Bild, Mythos, and Ritual: Choral Dance in Theseus’s Cretan Adventure on the Fran├žois Vase

by Guy Hedreen

Hesperia, Volume 80, Issue 3
Page(s): 491-510
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2972/hesperia.80.3.0491
Year: 2011


Although the Fran├žois vase clearly depicts Theseus leading a dance upon his arrival on Crete, most commentators have argued, on the basis of literary accounts, that Kleitias intended to depict a later moment in the story. The dance upon arrival, however, has several discursive functions within the image: by characterizing Theseus as the choregos of a dance traditionally performed by marriageable young people, it presents him as a promising husband for Ariadne; and by evoking the triumphal ritual arrival of Dionysos, the image anticipates that Theseus will be victorious. In this image, mythical narrative, spectacle, and the socialization of adolescence are carefully woven together.