The Cyclops

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The Blinding of Polyphemus, painting on an archaic vase by the potter Aristonothos, from Caere, now in the Etruscan Capitoline Museum, Rome.

Here Polyphemus is no bigger than Odysseus and his mates. He is just waking up, supports himself on his left hand and with his right tries to fend off the burning stake, which is already lodged in his eye.

The pole is held by Odysseus and four comrades, each armed with a sword. The figure on the extreme left shoves with one foot against the wall which frames the picture.

Over the head of he Cyclops appears to be a wicker basket mounted on a pole stuck in the ground - perhaps representing the cheese-baskets Homer speaks of. Above this, the artist has signed himself "Aristothonos made". Elsewhere, circles fill up the vacant spaces - as is usual on archaic pottery.