Scene

3. Rape of Chrysippus

Above the scene of Actaeon’s torment, separated from it by a frieze with opposing pairs of fantastic beasts (dominated by sphinges and griffins, but there are also lions, panthers, and a doe), we find another scene, also associated with the Theban myth cycle. This one tells of later events. Young Laius, the future father of King Oedipus, while visiting King Pelops in the Peloponnese, fell in love with his young son Chrysippus (whose name translates as "Golden Horse") and kidnapped him.

The cold light of five stars is cutting the night gloom. A divine quadriga with a purple body is racing ahead. In it is standing Laius – the incarnation of the lord of the Other world. Chrysippus is busting out of his embrace. The boy’s father Pelops is rushing to help, in his Phrygian cap and boots – he is a stranger, a native of Lydia, in Asia Minor. Pelops manages to take his son by the hand, and a handshake for the ancients (dexiosis) - is the pledge of victory and salvation. Eros is flying from heaven, carrying a wreath and a diadem to Chrysippus. And, in addition to all, a young god is imperiously stopping the horses. In literary myths, Chrysippus perishes, but he escapes in the Darius Painter’s version. On the right, above, is hanging a diadem, as a sign of the end of the story. However, here only the mythological part ends here.

Digital reconstruction
Digital reconstruction