Serpentarium Mundi by Alexei Alexeev The Ancient Ophidian Iconography Resource (Mundus Vetus, 3000 BC - 650 AD)
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Description. Volume IV contains a selection of iconographical subjects represented on decorated vessels: vases, urns, bottles, jugs, cups, bowls, and plates in a variety of materials (ceramic, bronze, silver, gold, glass, etc.).

This volume is divided into 6 specialized chapters, based on the type of iconographical subject and the context. Every chapter has a different number of articles (currently none). Each article has a different number of figures (currently none), which are divided into sets (5 x 6 content grids, accommodating up to 30 figures' thumbnails; currently none). The figures contain varying numbers of artefacts (currently none), depending on the scale of the source-image. Some artefacts are represented by several figures (offering a general view and details).

Currently, 0 articles in 0 chapters are available, and Volume IV contains 0 figures.

----------------------------------- « ● Quotations from the Father of History about Vases ● » -----------------------------------

When Gyges [Gyges of Lydia, r. 687-652 BC] became king, he sent quite a few dedications off to Delphi, and of all the silver dedications in Delphi, most are his. Besides silver, he dedicated an unbelievable amount of gold. Most worthy of mention among them are the bowls; six golden bowls are his offerings; the weigh thirty talents [~780-900 kilograms] and stand in the treasury of the Corinthians, although the truth is tat it is not the treasury of all the Corinthians, but of Kypselos son of Eetion [Cypselus of Corinth, r. 657-627 BC]. Of all barbarians known to us, it was Gyges who first dedicated offerings to Delphi, after Midas son of Gordias, the king of Phrygia [Midas of Lydia, r. 700s BC (?)].

