The Antimenes Painter decorated many hydriae--three-handled water jars--of the sort seen here. In the main scene the goddess Athena, painted white to indicate her gender, helps harness her four-horse chariot, assisted by several grooms and the bearded charioteer. This harnessing technique accurately reflects sixth-century b.c. practices. The appearance of Athena dressed for war may refer to her legendary invention of the war chariot or perhaps to an episode from the Iliad.The scene on the shoulder of the vase depicts Zeus, the central figure, intervening in the fight between Heracles (on Zeus' right) and Cycnus (on his left). This divine battle occurred because Cycnus stole the sacrificial animals of the god Apollo.