University of Pennsylvania Museum

The snake emblazoned on the shield of a fallen Greek warrior has apparently failed to protect him from his Scythian foe, in this scene on a fifth-century B.C. red-figured kylix by the Foundry Painter. The Scythians, a nomadic people from Central Asia, were known as skilled archers who coated their arrows with scythicon, a deadly mixture of dung, human blood serum and poisonous viper venom.