Cinerary urn of the "Master of Oenomaus"
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Cinerary urn of the "Master of Oenomaus"

Todi, area of La Rocca
early 2nd cent. BC
alabaster
lid: height cm 40.5; length cm 81.
casket: height cm 43; length cm 84.5
cat. 13887.

Portrayed on the cover are a man and wife lying on a kline in the act of banqueting. They are sculpted in the round. In bas-relief on the casket is Pelops killing Oenomaus. Oenomaus, lord of Pisa in the Elide, used to challenge the suitors of his daughter Hippodamia in a fatal chariot race, from Pisa to the Isthmus of Corinth, during which he reached them and killed them by piercing them with his spear. Only Pelops managed finally to defeat him, using the horses received as a gift from Poseidon, or, according to another version, by corrupting Myrtilus, Oenomaus' charioteer, who sabotaged a wheel of his sovereign's chariot. A winged female demon, shown high up in the centre, intervenes actively in the fight, which is presented with an extremely animated and articulated composition on a number of levels. The urn has been attributed to the "Master of Oenomaus", a conventional figure mainly linked to the area of Volterra.