W. Hornbostel, Kunst der Antike - Schätze aus norddeutschem Privatbesitz, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Mainz, 1977, cat. no. 233.
A. Kossatz-Deissmann, 'Achilleus', LIMC I, Zurich and Munich, 1981, p. 176, no. 822, pl. 137 (part of obverse).
S. Muth, Gewalt im Bild, Das Phanomen der medailen Gewalt im Athen des 6. und 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr, Berlin, 2008, p. 100, fig. 52.
Beazley Archive no: 7568.
The scene on this vase includes some fascinating anachronisms. According to the Iliad, Hector was killed by Achilles before the arrival of Memnon, yet here he is an onlooker. Furthermore, Phokos, a half brother of Peleus and a maternal cousin of Achilles, is not recorded as having been at Troy. It would seem that the iconography on the present vase is both highly unusual in its combination of protagonists, and unique amongst the known corpus.
Memnon was an Ethiopian king who fought at Troy against the Greeks. Memnon killed Nestor's son Antilochos in battle; Nestor, after Memnon refused to fight the elderly man, beseeched Achilles to seek vengeance for his fallen son, who, after Patroclus, was his closest companion. The ensuing clash was quintessentially epic, echoing that of Achilles and Hector: both heroes were protected by divine armour made by Hephaestus, and Zeus granted each heroic strength and unyielding energy. Thetis and Eos watched Zeus weigh the destinies of their sons, when Memnon’s was found to be heavier. Achilles was eventually victorious, stabbing Memnon through the heart.