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724 
[ROMAN
CERAMICS


shapes may be collected from Latin literature, and the same difficulties as to identification arise in the majority of cases. They may, however, be classified in the same manner; as vases for storing liquids, for mixing or pouring wine, for use at the table, and so on. In addition Varro and other writers have preserved a number of archaic and obscure names chiefly applied to the vases used in sacrifices.

The principal vases for storing liquid or solid food were:—The dolium, a large cask or barrel of earthenware; the amphora, a jar holding about six gallons; and the cadus, a jar about half as large as the amphora. The dolium had no foot, and was usually buried in the earth; it was also used for purposes of burial. The amphora corresponds to the Greek wine-jar of that name, and had, like its prototype, a pointed base. Many examples were found at Pompeii stamped with the names of consuls (cf. Hor. Od. in. 21. 1), or with painted inscriptions relating to their contents. The cadus is mentioned by Horace and Martial.

Of smaller vases for holding liquids, such as jugs, bottles and flasks, the principal were the urceus, answering to the Greek οἰνοχόη, the ampulla, a kind of flask with globular body, and the lagena, a narrow-necked flask or bottle. Of drinking-cups the Romans had almost as large a variety as the Greeks, and the great majority of the ornamented vases preserved to the present day were devoted to this purpose. The generic name for a cup was poculum, but the Romans borrowed many of the Greek names, such as cantharus and scyphus. The calix appears to have answered in popularity, though not in form, to the Greek kylix, and is probably the name by which the ornamented bowls were usually known. The names for a dish are lanx, patina and catinum. Another common form is the olla (Greek χύτρα), which served many purposes, being used for a cooking-pot, for a jar in which money was kept, or for a cinerary urn. The form of vase identified with this name has a spherical or elliptical body with short neck and wide mouth. Of sacrificial vases the principal was the patera or libation-bowl, corresponding to the Greek φιάλη.

Arretine Ware.—The Latin writers, and in particular Pliny, mention numerous places in Italy, Asia Minor and elsewhere, which were famous for the production of pottery in Roman times. Pliny mentions with special commendation the “Samian Ware,” the reputation of which, he says, was maintained by Arretium (Arezzo). Samian pottery is also alluded to by other writers, and hence the term was adopted in modern times as descriptive of the typical Roman red wares with reliefs, whether found in Italy, Germany, Gaul or Britain. But it was only accepted with diffidence as a convenient name, and as early as 1840 discoveries at Arezzo made it possible to distinguish the vases found there as a local product, now known as “Arretine” ware. The name “Samian” has, however, adhered to the provincial wares and at the present day is often used even by archaeologists. But recent researches have shown that nearly all the provincial wares can be traced to Gaulish or German potteries, and, since it is implied by Pliny that “Samian” pottery is older than “Arretine,” the name may now be fairly rejected altogether, as we have rejected the name “Etruscan” for Greek pottery. The Romans probably used it as a generic term, just as we speak of “china,” and the real Samian ware is to be seen in the later Greek pottery, with reliefs, of the 3rd century B.C.

There were, as Pliny and other writers imply, many pottery centres in Italy, at Rhegium, Cumae, Mutina and elsewhere, as well as at Saguntum in Spain, but all were surpassed in excellence by Arretium. In more modern times its pottery came under notice even in the middle ages, and discoveries were made in the time of Leo X (about 1500) and again in the 18th century. The Arretine ware may be regarded as the Roman pottery par excellence, and its popularity extended from about 150 B.C. down to the end of the 1st century of the Empire, reaching its height in the 1st century B.C., after which it rapidly degenerated, and its place was taken by the wares of the provinces. Its general characteristics may be summed up as follows:—(1) The fine local red clay, carefully levigated and baked very hard to a rich coral red or a colour like sealing-wax; (2) the fine red glaze, which has already been discussed; (3) the great variety of forms employed, showing the marked influence of metal-work; (4) the almost invariable presence of stamps with potters’ names. The majority of the specimens have been found at Arezzo itself, but there was a branch of the industry at Puteoli, producing pottery almost equal in merit, and it was also exported to central and eastern Europe and Spain.

