|The Melanippe Krater
|This vase is a krater -- a form of Greek vase which was used for mixing
wine and water. The body of the base is decorated with figures divided
into two "registers" or levels. In the upper level, the gods gather in
the rocky landscape of Mt. Olympos to watch the story
of Melanippe's family below. Artemis, Apollo, Athena, Aphrodite,
and Poseidon watch the mortals below. We can identify them by the way
they are represented and the objects they carry.
|The illustration of the Melanippe play on the lower register of the
vase represents not one scene, but several parts of the story. Remember
that all of the characters would not have appeared in any single scene
in the play since each each actor played several roles. The vase painter
has identified each character for us with an inscription of their name.
|The scene on the other side of the vase
is related to its function. The krater was probably found in a tomb, created
as an offering to the deceased.