The Sirens

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The Sirens and Scylla; moulded relief on a black ware phiale

The ship of Odysseus is represented four times, at four different stages of the story.

1. to the right: two men lower and furl the sail to prepare for the passage between the rocks

2. at the top: one of the sailors binds Odysseus with his hands behind his back to the bare mast.

3. to the left: the vessel sails past the Sirens

4. on the bottom: the ship sails up to Scylla, who has seized one of the crew with her left hand, and dragged him from the deck. Meanwhile Odysseus, armed with trident and shield, followed by a comrade who shoots a bow, makes a vain attempt to fight the monster.



who is the figure between the first and second groups, standing on a jutting rock, his head leaning on his staff, with a dog fawning before him? (top right)

Is he a shepherd?

Is it Odysseus returned to Ithaca, being recognised by his dog, Argus?

Is the first ship, then, that of the Phaeacians, who have brought Odysseus home, and are lowering the sail to land him?

Homer mentions two Sirens in his version of the story, here there are three, which is the usual number in Greek art.