antiopa

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Achilles Drags Hector:  Black-Figure Hydria C. 510 BC

Greek vase-painters often used subjects from Homer’s great epics the Iliad and the Odyssey in their work. On this hydria - a vessel with three handles for carrying water - the Attic painter depicted a scene from the Trojan war in which Achilles ties the body of the Trojan hero Hector, killed by him, to a chariot. He goes on to mock his enemy’s body publicly by dragging it along the ground before the very walls of Troy.

Attributed to the Antiopa Painter, Leagros group, Attica.

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Saw my first Mourning Cloak Butterfly (Nymphalis antiopa) of the season today – they are always a sure sign that spring has arrived!  The Mourning Cloak overwinters, rather than undergoing migration, and thus they are some of the first butterflies seen in spring.  Their diet consists mainly of tree sap and decaying matter – enabling them to survive in early spring before most flowers begin blossoming – they are not frequent flower visitors.  Mourning Cloaks are one of the longest-lived species of butterfly (11-12 months).  They are also strong fliers and interesting to watch!

(Photos via Wikimedia Commons – alas, I never have much luck photographing them)