Greek Pottery

Greek Pottery In archaeological excavations throughout Greece, shards of pottery and whole ceramics and vases have been found and consist valuable pieces of information around the everyday life, religion, mythology, and theatre of the era.

There are five distinct periods depending on the characteristics of the pottery that have survived to our times. During the Protogeometric Period, parts of the pottery were decorated with concentric circles or semicircles that were created with a compass, while the rest retained the colour of the clay. For the first time, horses were painted on the pottery. This Period started around 1100 BC and lasted for two centuries.

The Geometric Period is further divided in the Early, Middle and Late Geometric Period. The Early Geometric Period started around 900 BC, during which the pottery surface was painted black, while parts of light – colored geometric elements were also present. During the Middle Period, which started in 850 BC, and the Late Period, after 750 BC, the vases were decorated with black – colored figures, without much detail, and apart from geometric shapes, other decorative themes included some birds and other animals.

The Orient – inspired period started around 700 BC in Corinth and its themes were mainly animals and plants, and there was also heavy use of curved lines. The main type of pottery during this period was aryvallos, a jar used by athletes to store oil that would be used during contests and games. From 600 BC, the Period of Black Figure Pottery started, mainly in Athens, and the pottery created during this period was famous and popular among the markets of the Mediterranean. Popular potters of the period include Sophilus and Execius.

It is believed that at the workshop of Execilus, the Red Figure Pottery was created. About 515 BC, in Athens, the so called pioneer group prevailed, including Euphronius, and created jars depicting Hercules, Amazon battles etc, using the red – figure style. This is the last period of Ancient Greek pottery and lasted until 330 BC. After that time, a new era started, the Hellenistic Era, which was marked by the conquests of Alexander the Great.

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