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La céramique grecque ou de tradition grecque au VIIIe siècle en Italie centrale et méridionale

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Centre Jean Bérard

Corinthian hemispherical kotylai, Thapsos panel-cups and the West

(Pl. 4-6)

C. W. Neeft

Texte intégral

  • 1 C. W. Neeft, Corinthian Fragments from Argos at Utrecht and the Corinthian Late Geometric Kotyle Ba (...)

1The first part of my lecture will deal with the hemispherical kotylai and is a summary of an article in press1. The second part is the provisional result of a study which I hope to finish shortly.

Corinthian hemispherical kotylai

  • 2 J. N. Coldstream, Greek Geometric Pottery, London, 1968, hereafter, GGP, 101, 109/10.

2The importance of the Corinthian hemispherical kotyle is well-known; enough to consult Coldstream’s excellent book on Geometric pottery2. The transition from Corinthian MG to LG is taken to coincide with the development of this shape out of the skyphos, that from LG to EPC with the development from the hemispherical to the tall variety. Furthermore, the shape occurs frequently and the decoration shows a rapid and clearly recognizable development in the initial stage. These facts have made the shape the type-fossil for Corinthian LG, the period so important for the chronology of the archaic time.

3Coldstream assumes a strict sequence in the decoration of the handles belonging to hemispherical and tall kotylai, i.e. from handles with bars, whether or not between horizontal lines, to handles with dots between horizontal lines, and then handles with horizontal lines only. He considers them typical for the various stages of the bird kotylai (Fig. 1) in the following way:

  • 3 GGP, 101, 105-07.

4a

herons

barred handles

6

soldier-birds

dotted handles

7

wire-birds

handles with horizontal lines3.

  • 4 BABesch, 50 (1975), 126 k, table XII, no. 4; id., no. 6; 124, table X, no. 4, fig. 23; Κ. Friis Joh (...)
  • 5 Cf. BABesch, 50 (1975), 126, table XIII.
  • 6 BSA, 48 (1953), 279; GGP, 101, 106.
  • 7 BABesch, 50 (1975), 111 and note 103.

4On this ground Coldstream arrives at a chronological sequence of these bird kotylai: first the herons, afterwards the soldier-birds, and finally the wire-birds. This strict correspondence, however, between handle decoration and the various types of bird kotylai is not quite correct. Argos C. 3836 shows soldier-birds and barred handles; a fragment in Cerveteri has soldier-birds and handles with horizontal lines; another fragment in Argos, C. 275, has herons and also handles with horizontal lines; finally, the famous kotyle from Anavyssos is decorated with herons and (almost) dotted handles4. It can thus be concluded that all these types of birds, even the wire-birds5, have all the types of handle decoration mentioned above. Nevertheless, a chronological sequence of these types of handle decoration in the way indicated by Miss Benton and Coldstream6 seems probable. Also, I am of the opinion that the soldier-birds have not sprung from the herons, but both as two distinct developments from the panel style7. As a conclusion, it is, I think, possible to state that the various types of bird kotylai do not succeed each other chronologically, but that the herons (Fig. 1,4a) and the soldier-birds (Fig. 1,7) are for the greater part contemporaneous.

  • 8 GGP, 105.
  • 9 BABesch, 50 (1975), 126, table XII.
  • 10 BSA, 48 (1953), 279; BABesch, 50 (1975), 114.
  • 11 GGP, 194, pl. 41 h, cf. J. N. Coldstream, Geometric Greece, London, 1977, 194/5.

5Three arguments can be given for a dating of the majority of the soldier-birds kotylai in LG rather than in EPC as has been done by Coldstream8: the type of handle decoration shown by the soldier-birds kotylai9, the fact that in Megara Hyblaea and generally in the Western colonies the soldier-birds kotylai are not found10 and because Euboean imitations have a barred handle and a hemispherical shape11.

  • 12 GGP, 101; BABesch, 50 (1975), 122, table VII.
  • 13 BABesch, 50 (1975), 114.

6How must the chevron kotylai be dated in relation to the bird kotylai? The chevron kotylai have handles with vertical bars only12. Do they date from the same period when this type of handle was in favour on the bird kotylai? Megara Hyblaea and Perachora contradict this. For at these sites a number of fragments of chevron kotylai are found and (almost) no herons and soldier-birds kotylai13. If the chevron kotylai with their barred handles would date from the same period when this type of handle decoration was used with the bird kotylai, one would expect to find at least the later stages of the heron and soldier-birds kotylai.

  • 14 Cf. BABesch, 50 (1975), 124-126, tables IX-XII.

7A closer study of the chevron kotylai and what I have called the bird-horizontal zigzag group made it clear that they are two categories each with its own characteristics. The double axes in the handlezone, the use of white at the inside of the rim, the development of the handle decoration, a reserved line in the black decorating the lower part of the body appear to be features limited to the bird-horizontal zigzag group14. A survey of the geometric skyphos showed that this is not surprising (Fig. 2):

  • 15 BSA, 48 (1953), 276, nos. 631-33, fig. 8.

A

is a legacy from the Protogeometric period and disappears in the Middle Geometric period;

B

is an EG invention;

C-D

are Corinthian adaptations of Attic skyphoi, EG II cq. MG, which apparently have failed to establish a lasting and extensive production;

E

the chevron skyphos;

F

(not shown here) is the metope skyphos, introduced at the end of MG II under the influence of Attica15.

8When, at the transition MG II-LG, the kotyle originated from the skyphos, three types of skyphoi were fashionable:

B

which led to the black-painted kotyle;

E

which produced the chevron kotyle;

F

which developed into the bird-horizontal zigzag group.

