Pottery Greek Civilization Essay


No treatment of the main period of Greek civilization should end without emphasizing the continuity both with what went before and with what came after. Continuity is clearest in the sphere of religion, which may be said to have been “embedded” in Greek life. Some of the gods alleged to have been relatively late imports into Greece can in fact be shown to have Mycenaean origins. For instance, one Athenian myth held that Dionysus was a latecomer, having been introduced into Attica from Eleutherae in the 6th century. There is reference to Dionysus (or di-wo-no-so-jo), however, on Linear B tablets from the 2nd millennium bce.

Looking forward, Dionysus’s statue was to be depicted in a grand procession staged in Alexandria in the 3rd century bce by Ptolemy II Philadelphus. (The iconographic significance of the king’s espousal of Dionysus becomes clear in light of the good evidence that in some sense Alexander the Great had identified himself with Dionysus in Carmania.) Nor was classical Dionysus confined to royal exploitation: it has been shown that the festivals of the City Dionysia at Athens and the deme festival of the Rural Dionysia were closely woven into the life of the Athenian empire and the Athenian state. Another Athenian, Euripides, represented Dionysus in a less tame and “official” aspect in the Bacchae; the Euripidean Dionysus has more in common with the liberating Dionysus of Carmania or with the socially disruptive Dionysus whose worship the Romans in 186 bce were to regulate in a famous edict. The longevity and multifaceted character of Dionysus symbolizes the tenacity of the Greek civilization, which Alexander had taken to the banks of the Oxus but which in many respects still carried the marks of its Archaic and even prehistoric origins.

Simon Hornblower

greek vase painting Essay

1052 Words5 Pages

Greek Vase Painting

     In modern society, Greek pottery is considered an art which is regarded as much for its aesthetic splendor as its historical significance. However, the role of pottery in ancient Greek culture was far more functional as its primary use was for the transportation and storage of such liquids as water and wine (Encyclopedia Britannica). Due to the durability of the fired clay material, Greek pottery is the only remaining art form that allows us to explore the evolution of this ancient culture. Through that examination, three distinct stylistic periods have been unveiled: Geometric, Orientalizing and Archaic. This analysis will detail these distinct periods as well as three design…show more content…

The new style was a stark contrast to the dense designs of the Geometric period that allowed for more open composition built around larger scale images. Processions of animals, both real and legendary (sphinxes, griffins, and sirens), would typically serve as the focal point in the main frieze of an Orientalizing piece (Chamoux, 21-24). While artists took inspiration from more natural resources such as lotus flowers, palmettes, and rosettes and incorporated them into surrounding images of their work to create a serene background.

     (The British Museum, London)

     In contrast to the previous vase from the Geometric period, this pitcher has much more curvilinear elements and more negative space, two elements prominent to the Orientalizing period.     

The third and final period, the Archaic period (c. 600-480 BCE), exemplifies the contrast of the art of that time and the art of the following period (Classical). During the Archaic period, Athens became the center for pottery manufacturing and trade in Greece. Artists were now commissioned to produce fine pottery and vessels which lead to the now common practice of an artist signing their name on their works (Stokestad, 152 -172). Throughout the evolution of Greek pottery, the number of bands on the vases decreased until only one large central image was

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