Red-figure krater painted by the "Darius painter", c. 340-320 BC.

Red-figure krater painted by the "Darius painter", c. 340-320 BC.

Inventory Number: 81947
Collection: Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Red-figure krater painted by the "Darius painter" c. 340-320 BC.

This large red-figure krater depicts Darius - labelled in the middle of the central panel of the vase's body on one side - seated on his throne wearing the Persian tiara and holding a sceptre as he is addressed by a Persian who stands on a podium labelled "Persians". The overall action of the vase is complex.

On the same side as that one which Darius is depicted (the "front"), the upper panel of the vase's body depicts a meeting of Greek deities whilst the lower panel presents a figure seated in a himation in front of a table with Greek letters written on it, surrounded by crouching and kneeling figures wearing what are often called "Phrygian" caps and colourful clothing. The neck of the vase depicts figures wearing "Phrygian" caps - Persians - fighting against Greeks, who are apparently aided by a winged Nike (who is present in the divine meeting immediately below).

The "back" of the vase depicts on the neck a serene meeting of divine figures and on the body a chaotic scene of battle: a figure wearing the petasos (a broad, flat hat popular in northern Greece, including Macedon; consider too the Vergina sun which appears in the divine meeting on the "front") seems to be crowned by Nike, suggesting a Greco-Macedonian victory.

For excellent pictures of this vase - found at Canosa in the mid-19th century in a funerary context - see Vasi antichi : Museo archeologico nazionale di Napoli (2009) 116ff., where a date c. 340-320 BC is suggested (unfortunately, the text is in Italian).