Ancient Mediterranean

Digital Project

Double-levelled galley

Cat. No.



Late Geometric I (c. 730 B.C.)


Dipylon, Athens



Attic pedestalled krater sherds. Kunze painter

Accession Number

Royal Museum of Art and History, Brussels (ex Louvre A 531)


Basch 1987: 173, no. 357; Chamoux 1945: 86, fig. 8; Kirk 1949: 105-106, no. 21; Morrison and Williams 1968: 23, Geom. 11, pl.4a

Fragmentary double-levelled ship to the left, with all the horizontals of the standard Dipylon ship depicted, but the verticals are absent. The sternpost ends in an incurving horn that bends nearly parallel to the deck, with four short protrusions near its tip on the upper side. There are eight rowers facing right and grasping their oars with both hands, their torsos inclined backwards - a position indicating they are at the end of their stroke. The helmsman, facing left, is grasping the loom of one of the steering oars with his left hand. The handles of both steering oars appear, topped by a right angle cross piece, but only one of the steering oars' blades is preserved below. Floating above deck level is a pile of three oversized corpses facing upwards, with the shoulder of a fourth visible near the left edge of the fragment. Below the stern and near the blade of the steering oar is another figure crouching on its knees, with a spear transfixed through its torso.

The artist was somewhat careless, as evident by some inconsistencies such as the fact that not all of the rowers' legs are painted in a uniform way: some have their legs disappear behind line B, while three of them cross it either with both legs (rowers seven and eight) or with just one (rower five). There are also some compromises made in response to space limitation, the most obvious one being the oar of the eighth rower, which is displaced and painted on a smaller scale to make space for the fallen warrior.

Basch, L. 1987. Le musée imaginaire de la marine antique. Athens: Institut Hellénique pour la preservation de la tradition nautique.

Chamoux, F. 1945. “L’école de la grande amphore du Dipylon. Étude sur la céramique géométrique a l’époque de l’Iliade,” RA 23 : 55-97.

Kirk, G.S. 1949. “Ships on Geometric Vases.” BSA 44: 93-153, pls. 38-40.

Morrison, J.S. and R.T. Williams. 1968. Greek Oared Ships: 900-322 B.C. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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