Oh, Behave! Nothing in Excess or Everything in Good Order: The “Portraits” of Solon and Khilon on a Late Archaic Attic Red-Figure Cup by Oltos

  • Jeremy J. Johnson
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 106)


The following study builds upon a recent examination of the komasts labeled Solon and Khilon on a late sixth century B.C. Attic red-figure kylix (London E19) by Oltos. What ensues is a reassessment of the identification of the figures as two of the traditional members of the Seven Sages. In question are the youthful appearance of the figures and their pairing on the cup in light of chronological disparities. Also under scrutiny is the sympotic setting for the gathering of these constitutional reformers. Ultimately, however, the inquiry focuses upon the meaning or purpose behind the selection of these historic figures for the cup. Reanalysis of the cup intends to strengthen the identification of Solon and Khilon as exemplars of proper sympotic behavior by drawing upon the figures’ real-life concerns and declarations for the establishment and maintenance of social order, while further reappraisal intends to establish this message by highlighting similarities in the interests of Solon and Khilon in eunomia and the current political aims of Kleisthenes for isonomia in Athens at the time of the cup’s manufacture.


Traditional Representation British Museum Sixth Century Historical Figure Civil Strife 
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I would like to thank Tyler Jo Smith for her comments and suggestions, Alan Shapiro for his help with earlier versions of this paper, Greg Anderson for sharing with me the final draft of his most recent publication on Kleisthenes, Paola Ceccarelli for our discussions on the pyrrhic dance, and John Oakley for general iconographic issues. Any errors are my own.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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