The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu
Paris, prince of Troy and son of King Priam, (with scepter) shakes hands with Hermes, accepting his fate to judge the most beautiful of the goddesses. Aphrodite wins the contest by offering Helen (the wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta) to Paris as a bribe, setting off the Trojan War. Amphorae, like this 6th-century-BC example, were used for storing and transporting liquids and grain. Large amphorae filled with olive oil were also given as prizes during games and athletic competitions. (The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu)
Achilles withdrew from battle after his compatriot Agamemnon insisted on claiming Briseis, Achilles’ “prize bride.” Another Greek hero, Odysseus (left), motivated by battlefield losses in Achilles’ absence, tries to convince the sulking hero to fight. This 4th-century-BC fragment of a kylix may have come from a vessel used in a wine-drinking game called kottabos. (Douris, painter/Kleophrades, potter/The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu)
The scene of Achilles (on the left) and Ajax (on the right) playing a board game was popular in 6th-century-BC Athens, even though no such encounter appears in the recorded epic poems. Both men are fully armed, and in this depiction, Athena, goddess of war, stands in the foreground. (Leagros Group, painter/The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu)
This 6th-century-BC amphora shows Odysseus as he slits the throat of a Thracian warrior during a night raid on a Trojan encampment. Odysseus and Diomedes were sent on a mission to steal the horses of Rhesos, the Thracian king. (The Inscription Painter/The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu)
After the death of Achilles, Ajax and Odysseus quarrel for his armor, which is eventually awarded to Odysseus. Shamed by his loss, Ajax commits suicide. This 5th-century-BC kylix shows Tekmessa, Ajax’s lover, rushing to cover his dead body. (Brygos Painter/The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu)
Aeneas, the Trojan hero and legendary founder of Rome, carries his father, Anchises, to safety during the sack of Troy. The goddess Aphrodite, Aeneas’s mother, waves sorrowfully to the group, which is lead by Aeneas’s son Ascanius. The painter of this 6th-century-BC amphora labeled all the people and included commentary on their beauty. (Leagros Group/The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu)
HistoryNet.com is brought to you by World History Group, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines.