- Istanköy (Cos) Amphoras of Before the Christian Era -

 
     
Welcoming the year 2002,we are starting the 3rd year in amphora articles.
At the begining,neither me,nor the ones in the magazine thought it would take that long.
I was planing to make a summary in every 2 or 3 issues and complete the subject but it is not likely to be so.Writing for 3 years, I just even could not pass from "BC"s to "AD"s. What is most interesting of all, as I write, many new subjects come up to be written.
This scares me.I mean,if someone does not tell me to stop,I feel like I will continue writing about amphoras during my whole life.
 


     
Since I am with you for so many years,let me now share a secret with you before I start to write about Cos amphoras.
Why did I start to write about the amphoras?
There are 2 reasons.
One of them is what I and my dear friend, Inayet, experienced at the Financial department as a result of a false slander.Since there was not a crime,there was not an evidence and so we were acquitted.Yes,we were,but the traces of the slander are still fresh in the police registers and in our souls.Then,we understood that what had been made was just the policy of our "high" government for disencouraging the collectioners.In civilized countries,the ones who protect the cultural values are honoured with medallions whereas they are accused in our country.Anyway,the first reason was my rebellion against this worn mentality which accepts everyone as a potential criminal.
The second reason was that,as an amphora collectioner,I waited patiently for long years for an underwater archeologist to write about all those in a magazine and reading them,I and others like me will have pleasure.But,I am tired of waiting.I said to myself "You, Mustafa Aydemir.If you believe you know one word more than the one who knows nothing,why do not you write about this one word?Why don't you share it?You have a rich collection.Even just publishing their photos will serve to your purpose.Moreover, isn't it you,who finds the articles about amphoras mere,insensitive and spiritless.Come and try your ability now.Write as you feel.You do not claim being scientific.Write from a different view;from the view of a collectioner." Yes,this is how the adventure started.And it continues thus.It is like throwing a stoneto the still water.Small waves grow bigger and bigger and reach different coasts.This is what happens with my articles.Sommetimes I have unexpected responds from unexpected coasts and this makes me happy.Now,let's write about the Cos amphoras.
     

  The most specific significance of a Cos amphora,distinguishing it from the others is its dual or cracked handles.Although there had been changes of form in time,those handles were kept the same as if the symbol of the island.The formms of Cos amphoras were imitated at nearby cities as well as far away ones such as Southern France and South-west Italy.(Dressel 2-4 amp.) May be,the Cos people set up a commercial colony and continued commercing in those regions.
     
In 3-2 centuries BC., the first Cos amphoras were fat and round in shape but then they got longer and sharper in form.
In those long forms, standatrs of capacity were not taken much into consideration because the amphoras produced were big or small, similar in form.
The raw material of the amphoras in those ages was yellow clay.
All most all of the amphoras of this period joined my collection by being "caught" by fishers' nets in Black Sea-Ukraine-Romania off-shore.
The most specific significance of Cos amphoras of this period is the sharp interaction at the shoulder part joining the neck.
   
     

In the latest period Cos amphoras,the handles were quite close to the top and were point ended. This was a statue-like form.
It is a fact that they did not attach too much importance to seals in Cos amphoras.
Very few of them were sealed. However,non of the Cos amphoras in my collection are sealed.In the sealed ones,there were the symbols of crabs and thorny sticks,which are thought to be the amblems of a person,city or marks.
The island of Cos was famous with its most skilled amphora producers.Old sources write that in a competition organized in those age,the producers from the Cos island came the first.As you know,in an amphora production,what made you a skilled producer was to be able to produce the most aesthetical,functional and the lightest amphoras made with high temperature techniques in high temperatured furnaces.

     

 

     
But,as an amphora collectioner, I always believe that the Cos potters were backed a little and this is an injustice to the potters of Tasöz.(Maybe,Tasöz did not know about the competition since it was at the north far from the Cos island.)
Cos is a narrow and long island at the entrance of Gökova gulf at the Aegean sea.It is between Datça peninsula and Bodrum.There is a fertile plain all along the northern coasts of the island.The southern part has a calcareous and mountainous structure reaching 846 metres iin some points.The history of the Cos islandis not different from the history of Rhodes,Knidos and Halikarnassos,which are all the descendants of "Dor."
     
1-It is thought to be used between the 1st centuryBC and 2nd century AD.Those amphoras that were quite sharp in features affected the West Mediterrenean amphoras deeply.They were produced at South Africa,Italy and Spain.Attributed to Dressel,who classified them for the first time,they were also called as 2-4 amphoras.Those amphoras of the Cos island joined my collection being caught by the turbot nets at the northwest black sea.It is obvious that these series had long-short or thin-stout variations.

2-The specialists assume that this type was started to be used at the 1st century BC and they think that this form was used for almost 200 years.In this different types,we can easily see that the quest of the producers for an aesthetical and functional form continued in those ages.There were no seals on those amphoras and standarts of capacity and form were neglected much.Those amphoras are found at Romania and Ukraine off-shore.

3-It is a close-shot detail of "dual cracked handles" style that the Cos amphora producers used for hundreds of years regardless of the amphora forms.

4-In this amphora,which is thought to be produced at 2nd century BC.,the handles and the neck were shortened.Keeping the triangle shape in form,the belly part is widened.The knob of the bottom handle was now smaller.
     
     
     
     
     
     
   

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