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories I: 14, 1-2 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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Alyattes the Lydian [Alyattes of Lydia, r. 600s-500s BC] died after concluding his war against the Milesians; he had reigned for fifty-seven years. This man was the second of his family to make a dedication to Delphi; when he was relieved of his sickness, he dedicated a large silver bowl and a welded iron stand, worth seeing among all the dedications at Delphi. It is the work of Glaukos of Chios [fl. 600s-500s BC], the only man to discover the art of welding iron.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories I: 25, 1-2 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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When Croesus [Croesus of Lydia, r. 560-546 BC] had finished preparing these offerings, he sent them to Delphi together with two bowls of enormous size: one of gold, which was set on the right of the temple entrance, and the other of silver, which was set on the left. {...} The golden bowl is now displayed in the treasury of the Klazomenaians and weighs eight and a half talents and twelve minas [~226-260 kilograms]; the silver one is in the corner of the tempe's front hall and holds 600 amphoras [~24,000 liters]. I know this because they are now used by the Delphians for mixing wine at the Theophania festival. The Delphians say they are the work of Theodoros of Samos [fl. 500s BC], and I believe them, since they do not look to me like any ordinary pieces. In addition, Croesus sent four large silver storage jars, which are in the treasury of the Corinthians, and he dedicated two vessels for sprinkling holy water, of gold and silver. Of these, the golden jar has an inscription that claims it is a dedication of the Spartans, but that is incorrect, for this too, came from Croesus; but a Delphian inscribed it thus in order to ingratiate the Spartans.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories I: 51, 1-4 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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For this reason [Gift of gold for the statue of Apollo], and also because he had chosen them as friends in preference to all other Hellenes, the Spartans welcomed the alliance with Croesus [Croesus of Lydia, r. 560-546 BC], and not only were they ready to respond to his call, they even decided to repay him with a gift; so they made a bronze mixing bowl holding 300 amphoras [~12,000 liters], covered with figures on the outside around the rim. This bowl, however, never reached Sardis, but there are two different accounts as to why it never arrived there. The Spartans say that the bowl was on its way to Sardis, but that when it reached a point just off the coast of the island of Samos, the Samians, who knew about the bowl, attacked in their warships and stole it. The Samians, however, say that the Spartans who were bringing the bowl to Croesus did not get to Sardis on time, and when they found out that Sardis and Croesus had been captured, they sold the bowl on Samos, where private citizens bought it and dedicated it in the sanctuary of Hera. And it may well be that when they returned to Sparta, the men who sold the bowl claimed that it had been stolen by the Samians. That is the story, then, concerning the bowl.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories I: 70, 1-4 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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When the great King [Cyrus the Great, r. 549-530 BC] goes out to war, he goes well equipped with food and herds from home, and especially with water drawn from the River Choaspes, which flows past Susa. The King drinks from this river only and none other. Each time he marches out he is accompanied by numerous four-wheeled chariots, driven by mules, which carry silver jars holding water from the River Choaspes that has been boiled.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories I: 188, 1-2 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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Of all peoples, they [Egyptians] are the most exceedingly pious, with customs such as these: they drink from bronze cups that they wash every day, not just this one or that one, but all of them.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories II: 37, 1 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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Maiandrios [Maiandrios of Samos, r. 516-515 BC], after escaping from Samos, sailed to Lacedaemon. He had taken what he could when he left, and when he got there, he set out his silver and gold cups and had his servants polish them while he went out to engage in conversation with Kleomenes son of Anaxandridas [Cleomenes I of Sparta, r. 519-490 BC], who was king of Sparta, and to bring him to his house. When Kleomenes looked at the cups, he was struck with wonder and amazement. Maiandrios would then tell him to take for himself as many of them as he wanted. After Maiandrios had said this two or three times, Kleomenes proved himself to be the most just of men, in tat he refused to take what Maiandrios was trying to give away to him. But he realized that Maiandrios would find a way to take revenge on him by offering the gifts to others in the community; so he went to the ephors and said that it would be better for Sparta if the Samian visitor were made to leave the Peloponnese so that he could not persuade him or any other Spartan to become corrupt. The ephors complied and proclaimed the banishment of Maiandrios.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories III: 148, 1-2; 149, 1 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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I have not been able to to learn how many Scythians there are with certainty but have heard disparate accounts of their number. Some say that they are very numerous, while others claim they are few, particularly when counting only Scythians proper. They did, however, present some evidence that I could see: there is a place between the Borysthenes River [Dnieper] and the Hypanis River [Southern Bug] called Exampaios, which I mentioned a little earlier when I said its spring of brackish water runs into the Hypanis, making it undrinkable. At this site lies a bronze cauldron six times larger than the bowl dedicated by Pausanias son of Cleombrotos [d. 467 BC] that is located at the mouth of the Pontus [Black Sea]. In case someone has never seen that bowl, let me explain that the cauldron in Scythia easily holds 600 amphoras [~24,000 liters] and six fingers [~11 centimeters] thick. According to the local inhabitants, it was made out of arrowheads when their king, whose name was Ariantas [Legendary ruler, dates are uncertain], seeking to determine the number of Scythians, ordered every Scythian to bring one arrowhead to him, and threatened death to anyone who failed to do so. When a massive pile of arrowheads had been delivered to him, he decided to make something from all of them that he could leave behind as a memorial to his achievement. So he had this bronze cauldron made and dedicated at Exampaios. That, then, is what I heard concerning the number of the Scythians.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories IV: 81, 1-6 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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The Samians took a tenth of their profits, six talents' [~156-180 kilograms] worth, and had a bronze bowl made in the Argive style, with griffin heads projecting around it. They dedicated it in the sanctuary of Hera and set it upon three gigantic bronze kneeling statues, over seven cubits [~3.5 meters] tall. It was the Samians' good deed to Korobios [murex fisherman-cum-guide] that first cemented the great friendship between the Cyrenaeans and Theraians and the Samians.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories IV: 152, 4 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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Those Hellenes who received the army into their territory and who provided feasts for Xerxes [Xerxes I, r. 486-465 BC] were reduced to the utmost hardship {...} feasts had been ordered long in advance and were considered to be of great importance. {...} they had golden and silver cups and mixing bowls made, along with everything else needed to set a proper table for the King and those who dined with him {...} When dinnertime came, the hosts were kept busy with their work, and when the guests were full, they would spend the night there on the spot. The next day, they would march away, but only after pulling up the tent and taking all moveable property along with them. They left nothing behind.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories VII: 118, 1; 119, 1-4 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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{...} they [Persians] had there a great store of gold, both coined and uncoined, and much silver and many drinking vessels as well. They should spare none of this, he [Artabazos I of Phrygia, fl. 480-455 BC] said, but send it off to be distributed among the Hellenes, especially among those who were prominent in their cities; if they did this, the Hellenes would quickly surrender their freedom and the Persians would not have to be exposed to the risks of battle.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories IX: 41, 3 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

