Osborne 2007. What Travelled With Greek Pottery [1]

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  This article was downloaded by:[New York University]On:8 July 2008 Access Details:[subscription number 778793215]Publisher:RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK Mediterranean Historical Review Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: What Travelled with Greek Pottery? Robin OsborneOnline Publication Date:01 June 2007To cite this Article:Osborne, Robin (2007) 'What Travelled with Greek Pottery?',Mediterranean Historical Review, 22:1, 85 — 95To link to this article: DOI:10.1080/09518960701539208URL: SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLEFull terms and conditions of use: Thisarticlemaybeusedforresearch,teachingandprivatestudypurposes.Anysubstantialorsystematicreproduction,re-distribution,re-selling,loanorsub-licensing,systematicsupplyordistributioninanyformtoanyoneisexpresslyforbidden.Thepublisherdoesnotgiveanywarrantyexpressorimpliedormakeanyrepresentationthatthecontentswillbecompleteoraccurateoruptodate.Theaccuracyofanyinstructions,formulaeanddrugdosesshouldbeindependentlyverifiedwithprimarysources.Thepublishershallnotbeliableforanyloss,actions,claims,proceedings,demandorcostsordamageswhatsoeverorhowsoevercausedarisingdirectlyorindirectlyinconnectionwithor arising out of the use of this material.     D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   B  y  :   [   N  e  w    Y  o  r   k   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y   ]   A   t  :   1   8  :   2   7   8   J  u   l  y   2   0   0   8 What Travelled with Greek Pottery? Robin Osborne During the sixth and fifth centuries very large amounts of Athenian black- and red-figurewere transmitted round the Mediterranean. The nature of the exchange relationsunderlying this pottery distribution have long been a topic for discussion. This paper picksup on earlier arguments that Athenian potters responded to very specific orders fromItalian markets and that Italian markets consumed voraciously whatever Athenian potters produced, and investigates what sort of information flowed along the network created by the exchange of pottery. By looking at the find contexts of Athenian pottery outside Athens, and at the images found on that pottery, I argue that in almost all circumstances Greek pottery presupposes rather than transmits cultural knowledge, and sois testimony to a pre-existing network, not an agent in creating new networks.Keywords: Trade; Pottery; Greek History; Etruscans; Mediterranean During the sixth and fifth centuries BC very large amounts of Athenian black- and red-figure pottery were transmitted round the Mediterranean. The nature of the exchangerelations underlying this pottery distribution have long been a topic for discussion,and in two earlier papers I have argued both that Athenian potters responded to very specific orders from particular Italian markets, and that, taken as a group, Italianmarkets consumed voraciously whatever Athenian potters produced, with theiconographic initiative resting at least predominantly with the Athenians. 1 In thispaper I sidestep the issue of the direction of that initiative, and revisit the question of what types of pots ended up in which places, to investigate what  sort   of informationflowed along the network created by the exchange of pottery. Building on work by other scholars designed primarily to answer slightly different questions, I ask: didCorinthian and Athenian pots export a lifestyle and an outlook on life? By looking onthe one hand atthe findcontexts ofGreek potteryoutside mainland Greece,and onthe ISSN 0951-8967 (print)/ISSN 1743-940X (online)/07/010085-11 q 2007 Taylor & FrancisDOI: 10.1080/09518960701539208 Correspondence to: Robin Osbourne, Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge, Sidgwick Avenue, CambridgeCB3 9DA, UK. Email:   Mediterranean Historical Review Vol. 22, No. 1, June 2007, pp. 85–95     D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   B  y  :   [   N  e  w    Y  o  r   k   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y   ]   A   t  :   1   8  :   2   7   8   J  u   l  y   2   0   0   8 other at the images found on that pottery, I ask whether Greek pots served to constructa network of shared cultural practice and knowledge, or were simply parasitic upon, a(changing) cultural  koine .In the physical sense, all sorts of things travelled with Greek pottery and, vice versa,Greek pottery travelled with all sorts of things. One of the things that has become clearfrom the excavation of wrecks is that some ships carried only small amounts of pottery, their main cargo being something quite different, while other ships carriedvery significant amounts of pottery. The Giglio wreck, dated to shortly after 600 BC, yielded just fifty pieces of fine pottery; whereas the Pointe Lequin 1A wreck, dated toca. 515 BC, is estimated to have had 800 Attic cups, 1,600 ’Ionian’ cups, and 150further fine vessels, mostly Attic. 2 Some fine pottery seems to have travelled withtransport amphorae from the same srcin, others to have circulated independently of commercial amphorae. Rouillard has suggested that Corinthian and Etruscan finepottery and amphorae seem largely to travel together, but noted that SOS amphoraedisappear from the picture when Attic fine pottery begins to be exported in quantity. 3 Again, we have very direct confirmation from a wreck of the way fine pottery andamphorae from the same srcin travelled together in the Ecueil de Miet wreck with 100Etruscan amphorae and bucchero kantharoi. 