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Current time:0:00Total duration:6:53

Video transcript

we're in the sanctuary at hallucis we're looking at a gigantic pod that was actually found with the body of ten year old boy in it this is a really unusual amphora we're coming right off the geometric period when fossils were mostly decorated with repeated geometric patterns and bands but here we have large figures and the telling of two fabulous stories these are actually the largest figures ever found on a Greek pot but freeze on the neck of the vaz tells the story of Odysseus and Polyphemus the one-eyed Cyclops and down at the bottom is the story of Perseus and Medusa the style is before the Attic black figure was regularized no that was a style that developed in the later archaic period when you had dark silhouettes of figures against the light natural ground of the clay pot but here you see a lot of experimentation we have figures in that black silhouette but we also have figures an outline so we haven't quite settled into the typical black figure technique that we come to note now both of the myths that we see here have to do with the site with the top we see a story that we know from Homer of Ulysses who's on his way home from the Trojan War otherwise known as Odysseus he's come to an island occupied by Giants with one eye called the Cyclops and he brings his men into a cave which he finds really well provision but it turns out that the cave is occupied by a cyclops named Polyphemus so Polyphemus comes back to the cave and rolls a huge boulder to close the door only then does he notice that he has guests and it proceeds to eat several of you as he is meant for dinner and then several more the next morning for breakfast Odysseus offers the Giant some of his wine and the giant gets drunk now what Odysseus has done in the meantime is to take his staff and to sharpen it and he heats it in fire and he plunges that staff into the eye of the giant when he sleeps and that's the moment that we see here we can see Ulysses who is in outline when Polyphemus necks goes to roll the boulder away from the mouth of the cave and that his sheep out Odysseus and his men have strapped themselves to the underside of the Sheep now of course Polyphemus doesn't want to let these men out of the cave so he feels with his hands now blinded each of the animals as it exits but he feels their backs not their stomachs where the men cling and so mrs. Ennis men make it out of Polyphemus cave and we have another great story on the body of oz on the extreme left side we see that now headless body of the Gorgon Medusa she's been beheaded by the hero Perseus now the Gorgons are three mythical monsters so ugly that just the sight of them kills and this is the result of a task that he's been given by a king and Perseus notice he doesn't stand a chance but lucky for him both the god Hermes and the goddess Athena take pity on him the problem is that if he looks at her he will turn into stone and so what he does is with the Finas assistance he looks into the reflection of his shield and cuts off her head in that way now what the pot is showing us is the now headless body of Medusa next we see her sisters and they were chasing Perseus but before we get to the figure of Perseus we can just make out a little bit of the arm and face of Athena who's protecting Perseus and then we see the remains of Perseus on this face we only see the black legs running stylistically it's really interesting we don't ever see the entire story when we're looking for instance at Perseus we can't see Medusa on the far side of the vase but probably the most interesting and the most unique aspect of this painted vase is the way in which the surviving Gorgon sisters are portrayed they're horrifying they have eggs for hair snakes emerging from their shoulders teeth like spikes giant staring eyes and deformed faces and more than that they're looking at us and we're in danger of turning into stone as spectators now anyone in the 7th century when this pot was made would have known these stories we can see the one leg forward showing that they're running they might be running over the sky or running over the ocean you have a continuous curvilinear band in fact there's curvilinear forms over this Vaz hull which differs from the angular geometric forms that we've seen in the geometric period the heads look almost as if they're doubled cauldrons that is bronze cauldrons that have been like a clamshell laid one atop the other and cauldrons were used as gifts as votive offerings to the gods and they were found frequently in temples so there's an association here of the cauldron with the idea of seeing the divine of being awed by the sight of a god well that issue of site links the scene below with a myth on the neck of the vase in the case of Polyphemus we have that giant being blinded down below we have the idea that sight can have an evil power that can turn you into stone and so sight and blinding are critical here in both stories and so one can only hypothesize what the original intent of this vase was we see the repetition of some design elements that the painter is used in between the animal forms in between the figures and even painted on the body of one of Ulysses men so even as we move from a strict geometric style to one that's more figurative the artist is still using even the form of the body as a surface on which to paint a geometric pattern well you see that interesting and we're moving any real blank space you know it had been so much more dominant during the geometric period and here you have the allowance of some space between the figures but whoever the artist is has carefully placed some orientalizing motifs within those spaces now that orientalizing is this that comes after the geometric that is influenced by art from the east now this pot would have been made on a wheel and you can actually see the marks of the tools that would have been used to shape it we should imagine though this Vaz much more brightly colored what we see now that looks like a pale Brown was likely a deeper red and so the Gorgons would have been much more frightening I think then we see them today nevertheless it's really remarkable how much of this box has survived