Side B: The Battle

Two hoplites in high-crested Corinthian helmets engage in combat over a third, fallen soldier. Behind each combatant stands a woman. On the right-hand side, the woman looks directly ahead in a determined fashion which matches her stance. The white gloss of her face and details of her fierce expression are well-preserved. On the left side, the woman leans forward slightly and holds her slender hands outward, palms up, as if imploring. The gloss on her face is in worse condition and more difficult to read, but the contrast in the demeanor of the two figures suggests that the soldier on the right will win.

The head of the fallen warrior below points to the right. Although none of the figures on this vessel is named, in vessels where the combatants are identified, the convention is for the victor to be on the right and for the head of the fallen figure to be facing his friend (Boardman, p. 209). This reading would complement the contrasting stances of the women and support the theory that the warrior on the right will prevail. If this scene illustrates an episode from the Trojan War, the most likely would be Thetis watching her son, Achilles, fight Memnon over the body of Antilochos, whose shield device is that of a ship's prow.