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The Trojan Horse in Classical Art1

  • B. A. Sparkes

The Trojan War has been perennially interesting, whether study centres on works of imaginative literature such as the epic poems of Homer and Virgil, the historical situation which provided the subject for those poems, the Bronze Age world of Troy and Mycenae which formed a background to the war, or the post-classical reworking of the material in the medieval Troy romances, Shakespeare, or Giraudoux. As well as supplying writers with incidents and episodes, the story of the war has given to artists a seemingly inexhaustible supply of themes on which their fancy feeds. A great proportion of Greek and Roman art can be connected with legends that stem from the Trojan War, and the whole complex of myths and history has proved a potent source for later artists. The theme chosen here is that of the Trojan Horse, and we shall look at some ways in which artists in antiquity viewed the incident.

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page 54 note 2 Interest in the Trojan Horse has been stimulated over the past ten years by the work of Professor R. G. Austin, who lectured at the Triennial Meeting at Cambridge in 1958 on ‘Vergil and the Wooden Horse’, published the following year in JRS xlix (1959), 1625. Since then, Professor Austin has published his edition of Virgil, , Aeneid ii (Oxford, 1964), enlivened by three choice pictures. The other major stimulus has been the discovery in 1961 of a seventh-century representation of the Wooden Horse (see p. 56, n. 4).

page 55 note 1 Opinions have been numerous, but have mainly centred on a (misunderstood) oriental siege engine (such as are found on Assyrian reliefs) or a ship, both ideas current in antiquity. Magic also has its advocates.

page 55 note 2 London BM 3205, from Thebes (?): Hampe, R., Frühe griechische Sagenbilder in Böotien (Athens, 1936), pls. 23; Schefold, K., Myth and Legend in Early Greek Art (London, 1966), pl. 6a.

page 56 note 1 For the Tenedos troops see Johansen, F., The Iliad in Early Greek Art (Copenhagen, 1967), 2830, where he suggests the same explanation for the upper frieze of the Mykonos Horse (p. 56 n. 4).

page 56 note 2 Homer, , Odyssey iv. 271–89, viii. 492–5, 511–15, xi. 523–32, and cf. Iliad xv. 71.

page 56 note 3 For the ancient evidence for the content and authorship of these two epics see Allen, T. W.'s Oxford text of Homer, vol. v, pp. 106–8 (Proclus' summary) and 127–40. See also Huxley, G., Greek Epic Poetry (London, 1969), ch. xi.

page 56 note 4 Mykonos, from Mykonos: Ervin, M., AD xviii (1963), 37 ff., pls. 17–28; Boardman, J., Greek Art (London, 1964), 58, fig. 47; Schefold, Myth and Legend, pl. 34–5; Johansen, The Iliad in Early Greek Art, 27, fig. 1 and 29, fig. 2. I would like to thank Mrs. Miriam Ervin Caskey for permission to publish this pithos.

For a fragment of a contemporary pithos also showing the Trojan Horse, see Tenos 186: PAA, 1949, 131, fig. 15; Schäfer, J., Studien zu den griechischen Reliefpithoi des 8–6 Jahrhunderts v. Chr. aus Kreta, Rhodes, Tenos und Boiotien (Kallmünz, 1957), 72, T 15 and 84.

page 57 note 1 Names and numbers varied with different authors. Homer names a modest five (Od. iv. 271–89: Menelaos, Odysseus, Diomedes, Antiklos, and xi. 505–32: Neoptolemos), though he admits without naming ‘all the best’ (Od. iv. 272–3 = viii. 512–13). On numbers see Austin's article and edition mentioned on p. 54 n. 2.

page 57 note 2 On the lyric poets and this theme see Bowra, C. M., Greek Lyric Poetry (Oxford, 1961), 102–6 (Stesichoros' Sack of Troy), 242, 244, 253 (Ibykos' Sack of Troy). For the fragments of Stesichoros relating to the Sack see Page, D. L., Poetae Melici Graeci (Oxford, 1962), nos. 196205 and P. Oxy. 2619. No certain fragment of Ibykos' Sack is known, but he has many references to Trojan incidents which might be connected; for the fragments of Ibykos see Page, PMG, nos. 282–345. On Sacadas see Athenaeus xiii. 610 c, Plutarch de musica 9 (1134 b), Pausanias ix. 30. 2, x. 7. 4.

page 57 note 3 Paris, Cab. Méd. 186 (de Ridder), from Caere: Fröhner, W., JDAI vii (1892), pl. 2 and pp. 2831; CVA i (7), pl. 18 (302) 1–7 and text p. 15, fig. 2; Payne, H. G. G., Necrocorinthia (Oxford, 1931), no. 1281; Schefold, Myth and Legend, 92, fig. 39.

