The young male portrayed to the central medallion can be associated with the mythological figure of Perseus, shown while holding Medusa’s head. In Ancient Greek mythology and culture, Perseus was the hero who slayed the Gorgon Medusa. Alternatively, it is possible that the figure depicted is meant to be one of the Tyrannicides – most likely Aristogeiton, poised with a cloak to conceal his weapon in preparation to kill the tyrant Hipparchus. Since the kylix would most likely have been used in a sympiotic context, either option is feasible – as the guests would have discussed both mythology and politics, the kylix decoration would neatly reflect these themes. In Classical Athens there were also a number of cults devoted to the Tyrannicides, adding a potentially religious dimension to the political.
To discover more about the Symposium, please visit our relevant blog post: The Art of Drinking Together, or the Symposium.