Lekythos (oil flask), ca. 500 b.c.; black–figure
Attributed to the Diosphos Painter
Greek, Attic, Archaic
Terracotta; H. 7 11/32 in. (18.8 cm)
Gift of Dietrich von Bothmer, 1964 (64.300)
Depicted on the vase, between two women, is Theseus slaying the Minotaur, the half man, half bull, which inhabited the labyrinth beneath the palace of King Minos at Knossos, Crete. According to myth, King Minos forced Athens to sacrifice seven maidens and seven youths annually to feed the monster. Theseus, intent on putting an end to this grizzly tribute, volunteered to be sacrificed, and with the help of Minos's daughter, Ariadne, was able to defeat the Minotaur.