page 58 note 1 Berlin F 1723, from Orbetello: Zschietzschmann, W., JDAI xlvi (1931), 51, fig. 5; Beazley, J. D., Attic Black-figure Vase-painters (Oxford, 1956), pp. 314, 695; Walter, H., MDAI (A) Ixxvii (1962), Beil. 54, 1.

page 59 note 1 New York, Metr. Mus. 32. 11. 7 (Fletcher Fund), said to be from Populonia: Richter, G. M. A., Catalogue of Engraved Gems, Greek, Etruscan and Roman, in the Metr. Mus. of Art (Rome, 1956), 43, no. 164, pl. 27; Scherer, M., The Legends of Troy in Art and Literature (London, 1963), 253; Richter, G. M. A., The Engraved Gems of the Greeks, Etruscans and Romans i (London, 1968), no. 808. Richter (Cat. 43) mentions other gems which carry the subject of the Trojan Horse.

page 59 note 2 See Lesches' Little Iliad (Homer, , OCT v, p. 132 XII).

page 59 note 3 There are of course many references in extant fifth-century tragedy to the Trojan Horse, e.g. Aeschylus, Agam. 821–8; Euripides, Tro. 511–76, Hec. 905–52.

page 59 note 4 Pausanias x. 26. 2 (Overbeck, J., Schriftquellen [Leipzig, 1868], no. 1050). See Robert, K., ‘Die Iliupersis des Polygnot’ in Siebzehntes Hallisches Winckelmanns programm (Halle, 1893), and Robertson, , ABSA Ixii (1967), 610.

page 59 note 5 Pausanias i. 15. 2 (Overbeck, Schriftquellen, no. 1054).

page 60 note 1 Munich 2650, from Vulci: Kluge, K., JDAI xliv (1929), 25, fig. 15; Beazley, , Attic Red-figure Vase-painters (Oxford, 1963), p. 401, no. 2, the Foundry Painter. Beazley cautiously accepts the Trojan connection on account of the clothing.

page 60 note 2 Florence, Mus. Arch. V 57, from Chiusi: Yalouris, N., MH vii (1950), 49, fig. 8; Scherer, Legends, no, fig. 88; Beazley, ARV, p. 838, no. 30, the Sabouroff Painter. Scherer and Beazley accept the connection with the Trojan Horse. Is it possible that the painter has used Polygnotos' Horse's head on the Delphi picture to fit his design?

page 60 note 3 Berlin F 2415, from Capua: CVA (22), pl. 145 (1074) 1, with bibliography; Beazley, ARV, p. 776, 1 and 1669, The Group of Berlin 2415; Führer durch die Antikenabteilung, Gehrig, bearbeitet von U., Greifenhagen, A., Kunisch, N. (Berlin, 1968), pl. 83.

page 60 note 4 Pausanias i. 23.8; schol. on Aristophanes Av. 1128; Hesychius s.v. δο⋯ριος ἴппος; Overbeck, Schriftquellen, nos. 884–6, 888.

page 60 note 5 Overbeck, Schriftquellen, no. 887; Raubitschek, A. E., Dedications from the Athenian Acropolis (Cambridge, Mass., 1949), no. 176. The pedestal originally consisted of six blocks of which four are now extant.

page 61 note 1 Pausanias x. 9. 12; Overbeck, Schriftquellen, no. 1006.

page 61 note 2 Würzburg H 4695: H. Bulle, AE 1937, 474, fig. i; Dinsmoor, W. B., Hesperia ix (1940), 48, fig. 18; MDAI (A) Ixxvii (1962), Beil. 54. 2.

page 61 note 3 Walter, H., MDAI (A) Ixxvii (1962), 193–6.

page 61 note 4 The connection between lost illustrated manuscripts and the extant representations in other media has been a constant subject for study, and there is still much disagreement about it. The main argument concerns the likelihood of small illustrations on papyri having much influence on works of larger scale. See Jahn, O. and Michaelis, A., Griechische Bilderchroniken (Bonn, 1873), Robert, K., ‘Homerische Becher’ in Fünfzigstes Programm zum Winckelmannsfeste der archäologischen Gesellschaft zu Berlin (Berlin, 1890), Weitzmann, K., Illustrations in Roll and Codex (Princeton, 1947) and Ancient Book Illumination (Cambridge, Mass., 1959).

page 62 note 1 The most recent full treatment of ‘Homeric’ bowls is in Hausmann, U., Hellenistische Reliefbecher (Stuttgart, 1959).