4 But I am only marginally concerned here with the physical sense. What I am really interested in is what consumers outside the place of production gained when they acquired fine Greek pottery. Did they simply acquire the  kudos  of owning an exoticitem, or did they acquire some form of social or cultural knowledge? Did acquiring aparticular type of drinking vessel mean also assuming certain drinking habits? Or didthe use of an imported perfume vessel affect habits of bodily hygiene or socialintercourse? Or did a vessel with figured decoration afford knowledge of the life of theimaginary (whether that be the imaginary of myth or the imaginary of warrior orathletic or gender ideology)? Was there a network of those who ‘knew’ Greek, not inthe sense of knowing the Greek language (though language acquisition cannot beentirely divorced from these questions), but in the sense of knowing, and being able toreplicate by behaviour or in discourse, Greek culture?At one level these are unanswerable questions. For most Greek artefacts foundabroad we are never going to know whether the person into whose hands, by whatevermeans, they came knew what they were for or what they embodied in cultural terms.When pots shaped specifically for use in the symposium end up in graves,this does notmean that those who acquired them were unaware of their srcinal intended use.When vessels showing warriors end up in a warrior grave, it is safe enough to assumethat those who put them there realized that what they showed were warriors, but onecannot infer from this that they knew anything about hoplite warfare, let alone deducehow they themselves fought. 5 Acquiring a pot with an image of the sacrifice of Polyxena did not mean that the owner could relate the story of the burial of Achilles.But if these questions cannot be answered at the level of the individual consumer or,often, at the level of the individual artefact, this does not rule out altogether reasonably secure answers. Patterns of assemblage give a fair idea of the company that Greek pots 86  R. Osborne     D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   B  y  :   [   N  e  w    Y  o  r   k   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y   ]   A   t  :   1   8  :   2   7   8   J  u   l  y   2   0   0   8 kept in their new homes, and images produced by non-Greeks showing Greek artefacts, while hardly qualifying as snapshots, provide some fairly strong contextualinformation. Context also offers some clues about the interpretation of figuralimagery, while the reproduction of such imagery by those who acquired it often revealstheir degree of understanding. While it is impossible to show what was always the case,we can have some idea of what was sometimes the case.I begin with issues of shape. Shape is a particularly good indicator of lifestyle, sincesome styles of life are impossible without suitable shapes of pot. For instance, thepresence of aryballoi does not necessarily indicate that Greek athletic activity ispresent, but their absence is more telling, simply for the reason that one cannot oiloneself in the gymnasium using an amphora or a cup. When a full repertoire of sympotic shapes is found in a given context (above all kraters and cups), we can reckonthat there is at least some chance that the institutions of the symposium have alsoarrived. In the absence of kraters, some sign is needed that large open vessels of someother kind were available for the mixing of wine before one leaps from the presence of drinking vessels to the presence of the symposium. Consequently, the fact that atEnse´rune between 600 and 450, 93 per cent of the Greek material consists of cups, andmost of the fine Etruscan wares of the sixth century consist of   kantharoi , is insufficientevidence for sympotic practice there—indeed, it might be taken to indicate theopposite. 6 What is more, the pattern of ceramic imports at the Greek settlement atMassalia is not so very different; here again, cups and Etruscan  kantharoi  dominate thesixth-century assemblage. 7 Literary sources going back to the Aristotelian  Constitutionof Massalia  record the Greek settlers as bringing the vine and the olive to the south of France, but it is far from clear whether they also brought the symposiumwith them, orwhether they themselves adopted the drinking practices of the local population. 8 Early imports to the Greek settlements were dominated by Etruscan amphorae andbucchero kantharoi, but when local ceramic production was developed—the so-calledPseudo-Ionic and grey monochrome wares—most local products took the form of cups and shapes derived from the native repertoire. 9 Equally, to import a krater doesnot mean using it for mixing wine. Higher up the Rhone valley we find a differentpattern of Greek ceramic imports, with the krater a significant presence, along withsome exceptionally fine cups. There is some reason to believe, however, that kraters ingeneral—like the great bronze Vix krater—were markers of elite status, rather thanfunctional vessels for mixing wine and water in a sympotic context. 10 Similarly, at LosNietos in Spain, excavations have uncovered eight fourth-century red-figure kratersalong with amphorae, but no cups. 11 In various Spanish contexts the  chous  seems tohave become a libation vessel, 12 and there are indications that in Andalusia the use of Greek vases for ritual purposes was a reflection of their prestige status, not theacquisition of Greek habits. 13 How does this compare with what we can deduce about the use of perfume vessels,exported above all from Corinth a century earlier? Roughly half of all knownCorinthian seventh-century pottery has been found in Greek settlements abroad or innative Italian cemeteries. For the earlier part of the century (i.e., Protocorinthian)  Mediterranean Historical Review   87
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