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GREEK]
711
CERAMICS

(British Museum, Nos. 1645-1647) (21). This glaze possibly contains a small amount of lead; in appearance it is not unlike the contemporary translucent blue glaze of Egypt. The Egyptian glaze certainly spread into western Asia, and we find the last specimens of it in the tiles from the destroyed city of Rhagae in Persia, which may be as late as the 13th century A.D. The lead glazes, unknown in Egypt till the late Roman period, may be of Asiatic origin, though this important point is by no means clear.

References.—(1) Petrie-Quibell, Ballas and Nagada (date erroneous); (2) Jacques de Morgan, L’ Âge de la pierre et des métaux; (3) Petrie, Diospolis Parva, frontispiece (also for “sequence-dates” of pottery); (4) Garstang, Mahâsna and Bêt Khallâf, pls. xxix.—xxxii.; (5) Petrie, Illahûn, pl. xii. (corr. by V. Bissing in (14)); (6) V. Bissing, Catalogue générale du musée de Caire, “Die Fayencegefässe”; (7) Petrie, Abydos, ii., frontispiece; (8) Henry Wallis, Egyptian Ceramic Art (Macgregor Collection); (9) Guide to Third and Fourth Egyptian Rooms, British Museum, p. 252 ff.; (10) Petrie, Tel-el-Amarna; (11) Guide to Third and Fourth Egyptian Rooms, p. 261; (12) Petrie, Nagâda, pl. xxviii.; (13) Petrie, Illahûn, pls. xx., xxi.; (14) V. Bissing, Strena Helbigiana, p. 20 ff.; (15) Garstang, El Arábah, pls. xviii.-xxi., xxviii., xxix.; (16) Hall, Oldest Civilization of Greece, p. 143 ff. ibid. figs. 29, 30, 69; (17) Guide to Third and Fourth Egyptian Rooms, pl. viii.; (18) Petrie, Tell-el-Hesy, pl. v.; (19) Welch, Ann. Brit. Sch. Ath. vi.; (20) de Morgan, Délégation en Perse, viii. (1905); (21) Brit. Mus.: Guide to Babylonian and Assyrian Room.  (H. R. H.) 

Greek, Etruscan and Roman

Greek. Study of Greek Vases.—It is not so many years since an account of Greek pottery would naturally have followed chronologically the history of Egyptian pottery with little overlapping; but recent discoveries have reversed all such ideas, and, while up to the end of the 19th century the earliest remains to be traced on Greek soil could be assigned at the furthest to the period 2500-2000 B.C., it is now possible not only to show that at that period technical processes were highly developed, but even to trace a continuous development of Greek pottery from the Neolithic age. This result has been mainly brought about by Dr Arthur Evans’s researches at Cnossus in Crete, but traces of similar phenomena are not wanting in other parts of Greece. Whether the race which produced this pottery can strictly be called Greek may be open to question, but at all events the ware is the independent product of a people inhabiting in prehistoric times the region afterwards known as Greece; its connexion with the pottery of the historic period can now be clearly traced, and in its advanced technical character and the genuinely artistic appearance of its decoration even this early ware proclaims itself as inspired by a similar genius.

The study of Greek vases has thus received an additional impetus from the light that it throws on the early civilization of the country, and its value for the student of ethnology. But it has always appealed strongly to the archaeologist and in some degree also to the artist or connoisseur, to the former from its importance as a contribution to the history of Greek art, mythology and antiquities, to the latter from its beauty of form and decoration. Attention was first redirected to the painted vases at the end of the 17th century, though for a long time they served as little more than an adjunct to the cabinet of the amateur or a pleasing souvenir for the traveller; but even during the 18th century it dawned on the minds of students that they were of more than merely artistic importance, and attention was devoted to the elucidation of their subjects, and attempts made to arrive at a chronological classification. Two facts must, however, be borne in mind: firstly, that down to the middle of the 19th century the great majority of painted vases had been found only in Italy; secondly, that these vases were mostly of the later and more florid styles, which, if artistically advanced, are now known to represent a decadent phase of Greek art.

