The komos is a parade of masked men costumed as satyrs and an occasion of feasting, joyous drinking and dancing.1 According to Maurice Emmanuel, representations of komos was much affected by the painters of vases and the fashion spread over the whole of Hellenistic world, to Boeotia and its kothons.2 The homosexual theme painted on the kothon served its purpose because; the kothon was the preferred drinking-vessel by soldiers taken on campaigns because it is easily carried in a knapsack. Greek men are known to practice pederasty and soldiers were known to fight with their lovers in battle. In the Constitution of the Lacedaemonians, Critias wrote about the vessel: “The reason why it is so well adapted to military use is that it is often necessary to drink water that is not pure. It is first of all useful because the liquid to be drunk cannot be seen with any clarity.”3 The Boeotian black figure tripod kothon further demonstrates this with its inward turning edges which would inevitably catch a residue of the impurities inside its lip.
One man, in dancing depiction, stretches an inviting reach toward the other dancing figures chin in the depiction of hopeful gesture for a romantic response. It appears that the dances are part of Dionysian rites with its revelry and wine-involved dances. Dionysius or his representation, however, is not depicted in the painting. According to Csapo and Miller, it is difficult to establish a connection to Dionysius on the basis of available iconography because the kothon paintings only show general associations such as the use of wine in the ritual and the masked satyrs.4
In the previously cited kothon artifact housed in Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, there is a more detailed depiction of the komos in the Boeotian kothon (see the picture below). In this case, the komos is collocated with a sacrifice ceremony, involving wine-poring, piper playing and ...
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