page 62 note 2 Berlin 3161 k, from Tanagra: Robert, ‘Becher’, 69–73, IX and 69, fig. a; Brüning, A., JDAI ix (1894), 161, fig. 34; Courby, F., Les Vases grecs à reliefs (Paris, 1922), 307, no. 34 and 308, fig. 59; Hausmann, HR, pl. 41, 1 and p. 56, HB 32; Weitzmann, ABI, pl. 25, fig. 57.

page 62 note 3 Volos, from Phthiotic Thebes: Arvanitopoulos, A., AE 1910, pl. 2, figs. 6, 11, 12, 13, 14; Courby, 287, no. 11; Hausmann, HR, p. 57 HB 45. This vase was made in a different mould from the complete bowl and on it there are remains of a front hoof, a wheel, and part of a ladder; also Athena is named.

page 63 note 1 Winter, F., Die Skulpturen mit Ausnahme der Altarreliefs (Berlin, 1908), no. 357 in Altertümer von Pergamon vii. Another representation of the making of the Horse appears on a fourth-century Etruscan mirror, Paris. Cab. Méd.: Overbeck, Die Bildwerke zum Thebischen und Troischen Heldenkreis (1857), 609 no. 84, pl. 25, 4; Gerhard, E., Körte, G., and Klugman, A., Etruskische Spiegel ii (Berlin, 1845), pl. 235, 2.

page 63 note 2 The Tabulae Iliacae have been recently restudied by Sadurska, A., Les Tables iliaques (Warsaw, 1964) with full bibliography.

page 64 note 1 Rome, Museo Capitolino, Sala delle Columbe 83, from Bovillae on the Appian Way (?): Jahn, O. and Michaelis, A., Griechische Bilderchroniken (Bonn, 1873), pl. 1; A Catalogue of the Ancient Sculptures preserved in the Municipal Collections of Rome, the Sculptures of the Museo Capitolino (ed. Stuart-Jones, H., Oxford, 1912), pl. 41; Weitzmann, ABI, pl. 24, fig. 56; Scherer, Legends, p. xi, fig. 1; Sadurska, TI, pl. 1.

page 64 note 2 On the connection between Stesichoros and the Tabula Capitolina see Bowra, Greek Lyric Poetry (1961), 104–6; contra see Page, PMG, no. 205. The episode of the escape of Aeneas and his family from Troy is a subject for art as early as the late sixth century in Athens and is popular in Etruria; Schauenburg, K., Gymnasium Ixvii (1960), 176–91, and now Galinsky, G. K., Aeneas, Sicily and Rome (London, 1969).

page 66 note 1 Naples inv. 9040 (from Pompeii ix 7 16): Dawson, C., ‘Romano-Campanian Mythological Landscape Painting’, YCS ix (1944), 85, no. 12 and pl. 4.

page 66 note 2 Naples inv. 9010: Dawson, 86, no. 13 and pl. 5; Maiuri, A., Roman Painting (Geneva, 1953), 75;, Rumpf, A., Malerei und Zeichnung (Munich, 1953), pl. 63, 4; Scherer, Legends, 115, fig. 93; Wheeler, R. E. Mortimer, Roman Art and Architecture (London, 1964), 195, fig. 180.

page 66 note 3 For the sacred column and tree see Dawson, 129, and Haynes, D. E. L., JHS Ixxxviii (1968), 58–9.

page 67 note 1 Pompeii 1 10 4 (Menander's House): Maiuri, A., La casa del Menandro, e il suo tesoro di argenteria (Rome, 1932), 45, fig. 18 and pl. 5; Dawson, 113, no. 72.

page 67 note 2 A fourth painting is very fragmentary, but seems to go with the two similar versions (p. 66, nn. 1 and 2), Naples inv. 9893: Dawson, 86, no. 14.

page 67 note 3 See Robert, K., Rodenwaldt, G., and Rumpf, A., Die antiken Sarkophagreliefs (Berlin, 1890–); Strong, D. E., Roman Imperial Sculpture (London, 1961), 46 ff.

page 67 note 4 Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, Michaelis 111: Heydemann, H., Iliupersis (Berlin, 1866), pl. 2, 3; Robert, K., etc., Die antiken Sarkophagreliefs ii. 73–5, pl. 26, 64; Weitzmann, ABI, pl. 23, 54.

