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Laconian Red-Figure from the British Excavations in Sparta

  • Ian McPhee

Abstract

Red-figure pottery of Laconian manufacture was found in the excavations of the British School at Sparta in 1906–10 (Artemis Orthia, Acropolis) and 1924–8 (Acropolis), in particular the Roman theatre. This is entirely fragmentary, and is here published with full catalogue. Stratigraphical information is slight. Most fragments are from the Acropolis, particularly the area between the south wall of the shrine of Athena Chalkioikos and the retaining wall from the cavea of the Roman theatre. The most common shape is the large one-handled mug, which had a brief vogue in the last quarter of the fifth and first quarter of the fourth century. Other open shapes are craters, cups, plates. Closed shapes are far fewer, and exact forms not easy to determine: possibly pelikai and hydriai. There is a general stylistic connection with Attic red-figure of the last fifteen years of the fifth century and the first decade of the fourth.

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Acknowledgements. The material presented in this article was collected during two visits to the Archaeological Museum in Sparta, the first in October 1981, the second in November 1983. On both occasions Dr Hector Catling kindly arranged for a study-permit from the Greek authorities: for this and for his constant encouragement, I am most grateful. Dr G. Steinhauer and Dr Th. Spyropoulos, successive Ephors of Antiquities for Laconia-Arcadia were most generous in assisting my research. I am also grateful to Dr Elizabeth G. Pemberton and to Professor A. D. Trendall for reading a draft of the article. The cost of my travel to Greece on both occasions was partly defrayed by grants from La Trobe University (Australia).

1 Reports in BSA 12 (1905–6) 277–479; 13 (1906–7) 1–218; 14 (1907–8) 1–158; 15 (1908–9) 1–157; 16 (1909–10) 1–61. Final publication of Artemis Orthia by Dawkins, R. M.et al., The Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia at Sparta (London 1929)—hereafter abbreviated AO.

2 See BSA 26 (1923–5) 116–310; 27 (1925–6) 173–254; 27 (1926–7) 1–106; 29 (1927–8) 1–107; 30 (1928–30) 151–254.

3 J. P. Droop in AO 52–116; id., BSA 28 (1926–7) 49–81; Lane, E. A., BSA 34 (19331934) 99189. Much of the sixth-century material is included in Stibbe, C. M., Lakonische Vasenmaler des sechsten Jahrhunderts v.Chr. (Amsterdam 1972); the Geometric is used by Coldstream, J. N., Greek Geometric Pottery (London 1968) 212–19. For the Hellenistic mould-made bowls, see Hobling, M. B. in BSA 26 (19231925) 277310, reconsidered by Siebert, G., Recherches sur les Ateliers de Bols à Reliefs du Péloponnèse à l'époque Hellénistique (Paris 1978) 8390.

4 Red-figured pottery is mentioned in BSA 12 (1905–6) 291 (Heroon, ), BSA 13 (19061907) 153 (Athena Chalkioikos) and 161 (area of Hellenistic tombs), BSA 26 (1923–5) 248 with 276 fig. 8 (Akropolis votive deposit), BSA 28 (1926–7) 74 and 75 fig. 15 (Akropolis).

5 See Woodward, A. M., BSA 28 (19261927) 2 and Droop, J. P., BSA 28 (19261927) 81.

6 The existence of Laconian red-figure was recognized by Droop, J. P., BSA 28 (19261927) 74: see also BSA 26 (1923–5) 248 n. 1. For Corinthian red-figure, see Herbert, S., Corinth VII, IV, The Red-figure Pottery (Princeton 1977); Corbett, P. E. in Perachora ii (Oxford 1962) 286–8; McPhee, Ian, Hesperia 52 (1983) 137–53. For Chalcidic red-figure, see McPhee, , BSA 76 (1981) 297308. For red-figure from north-west Greece, see ibid. 74 (1979) 159–62. For Elean red-figure, see Trendall, A. D. and McPhee, Ian, Aparchai. Nouove ricerche e studi sulla Magna Grecia e la Sicilia antica in onore di Paolo Enrico Arias (Pisa 1982) 471–2; Schicring, Wolfgang in Olympische Forschungen V, Die Werkstatt des Pheidias in Olympia (Berlin 1964) 248–66. For Boeotian red-figure, see Lullies, R., AM 65 (1940) 127; Ure, A. D., AJA 57 (1953) 245–9 and AJA 62 (1958) 389–95; Pelagatti, P., AC 14 (1962) 2941.

