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Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases

Madrid Puteal

A puteal is a construction built around the top of a well. This circular puteal is decorated with a scene depicting the birth of Athena.

The subject is most famously used in the east pediment of the Parthenon. As it was an unusual one in Greek and Roman art it is possible to draw a line of influence between the Parthenon sculptures and the reliefs on this well-head. The arrangement of figures here, including three Fates, striding Hephaistos, Zeus on his throne, Nike, and the newly born Athena, may hint at the appearance of the lost central part of the Parthenon’s east pediment.

However it is now thought that this puteal is derived from fourth century BCE sources, long after the Parthenon; and that Athena not Zeus may have been the central figure, and that Zeus faced not to the side but outwards

Location of Original: 

Madrid, Museo Arqueológico 2691


Purchased in 1884 from the casting establishment of the Berlin Museum


Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 152 (n.1)
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 54, no. 248
Rhys Carpenter: Hesperia 2 (1933), 1
Arndt & Amelung: Photografische Einzelaufnamen Antiker Skulpturen, series VI (1912), 1725-
Palagia: The Pediments of the Parthenon, 27

Second century CE

Probably from Rome

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