- The First Greek Amphora Forms -


  How strange the human kind is.
They execute the one who kills another, because he is a "murderer" whereas they cherish the one who kills thousands, because he is a "conqueror."
Stealing a simple thing is "theft", but stealing more is "sharpness."
It is the same for researches.
Making use of one source is theft, but stealing from many sources is worthy of the "research statue. "The more you steal
(I mean,you use sources), the more reason you have to boast.
Making use of different sources to write about amphoras,I always feel myself as a trespasser.
That's why,writing about amphoras,I try to think as analitical as possible.
That is to say, I try to reach the facts by finding out the relations between the dates, arts, regions and documents.
The most important references I have about this subject is my collection and interest in history. Trespassing other's land,I sometimes come across with interesting things.
For example,if an amphora expert defined an amphora as "this" 50 years ago, all other experts making research after him said, "yes, it is this."
For example, the pointed, carrot shaped amphoras of Sinop were defined as Zemer-Lebanon-Tripoli amphoras in 1977 and since then everybody arrived at the same conclusion about those amphoras.
I, myself, am against such definite and hasty identifications made before the sufficient researches and excavations on land and under water. Because changing a false belief is harder than pulling down a strong castle.
Another interesting thing is that,in spite of all I have written about amphoras, the first question that is directed to me is "Why do they have pointed bottoms?"
Well, I suddenly stop there.
While I am giving you all the details about amphoras,I feel like asking "are you still there, at the pointed bottoms?"


  Of course,I do not direct this question,but I feel suspicious. "Am I trying to teach the R flat minor concerto to those who are struggling for bread and butter?" Sometimes, I feel like starting my articles as:
"These pointed bottoms are for the arrangement of amphoras carried in the ships.
In this way,they can be put within the otherand thus,they occupy less place. The pointed bottoms also functioned as handles when they were being emptied.
That is why they have pointed bottoms. Now, I can come to the main subject."
Or sometimes I am planning to write a treacherous warning note at the begining
of each article such as "Those who do not know why the amphoras have pointed bottoms cannot read this article."
Joking apart, at least they know that amphoras were mainly used for carrying wine and olive oil.
Since those amphoras were the basic vessels of the ancient ages, hundreds kinds of products were carried with them.
Honey, thin molasses, vinegar, nuts, walnuts, salted fish, raisins, dried figs, olive, corn crops, leguminosae, resin and pitch were only a few of them.
If it is not broken, an amphora was used on land, too. In battlefields, sharp amphora pieces were placed at the bottom of hidden digs. Egyptians and Romans used the empty amphoras in the deserts for carrying water to their garrison towns.


  The first serial amphora production in Greece started after colonization movements which began in the 8th century BC and continued for 2-3 centuries.
In those ages, the Greek had to emigrate over seas because the aristocrats got the control of land, the population was increasing and the people were discontented with the present control.
With this movement,the Greek spread out a large geography from the coasts of Sicily-Spain-Marseilles-North Africa- Egypt- from coasts and islands of West and South Anatolia and Marmara to the coasts of Black sea. When the Greek reached those regions, of course, they were familiar with the Phoenician and Egyptian amphoras.In the new cities and colonises they established, they felt the need of serial amphora production for marketting their products to far away countries.
Thus, in a shart period of time, each region came to be rivalving with the others in commerce with its products and special forms of amphoras peculiar to themselves.

Although the first amphoras were rude in form, the Greek succeeded to develop them technically and aesthetically. (see Picture I)
The Roman amphoras produced in Italy centuries after were not even as good as the Greek amphoras produced much later in the history. (see Photo 6)
In fact, each commercial amphora should be accepted as a manifactured product of the ancient era because, although they were hand-made, thousands of same-type amphoras were produced.
That is why, a commercial amphora which is produced in thousands should not be compared with a unique Greek amphora or a vase of which was made only one.
Also, we should not ignore the regional forms of those amphoras because those forms, which did not change easily, were the symbols of the region they belonged to and the product they carried.
And, by means of those amphoras we can make conclusions about the commercial relations, commercial sea lines and the frequency of commerce in the ancient era. 

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