7 The notebooks of the Sparta excavations are preserved in the Library of the British School at Athens. In Sparta Notebook 23 inventory numbers 5118–31 are listed as miscellaneous vase fragments from Orthia.

8 See Wace, A. J. B., BSA 12 (19051906) 285 and BSA 13 (1906–7) 8.

9 See Loring, W., JHS 15 (1895) 54–7, and Frazer, J. G., Pausanias's Description of Greece iii (London 1898) 319–20 on Pausanias 3. 10. 7.

10 See Woodward, A. M. and Hobling, M. B., BSA 26 (19231925) 240–52, with diagram of the stratification on p. 244, and plan and section on pl. xvii. For the sixth-or fifth century stoa, see Coulton, J. J., The Architectural Development of the Greek Stoa (Oxford 1976) 34, 285. See also Woodward, , BSA 28 (19261927) 38.

11 See the plan of the areas excavated in 1924 given in Sparta Notebook 137, 73.

12 The excavations of 1926–7 on the Acropolis are reported in BSA 28 (1926–7) 37–45, with plan and section on pl. v. The areas dug in these years can be ascertained by comparing BSA 28 (1926– 7) pl. v with BSA 26 (1923–5) pl. xvii.

13 See the account by M. B. Hobling of the 1925 excavations in Notebook 137, 191–203.

14 For other descriptions of Laconian terracotta, see Droop in AO 53, 56, 101; Boardman, J. and Hayes, J., Tocra i (Oxford 1966) 87–8; Coldstream, in Kythera (London 1972) 307. Droop included all fifth- and fourth- century figured pottery from Sparta in his ‘Laconian VI’ phase: see AO 101, with figs. 80–1, BSA 28 (1926–7) 74–6. ‘Laconian VI’ pottery is said to be characterized by the absence of a slip!

15 ARV 2 p. 1. Of course, it is not possible to say how many mugs are represented among the fragments; possibly only a few.

16 Ergon 1955, 85 fig. 83; PAE 1956, pl. 80b. For the excavations at Analipsis, see PAE 1950, 234–5; 1954, 270; 1955, 241–2; 1956, 185–6, 1957, 110–11; 1958, 166; Ergon 1954,38–9; 1955, 83–5; 1956, 81; 1957, 66; 1958, 137; BCH 79 (1955) 254; 80 (1956) 273–6; 81 (1957) 548; 82 (1958) 713. The location of Analipsis may be easily ascertained from Cartledge, P., Sparta and Laconia (London 1979) 2 fig. 1 or 132 fig. 16.

17 On the mug in general, see Sparkes, B. A., Antike Kunst ii (1968) 89; Sparkes, Brian A. and Talcott, Lucy, The Athenian Agora XII, Black and Plain Pottery (Princeton 1970) 70–6; Green, J. R., BICS 19 (1972) 8; Schauenburg, K. in Moon, W. G. (ed.), Ancient Greek Art and Iconography (Madison 1983) 259–84. For Laconian black-glaze mugs at Corinth, see Williams, C. K. II, Hesperia 48 (1979) 140–2.

18 Agora XII 71.

19 Ibid. 70. See also Scheibler, Ingeborg, AA 1968, 389–97 who argues strongly for Kothon. The evidence from Isthmia is important: Hesperia 28 (1959) pl. 70i. See also Johnston, A. W., Trademarks on Greek Vases (Warminster 1979) 231; and Lazzarini, M. L., AC 25–6 (19731974) 365–9.

20 Agora XII 70.

21 Rhomaios noted that the large vases that he found at Analipsis seemed to have been used in connection with a domestic cult of some sort: BCH 80 (1956) 273–6; PAE 1954, 270; PAE 1955, 241–2.

22 It is perhaps worth noting that in Apulian red-figure small mugs appear in the second quarter of the fourth century (RV Ap 1, 10/208–21; 11/82, 127–8, 298–9), large mugs from the middle of the century (the earliest is the Costantini mug now in Fiesole, , RV Ap 1, 16/68, CVA Fiesole 2 pl. 18). With one exception (Lucanian) the large mug occurs only in Apulian red-figure.