The earliest examples are of black glossy ware, but the red appears to have been introduced by 100 B.C., when the first potters’ stamps appear. These are usually quadrangular in form, though other shapes are found, and are impressed in the midst of the design on the ornamented vases, or on plain wares on the bottom of the interior. The number of potters’ names is very large, though some appear to have been more prolific than others, and to have employed a large number of slaves, whose names appear with their masters’ on the stamps. The best known is Marcus Perennius, whose wares take highest rank for their artistic merit, the designs being copied from good Greek models. He employed seventeen slaves, of whom the best known is Tigranes, the stamps usually appearing as M·PEREN and TIGRAN. The slave-name of Bargates is found on one of his finest vases, in the Boston Museum, the subject being the fall of Phaethon. We may suppose that the stamps for the figures were designed by the masters, but that the vases were actually moulded by the slaves. Other important artists are Calidius Strigo, who had twenty slaves; P. Cornelius, who had no less than forty; Aulus Titius, who signs himself A·TITI·FIGVL·ARRET; the Annii and the Tetii; and L. Rasinius Pisanus, a degenerate potter of the Flavian period, who imitated Gaulish wares.

The forms of the vases are all, without exception, borrowed from metal shapes and are of marked simplicity (see fig. 37, Nos. 1, 8, 9, 11). They are mostly of small size and devoid of handles, but a notable exception is a bell-shaped krater or mixing-bowl, of which there is a very fine example in the British Museum, found at Capua and decorated with the four seasons (Plate III. fig. 62). For the decoration and subjects the potters undoubtedly drew their inspiration from the “new-Attic” reliefs of the Hellenistic period, of which the krater just cited is an example. So, too, are such subjects as the dancing maenads or priestesses with wicker head-dresses, or the Dionysiac scenes which are found, for instance, on the vases of Perennius. Others again are distinguished by a free use of conventional ornament, figures when they occur being merely decorative. There is throughout a remarkable variety both in the ornamentation and in the methods of composition.

Provincial Wares.—The Arretine ware, as has been noted, steadily degenerated during the 1st century of the Empire, and the manufacture of ornamental pottery appears to have entirely died out in Italy by the time of Trajan. Its place was taken by the pottery of the provinces, especially by that of Gaul, where the transference of artistic traditions led to the rise of new industrial centres in the country bordering on the Rhone and the Rhine.

As to the general characteristics of the provincial wares, that is, of the ornamented wares or terra sigillata, the clay is fine and close-grained, harder than the Arretine, and when broken shows a light red fracture; the surface is smooth and lustrous, of a brighter yet darker red colour (i.e. less like coral) than that of Arretine ware, but the tone varies with the degree of heat used. The most important feature is the fine glaze with which it is coated, similar in composition to that of the Arretine; it is exceedingly thin and transparent, and laid equally over the whole surface, only slightly brightening the color of the clay. The ornament is invariably coarser than that of Arretine ware, by which, however, it is indirectly inspired.

The vases are usually of small dimensions, consisting of various types of bowls, cups and dishes, of which two or three forms are preferred almost to the exclusion of the rest, and they frequently bear the stamp of the potter impressed on the inside or outside. Although this ware is found all over the Roman world, by far the greater portion comes from Gaul, Germany or Britain, and evidence points to two—and only two—districts as the principal centres of manufacture: the valleys of the Loire and the Rhine and their immediate neighbourhood. In the 1st century A.D. Gaulish pottery was largely exported into Italy, and isolated finds of it occur in Spain and other parts.

The recent researches of Dr Dragendorff and M. Déchelette have shown that a chronological sequence of the pottery may be clearly traced, both in the shapes employed and in the method of