  • 16 BABesch, 50 (1975), 123, table VIII, nos. 24-25, the second item from a late EPC — early MPC I cont (...)

9The chevron kotylai and the bird-horizontal zigzag group, therefore, are developments of different skyphos traditions. The separate origin of these kotylai types and the fact that they each display their own secondary decoration motives led to the conclusion that these kotylai had a separate development in the Late Geometric period. In other words, the chevron kotyle as the last stage of a (mostly MG) decorational motive shows almost no development anymore in LG, where as the young bird-horizontal zigzag group is changing rapidly. Thus, the chevron kotyle with its barred handles may, and in my opinion will, have been in use until a later date than this type of handle was fashionable in the bird-horizontal zigzag group. A confirmation of the situation outlined above can be seen in the use of the barred handle on kotylai of the tall type with decoration 2 b16. All this has led me to the following chronological scheme of the various hemispherical kotylai decorations (Fig. 3):

Thapsos cups with panels

  • 17 For the Thapsos class, see GGP, 102-104, and J. N. Coldstream, Geometric Greece, London, 1977, 170- (...)

10When, in 1972, I studied the Thapsos cups17 in Delphi I noticed that the interior could be decorated in two ways: either with a reserved band with some horizontal lines or with a reserved line only. When I visited Lacco Ameno shortly afterwards, almost all fragments appeared to have a reserved line at the interior. When the motive of the panel at the exterior is considered in relation to the interior decoration of the rim, the following scheme emerges (Fig. 4):

11As a conclusion it seems justified to distinguish two groups: the first group has a mostly running motive and the interior decorated with a reserved band with some horizontal lines; the second group has broken motives in the panel and has the interior painted except for a reserved line. The absence of the first group in Megara Hyblaea, Syracuse, and (almost completely) in dump and necropolis of Pithekoussai indicates that the distinction is a chronological one. Meander hooks and sigma’s, which are found as a panel motive on cups with a reserved band with lines and on those with a reserved line only at the interior of the rim, can be seen as motives still fashionable after the change of the interior decoration.

12When the material from Pithekoussai and Megara Hyblaea, as it is now known, is considered, it might be possible to deduce that the type with a running motive and with the interior painted except for a reserved band with lines had gone out of fashion at the moment Pithekoussai was founded, and, further, that the meander hooks had disappeared before the foundation of Megara Hyblaea.

The West

13When a comparison is made of the skyphos/hemispherical kotyle material and the Thapsos cups with panels as it is now known from Ithaca, Pithekoussai, and Megara Hyblaea the following picture emerges:

  • 18 Cf. BABesch, 50 (1975), 119-122, tables II-VI.
  • 19 BABesch, 50 (1975), 110/1, n. 118 and postscriptum.

Ithaca

MG skyphoi18, and all types of Thapsos cups with panel;

Pithekoussai

no MG skyphoi, but the whole range of hemispherical kotylai from the very first beginning of its deviation from the skyphos onwards19; almost no Thapsos panel cups with running motives (i.e. with a reserved band with lines at the interior), but panel cups with meander hooks.

Megara Hyblaea

even has almost no hemispherical kotylai; the Thapsos cups are all of the second type and within this group the meander hook is markedly absent. The material distinguishes itself only in number, and therefore in variety, from that of Syracuse.

14I would have preferred to treat this last topic after Dr. Pelagatti showed the material from her excavations in Syracuse, but the order of the lectures does not permit me to do so. I would like to take the opportunity to express my gratitude to Dr. P. Pelagatti, Dr. G. Buchner, and to Professors G. Vallet and F. Villard for having permitted me to study the material in their charge. I know this is not universal practice and by their generosity these scholars have in fact made it possible for me to present this paper here. Once more my sincerest thanks.

Notes

1 C. W. Neeft, Corinthian Fragments from Argos at Utrecht and the Corinthian Late Geometric Kotyle BaBesch, 50 (1975), 97-127.

2 J. N. Coldstream, Greek Geometric Pottery, London, 1968, hereafter, GGP, 101, 109/10.

3 GGP, 101, 105-07.

4 BABesch, 50 (1975), 126 k, table XII, no. 4; id., no. 6; 124, table X, no. 4, fig. 23; Κ. Friis Johansen, Les Vases Sicyoniens, Copenhagen, 1923, pl. 10,1 = GGP, pl. 19, cf. BABesch, 50 (1975), 124, table X, no. 2.

5 Cf. BABesch, 50 (1975), 126, table XIII.

6 BSA, 48 (1953), 279; GGP, 101, 106.

7 BABesch, 50 (1975), 111 and note 103.

8 GGP, 105.

9 BABesch, 50 (1975), 126, table XII.

10 BSA, 48 (1953), 279; BABesch, 50 (1975), 114.

11 GGP, 194, pl. 41 h, cf. J. N. Coldstream, Geometric Greece, London, 1977, 194/5.

12 GGP, 101; BABesch, 50 (1975), 122, table VII.

13 BABesch, 50 (1975), 114.

14 Cf. BABesch, 50 (1975), 124-126, tables IX-XII.

15 BSA, 48 (1953), 276, nos. 631-33, fig. 8.

16 BABesch, 50 (1975), 123, table VIII, nos. 24-25, the second item from a late EPC — early MPC I context, Phaleron, grave 19; a third example, Vraona, from Myrrhinous (Merenta), was recently noticed; a fourth, Sheffield, City Museum 27.11.99.90.

17 For the Thapsos class, see GGP, 102-104, and J. N. Coldstream, Geometric Greece, London, 1977, 170-172.

18 Cf. BABesch, 50 (1975), 119-122, tables II-VI.

19 BABesch, 50 (1975), 110/1, n. 118 and postscriptum.

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© Publications du Centre Jean Bérard, 1982

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