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Pottery of ancient Greece

External video
1075 - Keramikos Museum, Athens - 5th century BC psykter - Photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto, Nov 12 2009.jpg
Making Greek Vases, produced by the J. Paul Getty Museum hosted at Smarthistory
Exekias, Attic black figure amphora with Ajax and Achilles playing a game
Mixing Vessel with Odysseus Escaping from the Cyclops' Cave all hosted at Smarthistory

Ancient Greek pottery, due to its relative durability, comprises a large part of the archaeological record of ancient Greece, and since there is so much of it (over 100,000 vases are recorded in the Corpus vasorum antiquorum), it has exerted a disproportionately large influence on our understanding of Greek society. The shards of pots discarded or buried in the 1st millennium BC are still the best guide we have to the customary life and mind of the ancient Greeks. There were several vessels produced locally for everyday and kitchen use, yet finer pottery from regions such as Attica was imported by other civilizations throughout the Mediterranean, such as the Etruscans in Italy. There were various specific regional varieties, such as the South Italian ancient Greek pottery.

Throughout these places, various types and shapes of vases were used. Not all were purely utilitarian; large Geometric amphorae were used as grave markers, kraters in Apulia served as tomb offerings and Panathenaic Amphorae seem to have been looked on partly as objets d’art, as were later terracotta figurines. Some were highly decorative and meant for elite consumption and domestic beautification as much as serving a storage or other function, such as the krater with its usual use in diluting wine.

Earlier Greek styles of pottery, called "Aegean" rather than "Ancient Greek", include Minoan pottery, very sophisticated by its final stages, Cycladic pottery, Minyan ware and then Mycenaean pottery in the Bronze Age, followed by the cultural disruption of the Greek Dark Age. As the culture recovered Sub-Mycenaean pottery finally blended into the Protogeometric style, which begins Ancient Greek pottery proper.



  • John Beazley, Attic Black-Figure Vase Painters, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1956.
  • John Beazley, Attic Red-Figure Vase Painters, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1942.
  • John Beazley, The Development of Attic Black-Figure, University of California, 1951.
  • John Beazley, Paralipomena, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1971.
  • John Boardman, Athenian Black figure Vases, London, 1974.
  • John Boardman, Athenian Red Figure Vases, London, 1975.
  • Sheramy Bundrick (October 17, 2005). Music and Image in Classical Athens. Cambridge University Press. 
  • Coldstream, J. N., Geometric Greece 900–700 BC, London 2003 (Second Edition).
  • Joseph Veach Noble: The Techniques of Painted Attic Pottery. New York 1965.
  • Richard E. Jones: Greek and Cypriot Pottery: A Review of Scientific Studies. Athens 1985.
  • Martin Robinson, The Art of Vase-Painting in Classical Athens, Cambridge, 1992.
  • Arthur Dale Trendall, Red figure Vases of South Italy and Sicily, London, 1989.
  • Von Bothmer, Dietrich (1987). Greek vase painting. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN . 
  • Adam Winter, Die Antike Glanztonkeramik', Mainz, 1978.
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Wikipedia

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