23 Liverpool 50.43.12: Stephen L. Hyatt, The Greek Vase (1981) fig. 83. This vase has recently been cleaned and will be published by Martin Robertson: there are two handles, cf. Boreas 6 (1983) 99 n. 24a. Kavala 1937π: ARV 2 p. 1691, Para. 482, Painter of Louvre G433; Rhomiopoulou, K., Deltion 19 (1964) 73–8. Burgas 1723: Para. 481, Modica Painter; Izvestiya na Blgarskolo Arkheologicheskiya Institut 23 (1960) 253–6. The Kabeirion fragments K734, 850, 2384 are published by Braun, K., in Kabirenheiligtum bei Theben iv (1981) 80–R9, pl. 26.6 and 9 (the rim also in Kabirenheiligtum bei Theben iii, pl. 50.23); the fragments are certainly Attic, of c.410–390, but are more likely, I think, to come from a large mug than a dinos.

24 PAE 1955 pl. 91 b.

25 Closer in fact to such a Boeotian red-figured bell-krater as Yale 130, AJA 62 (1958) pl. 106 figs. 24–5.

26 See Shefton, B. in Perachora ii (1962) 384–5 n. 3, 540; Williams, II,Hesperia 48 (1979) 142–4; Agora XII 54 n. 2.

27 Note the suspension-hole, no doubt one of a pair, in the lip of 57; for similar holes in a much earlier Laconian plate see BSA 28 (1926–7) 63 fig. 7 below. For roughly contemporary Attic red-figure plates, see Talcott, L. and Philippaki, B., Hesperia, Supplement x (Princeton 1956) pls. 4450.

28 For the black-painted cups, see BSA 14 (1907–8) 44 fig. gac. Both Woodward and Droop noted their frequency in the Acropolis excavations: BSA 26 (1923–5) 248 and 28 (1926–7) 72–3.

29 See Herbert, S., Corinth vii, iv (Princeton 1977) 70–2; McPhee, , Hesperia 45 (1976) 395–6 nos. 45–8.

30 Athens NM 19446: BCH 80 (1956) 274, Ergon 1955, 84—on the reverse, two draped youths; Athens NM 19453: PAE 1955 pl. 91a.

31 Cf. the similar Nereid and hippocamp on the roughly contemporary Elean(?) red-figure squat-lekythos in Patras: Arch. Reports 1971–2, 12 fig. 19.

32 Somewhat similar carts appear on Attic choes: e.g. Van Hoorn, G., Choes and Anthesteria (Leiden 1951) figs. 35, 130. 131.

33 Comic performances were put on in Laconia in the fourth century by the deikelistai, the equivalent of the Italiote phlyakes: Athenaeus xiv. 621d–622d, Plutarch, Ages. xxi. Of course, the phlyakes were not satyr actors, but satyr plays were no less a Peloponnesian speciality than phylax dramas.

34 Rhomaios is reported to have believed that the six or seven large vases were the work of a single painter: Ergon 1955, 85; BCH 80 (1956) 274–6.

35 e.g. the volute-krater in Ruvo, ARV 2 1184, 1, or the hydria in Berlin, ARV 2 1187, 32.

36 Cf. the artist's namepiece in Ruvo, Sichtermann, H., Griechische Vasen in Unteritalien aus der Sammlung Jatta in Ruvo (Tubingen 1966) pls. 1, 24–34.

37 Not, however, as part of any policy of economic warfare against Athens, as Attic red-figure had never been common in Laconia and Laconian red-figure was not an export-ware. Perhaps the stimulus to produce red-figure came to Laconia from Elis where the beginnings of the local fabric seem to coincide with the arrival of Pheidias and other artists from Athens c. 430–420. A potter-painter may even have moved from Elis to Laconia, but in that case we might expect to see some similarity between Elean and Laconian red-figure in their early stages: I have not been able to detect any. See MacDonald, B. R., ‘The Emigration of Potters from Athens in the Late 5th Century B.C. and its Effect on the Attic Pottery Industry’, AJA 85 (1981) 159–68.

38 See Cartledge, , ‘Did Spartan Citizens ever Practise a Manual Teckhne?’, Liverpool Classical Monthly 1 (1976) 115–19.

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Laconian Red-Figure from the British Excavations in Sparta

  • Ian McPhee

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