EB1911 Ceramics Fig. 12.—Jug from Cyprus of Oriental style, 10 in. high.jpg
Fig. 12.—Jug from Cyprus of
Oriental style, 10 in. high.
EB1911 Ceramics Fig. 13.—Pottery from Cyprus with geometrical ornament.jpg
Fig. 13.—Pottery from Cyprus with
geometrical ornament.

From the former cause arose the notion that these vases were the product not of Greek but of Etruscan artists, and so the term “Etruscan vase” arose and passed into the languages of Europe, surviving even at this day in popular speech in spite of a century of refutation. Meanwhile, the study of the subjects depicted on the vases passed through the successive stages of allegorical, historical and mystical interpretation, until a century and more of painstaking study led to the more rational principles of modern archaeologists.

Sites and Discoveries.—The sites on which Greek vases have been found cover the whole area of the Mediterranean and beyond, from the Crimea to Spain, and from Marseilles to Egypt. By far the great majority, at all events of the finer specimens, have been extracted from the tombs of Vulci and other sites in Etruria; those of the later period or decadence have been found in large numbers on various sites in southern Italy, such as Capua, Curnae and Nola in Campania, Anzi in Lucania, and Ruvo in Apulia. In the western Mediterranean, Sicily has also been a fruitful field for this pottery, early varieties being found at Syracuse, later ones at Gela, Girgenti and elsewhere. Painted vases have also come to light in Sardinia and in North Africa, especially in the Cyrenaica, where the finds mostly belong to the 4th century B.C. In Greece proper the most prolific site has been Athens, where the finds extend from the Dipylon vases of the 8th century B.C. down to the decadent productions of the 4th century; one group, that of the white funeral lekythoi, is almost peculiar to Athens. Next to this city, Corinth has been most productive, especially in pottery of the archaic period and of local manufacture. Large quantities of pottery of all periods have been yielded by Thebes, Tanagra and other sites in Boeotia, and remains of the “Mycenaean” period at Mycenae, Argos and elsewhere. But on the whole painted pottery is rare in other parts of the mainland. Among the western islands of the archipelago, Aegina and Euboea have proved fruitful in vases of all periods; Thera, Melos and others of the Cyclades are remarkable for pottery of the prehistoric period with rudely painted designs; and above all Crete is now famous for the wondrous series of painted and ornamented pottery of pre-Mycenacan date, which can be traced back even to the Neolithic period, and the discovery of which has entirely revolutionized the preconceived theories on the appearance of painted pottery in Greece. This has been found in the recent excavations at Cnossus, Palaeokastro and elsewhere. In Asia Minor there have been some important finds on the mainland, but only along the coast; some of the islands, more especially Samos and Rhodes, have been more fruitful in this respect. At Kertch and elsewhere in the Crimea, large numbers of fine but somewhat florid vases of the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. have come to light. Cyprus has long been known as a rich field for pottery of all periods, from the Mycenaean onwards, the later varieties being marked by strong local quasi-oriental characteristics, with little development from the more primitive types (figs. 12 and 13). The principal sites are Salamis, Amathus, Marion (Poli) and Curium. Lastly, in the Egyptian delta two sites, Naucratis and Daphnae, have yielded results of considerable importance for the history of early Greek vase-painting.

The great majority of these vases have been found in tombs; but some important discoveries have been made on the sites of temples and sanctuaries, as on the Acropolis of Athens, or at Naucratis. In such cases the vases are seldom complete, having been broken up and cast away into rubbish-heaps, where the fragments have remained undisturbed. The tombs vary greatly in form, those of Greece being usually small rock-graves or shafts, those of Italy often fine and elaborate chambers with architectural details, and the manner in which the vases are found in these tombs varies greatly. Plain unornamented pottery is almost universal, and may be considered to have formed the “tomb-furniture” proper—the painted vases being as in daily life merely ornamental adjuncts.