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Pausanias [d. 467 BC] now issued a proclamation that no one should touch the spoils [After the Battle of Plataea, 479 BC], and he ordered the helots to gather all the goods together in one place. They scattered throughout the camp and found tents adorned with gold and silver, couches gilded with gold and silver, golden mixing bowls, libation bowls, and other drinking vessels. On the wagons they discovered sacks in which they saw cauldrons of gold and silver. And they stripped the bodies lying there of their bracelets, necklaces, and golden daggers, but they paid no attention at all to the embroidered clothing. The helots presented and accounted for much of these spoils - as much as they were unable to hide - but they stole quite a bit and sold it to the Aeginetans. And so it was from this time on that the Aeginetans became very wealthy, as they were buying gold from the helots as though it were bronze.

● Herodotus (484-425 BC), Histories IX: 80, 1-3 | Translated by Andrea L. Purvis & Robert B. Strassler. Copyright © 2007.

Editorial notes: {...} - Omitted text; [...] - Translation back to the original, clarification, or curator's commentary.

Source-Image(s): The Volume IV source-images come from both internal and external resources. Every attempt is made to maximize use of the curator’s own photographic database. The rest of the source-images come from online resources and digital scans. In each case, the copyright holder’s permission was acquired and the courtesy gratefully acknowledged.
● Personal Photo Archive:
Alexei Alexeev Curator Ottawa, Canada
● Museums' Collections Online:
Bibliothèque Nationale
de France
Cabinet des Médailles Paris, France
British Museum

Main Collection London, UK
Main Collection Vienna, Austria
Metropolitan Museum
of Art
Main Collection New York, USA
Musée du Louvre

Main Collection Paris, France
Museum of Fine Arts

Main Collection Boston, USA
Staatliche Antikensamm-lungen und Glyptothek Main Collection Munich, Germany
Staatliche Museen
zu Berlin
Altes Museum: Antikensammlung;
Neues Museum: Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Ägyptisches Museum,
Pergamonmuseum: Antikensammlung, Vorder-asiatisches Museum, Museum für Islamische Kunst;
Bode Museum: Skulpturen-sammlung, Museum für Byzantinische Kunst;
Museum für Asiatische Kunst
Berlin, Germany
State Hermitage
Main Collection St. Petersburg, Russia
● Specialized Decorated Pottery Databases Online:
Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum (CVA) Online Decorated Pottery Database Oxford, UK
● Printed Publications:
1974 Athenian Black Figure Vases. London Thames & Hudson
Same Author

1975 Athenian Red Figure Vases: The Archaic Period. London Thames & Hudson
Same Author

1989 Athenian Red Figure Vases: The Classical Period. London Thames & Hudson
Same Author

1998 Early Greek Vase Painting. London Thames & Hudson
John, ed.
Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). Volumes I-VIII. Indices. Supplementum. Zürich Artemis & Winkler Verlag

Note(s): (1) A minimalist approach is adopted for the descriptions of the bibliographic entries: in cases of multiple authors, publishers, or publishing locations, only the first entry from the full bibliographic description is listed. (2) In cases of modern reprints of the important works from the past, the date of the original publication is placed inside parentheses. In cases of translated works, both the original and English versions are listed. (3) An idiosyncratic universal formatting of entries is employed: all nouns, pronouns, numerals, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and some categories of determiners are capitalised.

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