Red-Figure Volute-Krater Depicting Iliupersis (Sack of Troy)



Red-Figure Volute-Krater Depicting Iliupersis (Sack of Troy)




330-320 BC


Late Classical
Greek, Apulian


48 x 23 5/8 in. (121.9 x 60 cm)

Object Number



The main scene on the body of this baroque krater juxtaposes two episodes from the night that Troy was sacked by the Greeks. The temple in the center is sacred to Athena, as indicated by the cult-statue of the goddess (Palladion). The goddess herself observes the battle from a vantage point at the upper left. Two women have sought sanctuary there. On the left, Helen, has finally been caught by her husband, Menelaus. Infuriated by her adultery, he has drawn his sword to kill her, but upon seeing her beauty as she draws aside her veil, he is again enchanted and will take her back to Sparta. On the right, Cassandra, the prophetess of Apollo who prophesied in vain the fall of Troy, is dragged from the temple by Ajax the Locrian, who then killed her. As a result of this sacrilegious act, the city of Locris would send every year to Troy certain virgins of the noblest families to act as servants in the temple of Athena, a penance recorded in historical inscriptions until almost Christian times. Below the main scene, mounted Amazon allies of the Trojans do battle.

The chariot race on the neck is that of Pelops for the hand of Hippodameia, daughter of Oinomaos, king of Pisa. The latter had invited suitors for his daughter's hand to race ahead in a chariot: if the suitor won, he would keep Hippodameia, but if Oinomaos caught up, he speared him. Twelve had perished in this way. Pelops bribed Myrtilos, the charioteer of Oinomaos, to remove a pin so that a wheel would fall off the king's chariot. This moment is shown here.

The handle plates are decorated with female heads in relief, and Nikai (victories) carrying hydriai (water-jars).

The reverse shows a family or friends visiting the tomb of the deceased.

Credit Line

Carlos Collection of Ancient Art


MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, September 2004 - Present
A.D. Trendall and Alexander Cambitoglou, First Supplement to the Red-Figured Vases of Apulia (London: University of London, Institute of Classical Studies, 1983), 147, 151 number 21a.|
A.D. Trendall and Alexander Cambitoglou, Second Supplement to the Red-Figured Vases of Apulia (London: University of London, Institute of Classical Studies, 1992), 147.|
Sotheby's London, Antiquities (July 7, 1994), lot 353.|
MCCM Newsletter, March - May 2000.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2005.
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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“Red-Figure Volute-Krater Depicting Iliupersis (Sack of Troy),” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed July 11, 2020,

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