Who is that warrior

In the Ashmolean museum in Oxford, I took a picture of this vase. The label says

Athenian black-figure pottery amphora attributed to the Diosophos Painter, 500-401 BC. A warrior readies to depart while his dog plays underfoot.

My curiosity was aroused as to who the warrior was. It should be obvious because the artist has obligingly written his name and the name of his horse and his dog. Try as I might I could not make it out. Eventually after some research in the Beazley database I tracked down the meaning – Nonsense Inscriptions (dots). It seems that this painter just used writing for its decorative effect. It could be any warrior.


I think I have tracked down the breed of dog – Laconian. There is another vase showing a dog presumably scratching for fleas with this inscription.

The Euergides Painter (active c. 500 BC) Detail of a Laconian hound scratching its head, from an Attic red-figure cup c. 500 BC Painted pottery


I have also come across this much earlier vase from Tiryns which shows that the theme was quite an old one


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4 Responses to Who is that warrior

  1. I was going to say he was a Spartan. The Laconian dog breed seems to support that. As for a name…Archidamus II. Total guess, probably wrong. But he did name his daughter ‘little girl dog’ and was a pretty big horse breeder, plus he lived in the mid-fifth century.


    • platosparks says:

      The daughter of Arcidamus, little girl dog or Cynisca, seems a fascinating character, the first woman to win at the Olympic Games. Not directly but by entering a team in the chariot race. The scene on the vase I think represents something earlier. I came across a vase from Tiryns that shows a similar theme that I have added to the post.


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