Each side of this splendid amphora depicts a prominent Greek myth. On one, Herakles wrestles the Nemean lion, while on the other, Theseus kills the Minotaur. The Nemean lion, impervious to weapons, was plaquing the region of Nemea. It was the first of Herakles’ twelve labors to kill the beast, which he accomplished by seizing it by the neck and wrestling it to death. Using its own claws, the hero flayed the lion and forever after wore its skin for protection. The two onlookers are likely to be the hero’s companion Iolas to the right, and the nymph Nemea to the left. On the other side, Theseus dispatches the Minotaur, the bull-headed monster born of the union of Queen Pasiphae and a bull sent to Crete by Poseidon. It was enclosed in an elaborate Labyrinth, and each year, the King of Athens sent fourteen youths and maidens, who were duly fed to the monster. The figures framing the scene are part of this group.
Group E is the name Beazley gave "to a large and compact group, which is very closely related to the work of the painter Exekias," and is "the soil from which the art of Exekias springs." (See p. 133 in J.D. Beazley, Attic Black-figure Vase-painters). The vases of this group are typically large-scale amphorae and primarily depict important events from the lives of gods and heroes.