The Griffin and Lion Ivory Pyxis Lid from the Grave of the Griffin Warrior at Pylos

by Jack L. Davis, Sharon R. Stocker, and Joan Aruz

Hesperia, Volume 93, Issue 1
Page(s): 1-27
Stable URL: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/922191
Year: 2024


In 2015, an exquisite ivory pyxis lid was discovered in the grave of the Griffin Warrior at Pylos. The lid, carved in high relief, depicts in great detail a combat in which a lion defeats a griffin. The modeling and carving of the ivory are of exceptional quality. Here, we first consider the specific context and circumstances of discovery of the lid—the final find removed from the grave—before turning to a discussion of precedents and parallels for its motifs and theme. Finally, we consider the possibility that a scene of a lion victorious over a griffin had particular significance at Pylos, in light of relations between Messenia and Neopalatial Crete in the Late Helladic IIA period.