Calyx Krater with the Death of Aktaion



Calyx Krater with the Death of Aktaion




ca. 430 BC - 420 BC


High Classical
Greece, Athens, Europe
Greek, Attic


19 7/16 x 18 7/8 in. (49.4 x 47.9 cm)

Object Number



Aktaion boasted that he was a better hunter than the goddess of the hunt herself, Artemis. Furious, she turned him into a stag, whereupon his hunting dogs devoured him.

Aktaion occupies center stage. Nude and beardless, expressive of heroism, vulnerability, and youth, he wears only a pair of hunting boots, a mantle pinned at the shoulder, and a sun hat (petasos). His hair is wreathed. He defends himself with a hunter's throwing stick (lagobolon). The process of transformation into a stag has begun: antlers sprout from his forehead; his ear is deerlike. His dogs begin to sniff the change of scent. Shortly he will be devoured. At right, two companions flee. The first, more elaborately dressed, is named Diokles. The second person (name unknown) has taken to the hills. At far left is Artemis herself, simply dressed, her hair with a diadem and held in a patterned kerchief. The lighted torch she holds indicates the dawn twilight when the hunters' quarry is running. Bow and quiver remind us that it is she, not Aktaion, who hunts. Before her stands her assistant from the Underworld, Hekate, who, like Artemis, is named by inscription. The head of a small dog emerges from her own head, which is also named.

The figures are drawn on undulating lines to convey that the action takes place out of doors, in hilly terrain. The conifer likewise symbolizes a forest, perhaps Mount Kithairon outside Thebes, where the story unfolded.

Credit Line

Carlos Collection of Ancient Art


Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, December 18, 1984 - June 30, 1985|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, September 2004 - January 2011|
Monsters, Demons & Winged Beasts: Composite Creatures in the Ancient World, Michael C. Carlos Museum, February 5 - June 19, 2011|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, June 20, 2011 - August 26, 2013|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, October 2, 2013 - Present
Lilly Kahil, "La deesse Artemis: Mythologie et Iconographie," in Greece and Italy in the Classical World: Acta of the XI International Congress of Classical Archaeology, ed. J.N. Coldstream and Malcolm A.R. Colledge (London: National Organizing Committee, XI International Congress of Classical Archaeology, 1979), 83, plate 35a.|
Lucien Guimond, "Aktaion," LIMC I.1-2 (Zurich: Artemis, 1981), 357, 462, number 83a.|
"Artemis," LIMC II.1-2 (Zurich: Artemis, 1984), 561, 732, number 1398.|
Neda Leipen, et al., Glimpses of Excellence: A Selection of Greek Vases and Bronzes from the Elie Borowski Collection (Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, 1984), 22-23, number 17.|
Erika Simon, "Hekate in Athen," Athenische Mitteilungen 100 (1985): 276, plate 50, 2.|
Gratia Berger-Doer, "Diokles," LIMC III.1-2 (Zurich: Artemis, 1986), 395.|
H. Sarian, "Hekate," LIMC VI.1-2 (Zurich: Artemis, 1992), 997, number 96.|
Susan B. Matheson, Polygnotos and Vase Painting in Classical Athens (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995), 149-150, 389, plate 133, number D 41.|
MCCM Newsletter, September - November 2000.|
MCCM Newsletter, December 2000 - February 2001.|
Jasper Gaunt, "New Galleries of Greek & Roman Art at Emory University: The Michael C. Carlos Museum," Minerva 16 (January/February 2005), 13-17.|
Michael C. Carlos Museum: Highlights of the Collections (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2011), 49.|
Susan Jaques, A Love for the Beautiful: Discovering America's Hidden Art Museums (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 2012), 42.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2009
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

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“Calyx Krater with the Death of Aktaion,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed September 18, 2020,

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