- Amphoras of Mytelene (Lesbos) Island (BC) -

If you had a Lesbos amphora belonging tı 7-6th centuries BC (See photo 1/type 2) wouldn't you wonder who lived in those ages and who drank wine from this amphora?I know you would and as you would,you would return back to the hundreds of years ago.Who would meet you at this island?
Of course Sappho, the most famous poet of the early ages.According to some sources,she was a nun; according to some,she was a prostitude.She was the poet of bodily pleasures, desireful loves and of flaring souls.She was rebellious and mad,unordinary and brilliant and noble.

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

photo 5

In those ages,when the Greek colonization had just finished,when the archaic period was replaced by classical period,Sappho was educating young and beautiful girls in her school.She was teaching them literature and philosophy.She was interested personally with the students who wanted to study deeply.And,in those ages,the quality of Lesbos wines were being compared with Chios wine,which was the best wine of ancient ages.Now,let's have a break here and paint a picture by our imagination.Sappho is lying on a sofa and watching the deep,melancholic horizon.The sun is setting slowly down on the blue Aegean Sea.As the servants serve Sappho the cup they filled from the amphora,the statues in the garden shine with the sailing boats afar.This is a bit poetic,but the aim of this amphora articles is to activate our imagination, to teach about historical events and people;to develop with the knowledge of history and to become a whole with those people.As I wrote before,an amphora is not just an amphora.You should know how to regard these cups of mystery.You should wonder the history they witnessed.Because as you wonder,you will learn;as you learn,you will love and as you love,you will progress.As Mustafa Aydemir,I tried that.If you try,you will see I am right.Now,leaving the imagination,fantasy and emotions aside,let's write about amphoras of 6-5th centuries BC and call them Type 2 amphoras.In those ages,the furnacing techniques were developed.The colours of the amphoras were red.In my opinion,those are the most beautiful amphoras of Lesbos.They have a round form and although they are tiny,they are quite sound.In the ages when those amphoras were produced,the conditions in the Aegean sea were not calm.In 494 BC,the persians defeated the Greek navy in Milet,but 4 years later,in 490 BC.the Persians were defeated first in Maraton and then 10 years later (480),in Salamis sea war.In spite of this disorder in the Aegean,the "golden men" of the classical age started to appear on the stage of history.It is possible that during that period,Aiskilos(526-456), Sophakles(496-406),Oripides (480-406) drank lesbos wines from type 2 amphoras.In type 3 amphoras,produced later than type 2,there is a tendancy to imitate the old forms.With the amphoras produced in the first half of 5th century BC,aesthetics gained importance.(See photo 4/type 4).Although these are similar to the Black Sea amphoras of the same period,it can be considered that there is an influence of Lesbos amphoras in Sinop amphora forms.If you want to learn who drank wine from those amphoras,the answer might surprise you.The golden men of the classical ag e, Aristo, Socrat, Platon, Fidyas, Skopas,Perikles,Hipokrat,Pisagor, Heredot, Tükidides Ksenefon and many others lived in that ages.Those were the years of wars.Although the Greek became rich by founding colonies overseas and spent more time on culture and art by settling down,the Athenian-Spartan rivalry at the West,the Persian threat at the East brought war and disorder to the Aegean islands.When Peleponnes wars lasted in the end of 27 years,in 410.the Lesbos islanders rebelled the Athens with Euboia-Chios-Milet and with the support of Spartans and Persians.The rebellion was suppressed by the Athens in Erdek,but 5 years later,the Spartans defeated the Athens in Argospotamoi Sea war,and thus took the islanders under their dominion.The faith of the islanders always depended on the Athen-Spartan-Persian dominion.In the last period of Lesbos amphoras (see photo 5-type 5/ 4BC),the interesting form was left.There is a different form instead.We do not have information about the Lesbos amphoras after that age.I believe that new amphora furnaces, that will be found by the excavations on land and in the sea, will provide us better information in the future.
NOTE.Until now,I always gave in my articles the names of the sources I had used.Since the variety of the sources I can use is very limited,I was planning to give the complete list at the end of my article series,but I realized that I have come to the 9th part in this amphora series.I think I should give the list in this issue. Last year,French amphora experts wrote to the Sea Magazine from Egypt to criticize me for this reason.In my opinion,the most important source I use is a pamphlet by Mr.Ersin Değer.The pamphlet called Amphoras In The Ancient Ages,was published in 1991.I used it as a guide for identifying the amphoras and for determining the era they belong to.I know that in a country like Turkey,which has rich underwater treasures,the variety of this kind of books will increase.As you know,I do not give merely technical information about amphoras.I try to share the spirit,the sensation and the history with you.I do not claim being scientific in my articles.Take those as the interesting comments of a collectioner.I hope my articles will lead to a new excitement about amphoras.I leave the results to time and the decision to you.

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