K8.11 THE BIRTH OF ATHENA
|Museum Collection||Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond|
|Beazley Archive No.||-|
|Ware||Attic Black Figure|
|Painter||Attributed to a Painter of Group E|
|Date||ca. 545 - 535 B.C.|
The goddess Athena is birthed from the head of Zeus. The king of the gods sits on a throne decorated with the sculptural foreparts of two horses. He holds a royal sceptre in one hand and a stylized lightning-bolt in the other. A miniature-sized Athena springs from his brow, ready equipped with a spear, shield, helm and serpent-trimmed aegis vest. Four gods witness the birth--Hermes, Eileithyia, Hera and Ares. Hermes wears a peaked traveller's cap, short cape (chlamys), and "winged" boots, and holds a herald's wand in his hand. Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, midwifes the child with two high raised arms (cf. image K8.14). Hera, standing opposite her, is crowned with a mitra and lifts a single hand. Her son Ares is depicted as a hoplite warrior with a peaked helm, greaves, spear, and shield decorated with the image of a tripod.