page 68 note 1 For the mixed art of the North-West Province of India see Buchthal, H., PBA xxxi (1945), 151–76, Wheeler, , Antiquity xxiii (1949), 419, Soper, A. C., AJA Iv (1951), 301–19, Rowland, B., The Art and Architecture of India (London, 1953), 75122, Wheeler, , Rome beyond the Imperial Frontiers (London, 1954), 154–71, Rayonnement des civilisations grecque et romaine sur les cultures périphériques (Paris, 1965), 555–65.

page 68 note 2 Wylie Collection (from Charsada?): Allen, J., JHS Ixvi (1946), 21–3 and fig. 1; Wheeler, , Rome beyond the Imperial Frontiers, pl. 34; Weitzmann, , ABI, pl. 23, fig. 55; Austin, Virgil, , Aeneid ii, pl. 1 (facing p. 48); Wheeler, , Roman Art and Architecture, 228, fig. 212.

page 68 note 3 For the Dura excavations see Cumont, F., Fouilles de Dura-Europos 1922–23 (Paris, 1926), Excavations at Dura-Europos (Preliminary and Final Reports), ed. Baur, P. V. C., Rostovtzeff, M. I., Welles, C. B., and others (New Haven, 1929–), Rostovtzeff, , Caravan Cities (Oxford, 1932), Dura-Europos and its Art (Oxford, 1938), Colledge, M. A. R., The Parthians (London, 1967).

page 68 note 4 New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery 1933. 480: AJA xxxix (1935), 297, fig. 4; Excavations at Dura-Europos 7th and 8th Seasons, 1933–34, 1934–35, ed. Rostovtzeff, M. I., Brown, F. E., and Welles, C. B. (New Haven, 1939), pls. 41–2 and pp. 326–49.

page 69 note 1 Déchelette, J., Les Vases céramiques ornés de la Gaule romaine ii (Paris, 1904), 349, no. 158, found in the vicinity of Vienne.

page 69 note 2 Vatican, cod. lat. 3225 (Vaticanus), fol. 19 recto: Fragmenta et picturae Vergiliana Codicis Vaticani Latini 3225 (3rd edn., Vatican, 1945), pl. 19, no. 14; de Wit, J., Die Miniaturen des Vergilius Vaticanus (Amsterdam, 1959), p. 53, pl. 8, fig. 2 and pl. 30, fig. 1, no. 14; Weitzmann, ABI, pl. 31, fig. 68. Lowe, E. A., Codices Latini Antiquiores i (Oxford, 1934), p. 5, gives the place of origin as Rome.

page 69 note 3 Vaticanus, cod. lat. 3867 (Romanus), fol. 101 recto: [Ehrle, F.], Picturae ornamenta complura scripturae specimina codicis Vaticani 3867 qui Codex Vergilii Romanus audit (Rome, 1902), no. 14; Weitzmann, ABI, pl. 31, fig. 69; Austin Virgil, Aeneid ii, frontispiece; Lowe, op. cit. p. 7, says that the origin of this manuscript is uncertain.

page 70 note 1 Florence, codex Riccardianus 881, fol. 59 recto: Austin, Virgil, Aeneid ii, pl. 2 (facing p. 110). The date might be as late as the late thirteenth century.

page 70 note 2 Brussels 3897–919. Information on this twelfth-century manuscript was kindly supplied by A. Keith Bate of Reading University, who is making a study of the Troy legends in later times.

page 70 note 3 The theme of the Trojan Horse is popular in all periods of later art. On these later periods see Scherer, Legends, Appendix B 238–53, with figs. 89, 94, and 95.

1 This article takes its rise from a lecture delivered in various parts of the country, mainly to schools' audiences. Those who are interested in the subject might wish to use the slides of the original lectures, which are now available for borrowing (2″ × 2″, as a set with notes) from the slide collection of the Hellenic and Roman Societies, 31–4 Gordon Square, London, W.C. 1. Professor C. M. Robertson very kindly suggested some improvements to this present article.

For permission to include the illustrations for this article, I am grateful to the following scholars and institutions: Athens, German Institute (for the Mykonos pithos); Berlin, Staatliche Museen (Dr. U. Gehrig); London, British Museum (Dr. Ann Birchall); Munich, Staatliche Museen Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek (Dr. D. Ahrens); New York, Metropolitan Museum (Dr. D. von Bothmer); Oxford, Ashmolean Museum (Dr. H. Catling); Rome, Vatican; Würzburg, Martin von Wagner Museum (Dr. G. Beckel). The illustrations for text figures 2, 3, 4, 5 and for plate 4b have been taken directly from published pictures. Plate 3b is from an Alinari photograph. Miss Miller, of the British Museum staff, very kindly drew the fibula on text figure 1 for this article, by courtesy of the Trustees.

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