Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Katherine M. D. Dunbabin
In the fourth century B. C. the depiction of the grypomachy, a battle between griffins and a group of Eastern barbaroi identified as the Arimasps, became popular in Attic vase-painting. The presence of a non-Greek scene upon Greek ceramics at this time indicates a continued interest in the representation of Orientalia and implies a desire to design wares that would appeal to foreign markets. The Introduction considers Greek and Near Eastern representations of the griffin and its role in vase-painting prior to the fourth century. Chapter 1 examines the ancient sources that deal with the griffins and Arimasps singly or in relation to each other. In Chapter 2, the grypomachy scenes found on Attic pottery are discussed, with emphasis on the representation of the griffin and the Arimasp, in an effort to ascertain the degree to which the visual representation correspond to those found in the literature of Chapter 1. Catalogue A lists, with illustrations, the vases decorated with grypomachy scenes. Chapter 3 discusses a scene related to that of the grypomachy: Arimasps and griffins working in cooperation with each other. This type of scene parallels others found on fourth-century pottery, those of gods riding griffins, and suggests iconographic contamination. The scenes examined in Chapter 3 are described and illustrated in Catalogue B. Chapter 4 examines the art of ancient Iran and Scythia, the lands most closely associated with the Arimaps in ancient sources, in an attempt to discover the source of the grypomachy scene. In chapter 5, the possible sources of the fourth-century grypomachy are discussed, along with the influence which affected the representation of its participants and the marker for which the scene may have been developed.
MacDonald, Kathleen, "The Grypomachy in Fourth-Century Attic Vase Painting" (1987). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6018.
McMaster University Library