed and animal elements demand
Unity is the phalanx, those dangerous elements of the body damned and subdued
by the machine-like physique of the soldier, his self displaced into armour and
weaponry. Homer has krateron menos, the 'conquering energy' of the hero, put on like
armour {Iliad 17.742-6; see also Vernant 1991a: 63 on the shining {lampros) armour
of the hero). In Tyrtaios consider the imagery whereby the arete of the soldier hero is
achieved through weaponry and death (West 12, quoted above, p. 113). Archilochos
identifies the staples of life with his weaponry:

And keklimenos is the word which would be used to refer to reclining upon a dining
couch in new eastern style.
Homer's conception of man is a complex mediation of the molecular and malar
(introduced above). There are no words for the soul or indeed body of a living man,
who was, as related above, a unity of energies, organs and actions (Frankel 1975: 76f
following Bohme 1929). It was only in death that psyche, soul, became separated
from soma, corpse.
Art and the Greek City State

So long as the body is alive, it is seen as a system of organs and limbs
animated by their individual impulses; it is a locus for the meeting, and
occasional conflict, of impulses or competing forces. At death, when the body
is deserted by these, it acquires its formal unity, and becomes soma.
(Vernant 1991a: 62).
The fear of the hero is of aikia, disgrace done to the corpse, dirt and disgrace spoiling
its wholeness, and preventing the death being beautiful. The images quoted above of
the old man's death bring in another element: his death was disgraceful, because of
his old age and because it was not masculine - the reference to the wound to the
genitals (and to be eaten by dogs and birds (ibid.: 68). There is fear too of not
receiving proper burial, which preserves the beautiful death, and provides, in the
funeral mound raised , a mark which is stable and unchanging - empedos (meaning
'intact' or 'immutable') (ibid.; 69, citing Iliad 17.432-5). So unity is a protection
from that death represented by dismemberment, splitting, decay, decomposition,
being the food of birds and dogs. Unity is that which is preserved by the kalos
thanatos, the beautiful death. Perpetual unity comes with the funeral pyre and the
mound raised for all to see.
In questioning the application of modern concepts of war and violence to the
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 129

ancient city state, Shipley (1993) has outlined the embeddedness of warfare; unques-
tioned by contemporary writers. There was no autonomous concept of war. In citing
Garlan's argument for the 'omnipresence of war' (1989: 12-13) he comments that
'war was a fact of life: and though peace was different, it was not considered the
norm, nor was war seen as an aberration' (ibid.: 18).
'People told us that the war was over. That made us laugh. We ourselves are the
war. Its flame burns strongly in us. It envelops our whole being' (quoted in Theweleit
1987: x). Fear of that otherness is also fascination, and the struggle to retain hard
control is a never-ending one. Battle and actually fighting is a supplement (in
Derrida's sense too: Deleuze and Guattari 1988: 417). The warrior caste lives in
permanent war. Why fight? For kleos, or for city, or for dike, justice? It does not really
matter. The motivations are easily transferred.

I would as soon light with you as drink when I'm thirsty.
Archilochos West 125
War is just something that you do; it is even a necessity. Mercenaries appear almost
with the beginning of the polis, it would seem, and in numbers. Herodotos (2.152)
has 'brazen men' in Egypt in the seventh century (see, for example, the account by
Murray (1993: 223f)). Of course, Archilochos was a mercenary. They travelled:
there is, for example the famous graffiti scratched by some Greek mercenaries on the
left leg of a colossal statue of Rameses II at Abu Simbel, 700 miles up the Nile. They
were on an expedition in 591 BC (Austin and Vidal-Naquet 1977: 209). The
mercenaries did not need the state. War does not need battles; it is more a war-
Heads and bodies, helmets, armour, spears and stabbing; human, avian, animal
and monstrous; torn, mixed, stylised. The major focus of Korinthian iconography
comes to be bodily form; and the body, in my argument, is a primary site for the
aesthetic ethos of violence and war. Animals are stylised under a graphic order.
Linear, geometric and floral painting or decoration binds the 'body' of the pot in an
aesthetic order (see the comments of DuBois on Geometric Attic pottery, 1988:
133-5). This, I argue, is emphasised also in the use of all available ceramic surface
(bases may be decorated too, some with figures: consider a fine bridled horse-head
on the conical lekythos from Aetos, Amyx 1988: 36). And emphasised also in
miniaturism, where often complication is heightened in a display of painterly dexter-
ity and risk such that the surface effect is one of textured movement, like an ant's nest
disturbed, as Payne put it.
So these soldiers and violent battle scenes are not best understood as the depiction
or reflection of a hoplite 'reform'. To consider them as somehow documentary
source for a political and military history in this way gives little insight into the scenes.
The term 'hoplite reform' is out of place here, though the issues raised of the
interconnection of military, social and political change are pertinent. The pots are
not about something else. I am instead trying to give an interpretation of the pots
Art and the Greek City State 130

through their acts of making and painting. The potters were creating and responding
10 a demand, experimenting (less so later perhaps) for people who might want to use
pots, to have a visual environment which made reference to those themes I have been
following. This is anew expressive aesthetic.
Nagy (1979: esp. page 151-61; see also Vernant 1969) has interpreted Hesiod's
myth of the five generations of humankind (Works and Days 109-201) as represen-
ting, in the men of gold, silver, bronze and the demi-gods (those generations


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