- North African Amphoras -


  Who is called a succesful artist ?

One of our artists had asked this question to the photography artists in Taksim Etap Hotel.When he made a lip against the answers,he replied himself.
A successful artist is the one who can sell his art,make it available to people.It doesn’t matter if you perform your art for art’s sake or for your pleasure,or for man’s sake.If you are a photographer,you should get your photographs published,if you are an author you should get your book printed,and if you should build your image.To do that,you should work harder,for the cause of presenting your works and your talent to mankind,you will also struggle.

Last month in Paris,I felt proud when I paid a visit to the Koç’s gallery of Iznik tiles of,also Sabancı’s Golden Letters collection in Louvre Museum then I remembered the remarks of Ersin Alok in that meeting. And I understood it beter that this effort was indeed a duty against mankind.

It seems that Turkish people’s effort for going beyond its boundaries since 1980s,has not been limited with only sports, trading, commitment services.
We have proudly carried our art, our history, our works into the displacements of culture capitals. The Turkish stand, placed into the Museum of Mankind, near the Maritime Museum was a good example of this.

To tell you truth,when I was taking the photos of Egyptian Amphoras,for North African Amphoras,the subject of the this edition I asked myseld why I was not making an attempt to open such an exhibition.

By hiding the surprise of my question that could possibly turn into action,let us have a look at North African Amphoras,our theme for this month.

Should we look at the map of North Africa,we will see in turn Morocco-Algeria-Tunisia-Libia and Egypt,from the west to the east.Consequently,the amphoras that we will mention soon,are the last remnants of the cultural heritages that these countries have brought along for thousands of years.

We had better examine the North African Amphoras in two categories:
Amphoras of the BC,amphoras of the AD.BC period of North Africa represents a more active and rich outlook regarding the amphoras.

Because Keenans,Phoenicians,Cretans,Greeks sent their ships to this large land,stretching to the northern end of the Mediterranean; so they established the first colonies for trading.

In fact, all these setllements outside Egypt, went on the stage of history following the colonies’ uniting with locals, by urbanizing and developing.

As you may know,at the beginning of 4000 BC, for thousand years Egypt was the oldest civilization of the region in the process of statehood.Remember that we had mentioned how Carthage have become a powerful state for 6 centuries in Tunisia, while it was a Phoenician colony (until it was laid low by the Roman Empire.)

Egyptian pottery,forming the base of Egyptian Amphoras,dates back to very ancient times. Egyptians has created the Garzean culture in Fayum region of North Egypt,around 3600 BC. On the pottery and vases of this period, there are animal-ship-human figures carved as black-white-red on light colour.
While there are no amphoras known to have been found in these periods, experts point out that Egyptians have probably learned making amphoras from Keenans, in 2000s BC. The Greek acknowledge having inherited the amphoras from Egyptians, again in 7th century BC.

In my opinion,Egyptians must have known making amphoras from quite an earlier time.Because it sounds more reasonable to assume that a civilization with an ability to build the huge Keops,Khafre and Mykerinos pyramids should have had overseas relations and must have been using a container similar to an amphora,if not an amphora exactly.

The amphora pictures on the walls of pharaohs’ tombs,supports this claim.In these tombs (with wine-olive oil-honey-fig-dried fish- grain-almond etc. inside them ) amphoras were found as well.Even the dismounted royal boats of pharaohs,who believed that they would return to life after death,have been found in recent years.

The tradition of Egyptian amphora,lasting for centuries,underwent changes after Octavian had won the battle of Actium and made the region a province of Rome.You may know that after date, Rome used the region as a cornloft.

