Ancient Mediterranean

Digital Project

Battle on single-levelled galley

Cat. No.



Late Geometric II





Attic oenochoe. Burly workshop (post Dipylon group)

Accession Number

Copenhagen 1628


Ahlberg 1971: 30, fig. 32; Basch 1978: 176, no. 373; Coldstream 1968: 76, no. 5; Kirk 1949: 110-111, no. 32, fig. 3; Morrison-Williams 1968: 33, Geom. 29; Webster 1955: fig. 2; Wedde 1999a: 511

Fragmentary single-levelled ship to the right with the bow section missing. The hull is rendered by a lower thick line joined to an upper thinner one by oblique strokes similar to the Eleusis ship. Incurving sternpost with two protruding planks. There are three spears kept at the stern. The helmsman is sitting on the upper horizontal, with his legs shown and his torso slightly forward, holding the steering oar. There are six oars without a detailing of the blades. The position of the helmsman and the two warriors standing on the upper horizontal line which represents the gunwale suggests either a deck or a central runway.

Main frieze on the vessel's body, consisting of warriors fighting on a ship. The warriors are variously equipped with swords, spears (in pairs or single), bows, and Dipylon shields. Two warriors on land frame the ship on each side, facing towards it. The warrior on the left side has his left hand raised holding a shield, with a sword in his right hand. The warrior on the right has his left hand extended backward ready to throw a spear. Aboard the ship is a helmsman and two more warriors engaged in repelling the assailants. The left warrior on the ship faces left, brandishing a sword and a spear, and is equipped with a Dipylon shield and a sword at his waist.

Ahlberg-Cornell, G. 1971. Fighting on Land and Sea in Greek Geometric Art. Skrifter utgivna av Svenska Institutet I Athen 4, XVI. Stockholm.

Basch, L. 1978. “Le Navire mns et autre notes de voyage en Egypte,” MM 64: 99-123.

Coldstream, J.N. 1968. Greek geometric pottery. A survey of ten local styles and their chronology. New York: Methuen.

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.

Webster, T.B.L. 1955. “Homer and Attic geometric Vases,” BSA 50: 38-50.

Wedde, M. 1999a. “Decked Vessels in Early Greek Ship Architecture,” in H.E. Tzalas (ed.) Tropis V: 5th International Symposium on Ship Construction in Antiquity. Nauplia, 26, 27, 28 August 1993. (Hellenic Institute for the Preservation of Nautical Tradition). Athens: Hellenic Institute for the Preservation of Nautical Tradition, pp. 505-526.

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