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Trademarks on Greek Vases1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2009


Throughout the ages the undersides of earthenware vases have been the home for all manner of cryptic abbreviations and signs. The importance nowadays placed on such marks varies considerably according to the date and origin of the material, though generally it is greater when the signs refer in some manner to the potter, decorator, or producing factory, especially when considerations of the mark may affect the value of the piece.

Research Article
Copyright © The Classical Association 1974

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page 138 note 2 Jongkees, , Mnemosyne iii 10 (1942), 151Google Scholar ff. and iv. 4 (1951), 258 ff.; Amyx, , ‘An Amphora with a Price Inscription’, University of California Publications in Classical Archaeology i. 8 (1941), 179–98Google Scholar, and Hesperia xxvii (1958), 275310.Google Scholar

page 139 note 1 The Acropolis: Graef, B. and Langlotz, E., Die Antiken Vasen von der Akropolis zu Athen (Berlin, 1933), ii. 127–9Google Scholar, nn. 1517 ff.; examples from the Agora: Sparkesand, B. A.Talcott, L., The Athenian Agora, Volume XII, Black and Plain Pottery (Princeton, 1970), part 2, figs. 22–3.Google Scholar

page 140 note 1 Most of these are illustrated by Amyx, , Hesperia, loc. cit., pls. 52–4.Google Scholar

page 142 note 1 A prolific workshop of the late sixth century, producing black-figure vases, named after the kalos tag which appears on a number of the vases, but which is perhaps better known on the works of the early red-figure pioneers, notably the calyx-krater lately acquired by the Metropolitan Museum, New York. Leagros is said to have been an exact contemporary of Themistokles (Themist. Ep. viii. init.)Google Scholar and later became an Athenian general, as did his son Glaukon; his deme was Kerameis—a local favourite.

page 142 note 2 I list them in ABSA lxviii (1973).Google Scholar

page 143 note 1 Occupation at Cerveteri or Pyrgi is inferred from some groups of vases of strongly Greek style, apparently produced in that area by Ionian exiles in the years after 540. At Gravisca the Greek presence is more tangible, consisting of sanctuaries and inscriptions dating from the early sixth century; see Torelli, M., Parola del Passato, xxvi (1971), 44 ff.Google Scholar

As regards stowing on board ship, we have the evidence of the packaging of the sycophant in Ar. Ach. 903 ff.Google Scholar, to show that Attic vases were parcelled up (how?), though there it was for an overland journey to Thebes. Mr. G. E. M. de Ste Croix points out to me that in the eventuality of such packages being stowed upside down on board ship, with only the bases of the vases being visible (a possibility which cannot be ignored in the present state of our knowledge), marks on the feet would assume a considerable importance, and plain vase names would be readily understandable; see below, p. 146.

page 143 note 2 Hdt. iv. 152Google Scholar. Parola del Passato, xxvii (1972), 316–23.Google Scholar

page 144 note 1 Herbert, K., Ancient Art in Bowdoin College (Cambridge, Mass., 1964), 72 n. 196CrossRefGoogle Scholar, with a somewhat misleading version of the mark.

page 145 note 1 Giroux, H., RA 1972, 244Google Scholar with note 2 and fig. 7.

page 146 note 1 Tod, M. N., ABSA xlv (1950), 126 ff.Google Scholar

page 147 note 1 Tod, , ABSA xviii (19111912), 125 ffGoogle Scholar. Other numerals perhaps of an acrophonic type are found used as aids to assembly on terracotta revetments from temples of the sixth century at Gela and Syracuse; see Moreno, , Rend. Linc. 1963, 201–29.Google Scholar

page 147 note 2 Beazley, J. D., Hesperia xxxiii (1964), pl. 15.Google Scholar

page 147 note 3 He is followed by Webster, T. B. L., Potter and Patron in Classical Athens (London, 1972), 270 ff.Google Scholar

page 147 note 4 Amyx, , loc. cit., pl. 53b.Google Scholar

page 148 note 1 Archaeological Reports 19691970, 60Google Scholar, and add Webster, , op. cit. 275.Google Scholar

page 150 note 1 I take as an example the rate paid by the state to masons working on the Erechtheum; for this and other architects' fees see Burford, A., The Greek Temple Builders at Epidauros (Liverpool, 1969), 140–1Google Scholar. We might compare the three-obol dicast's fee at Athens in the years after 425–424, and payments to Athenian sailors of one drachma a day in 417 (discussed, along with other rates of pay by Gomme, A. W., HCT ii. 275Google Scholar, on Thuc. iii. 17. 4)Google Scholar. None of this state-controlled employment can be said to be permanent and guaranteed, while in the private sector fixed rates of pay were probably rarely used other than for piece-work.

page 150 note 2 Amyx, , Hesperia xxvii (1958), 178–86.Google Scholar