As I previously indicated,after Egypt,the most important center of amphoras in North Africa,is Carthage.The amphora types are as unusual and interesting as the people in the region, of whatever counrty they are in North Africa.However,as a result of the geographic conditions, confining people to the narrow coastline, the production variety and circulation of the amphoras in this large piece of land, is not as rich as it is in the northern coasts of Mediterranean.
But these were the places where any kind of domestic items from Africa could be bartered with North Mediterranean countries. Ovens for amphora production, later to be found, and the new finding from the excavations at the bottom of the sea will clarify our knowledge of the amhoras in this region.
Many experts have studied the amphoras of this region and made the classifications by their names.
Picture 1) Carthage Amphoras, with covering the 5th century BC to 2nd century BC, have been found in Tunisia, Libia, Sicilia and Sardunia. (Amfora MANA A, MANA B, MANA C1b)

Picture 2) Along with Egyptian and Carthage Amphoras of 2nd century BC, Moroccon amphoras, with a fairly large mouth, is also interesting. These cylindrical amphoras, having a pointed bottom, little handles and supposedly used for carrying saltwater, have only been found at the coasts of Morocco.(Amphora Dressel MANA the 18th C2c)

Picture 4) Mana E amphora (the ibizan amphora) in Ibiza and Cartage, covering the 4th and 1st century BC, are one of those rare, typical amphoras.

Picture 5) Tripoli Amphoras covering the 2nd and 1st century Bc, again has small handles and is of pear shape body. May not the Roman Emperor Domitranus, limiting the viniculture in the 1st century BC, have sent for the North Africa imported olives and olive oils inside these amphoras ?

Picture 6) The amphoras of the same region, though changing a little in appearance, existed between the 1st and 4th century BC.

Picture 7) Dressel 30 Amphoras, covering Algeria in the 3th and 4the century BC, and thought to have been carrying wine, bears similarity to our East Mediterranean Amphoras.

Picture 9) In Tunisian cylindrical amphoras,covering the 3th and 5th century AD, the mouth and neck widens a bit, the bottom gets even more pointed and longer.
Amphoras, classified as Africa 1 and Africa 2 Amphoras, covering the 2nd and 5th century AD, have cylindrical body, a small mouth, small handles, a short neck and pointed bottom.

Picture 10) The most evident feature of the big,wide cylindrical African Amphoras,covering the 4th - 7th centuries AD in Tunisia,is their thin surface and being quite light.

Picture 11) The small Agora 254 amphoras,covering the 1st and 4th centuries in Libia coasts,looks very much like our jugs.

Picture 12) Last one from this group is the Egypt-Roman type amphora, covering the 1st and 4th centuries AD in Egypt and having 2 small handles on top, a long neck and a pointed bottom with a norrowing body.

The interesting type of amphora that you can see in my hands,in the photo is a North African amphora of supposed to have covered the 5th and 7th century AD. And beginning from the entire northern coast of the continent, from Egypt, it has spreaded to the Atlantic. This amphora has taken its place on my collection after it fell into a trawlnet off the Karaburun village of the Black Sea. Various Egyptian Amphoras, found at the Pharaohs’ tombs,in 2000s BC,Louvre Museum.

I also want to remind the precious amphoras enthusiasts of this. I am not an amphora master. I am just a collector.I collect all the information on this field through the books,excavation reports,drawings and papers presented to the Archeology conferences.
I make researches on the political and social events, of the amphoras of that date. I try to figure out the connection between immigrations-battles-interactions. I examine my own amphoras and the ones in museums.

Still, I avoid giving an exact date and making final judgements. I try to combine information from the experts of this subject, thus reaching more general facts.

And belive me that after all these things,I feel i have not covered a distance even one barley grain long.

When I get this belief that I know a few more words than you do,or that I have found something, I do try to convey these to you, who are someone amateur like me, or only interested.

I also know that love, attention and interest force the virginity of that mysterious doors.

From the book Amphores, by Martine Scillano-Patricia Sibella ,published in 1991-1994, I have presented you with some parts of the identifications and drawings I submitted about the North African Amphoras. Most of these drawings and identifications were already classified, following the German Archaeologist and Jone M.Mana’s researches on the amphoras of this region. Naturally, all of the publishing writers and experts of amphoras have utilized the knowledge of previous researches and have added them their own comments and predictions, in the light of new findings.
When wiritng an article, when publishing a book, all sources on the index part,as an ethical necessity. Eventhough I surely look for the sources I have referred to in my articles, within the subject, at the end of this series of amphoras I will give you all of them in alphabetical order.Please be informed.

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