Erich Lessing

In order to resist the sirens’ call and safely navigate past their island, Odysseus has himself strapped to the mast of his ship and places wax in his crewmen’s ears. The episode, from Book 12 of Homer’s Odyssey, is illustrated on this red-figure Attic stamnos (a kind of storage jar) dating around 490 B.C. While two sirens are perched upon rocks, a third dives to her death, grief-stricken perhaps at failing to seduce the clever Odysseus.