Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Attic black-figure panel amphora depicting Theseus battling the Minotaur with Ariadne watching from the side
Athens, Greece
Late Archaic Period, 540 BCE
Pottery
H: 41 cm
Gift of Jan Mitchell, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum
Accession number: 71.25.68
 
 
Theseus, the hero of Athenian democracy, was a legendary king of Athens, son of the mortal queen Aethra and either her husband Aegeus, king of Athens, or Poseidon, with whom Aethra lay one night. The Athenians hailed Theseus as responsible for the political unification of Attica under Athens. He volunteered to join the group of young men and women that the Athenians were obliged to pay in tribute annually to Minos, king of Crete. The youths were to be fed to the Minotaur, the monstrous half-man, half-bull, who lived in a labyrinth at the palace. With the help of Ariadne, Minos’s daughter, Theseus killed the Minotaur and found his way out of the labyrinth.

Publications:
Merhav, Rivka, The Jan Mitchell Gift to the Israel Museum, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1974

Exhibition:
The Jan Mitchell Gift to the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1974, Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Animals in Ancient Art, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1986, Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir