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EMMA VITALE

La ceramica sovradipinta bizantina di Gortina

  • Authors: Vitale, E.
  • Publication year: 2008
  • Type: Monografia
  • Key words: Byzantine painted pottery; Gortys excavations; ceramic factory; pottery kiln; table fine ware; local manufactures
  • OA Link: http://hdl.handle.net/10447/24692

Abstract

EMMA VITALE (2008). La ceramica sovradipinta bizantina di Gortina. p. 1-304, PADOVA:Aldo Ausilio Editore in Padova-Bottega d''Erasmo, ISBN: 978-88-6125-071-0 The Byzantine painted pottery from the Gortys excavations represents a new class among the painted pottery productions which spread over the Mediterranean basin since the end of the 6th century AD. The first finds came to light around the mid-fifties during the excavations in the Temple of Athena on the acropolis (Haghios Ioannis hill), but the greatest number of fragments comes from the upper town and, particularly, from the Byzantine quarter between the Pretorio and the Apollo Pythios temple: here, the finding of a ceramic factory site with a small kiln shows that this class is a local production. The pottery bears simple linear painted decoration in red or dark brown, over a light brown or clay-coloured slip. The closed forms are amphoras, jugs, bottles, flasks, juglets, bowls; they are decorated on the shoulders with long coupled leaves, horizontal waves, stylized vegetal patterns and groups of diverging lines. The open forms include carinated bowls, dishes and basins. The carinated bowls can be considered a fine ware, because of their high technical standards and their great variability in decorative patterns. These latter include motifs such as stylized plants, crosses and birds. The edge of the dishes is decorated with oblique and parallel lines, the rims with colour drops and the inner surface with fishes or small stylized twigs. In the production of this pottery class one can distinguish three chronological phases: 1. from the end of the 6th century AD to the earthquake of 618 AD; 2. from the earthquake in 618 to the following earthquake of 670 AD; 3. from the 670 earthquake to the end of the 8th century AD. The first phase is the one least known, and the very bulk of production is dated after 618 AD. The closed forms are definetly more common than the open ones. The basic forms and the motifs do not show major changes during the two more important phase (from the 1st half of the 7th century to the 8th century AD). The Byzantine painted pottery of Gortys can be placed, then, in the wide context of the several ceramic painted productions flourished all around the Mediterranean sea between the end of the 6th and the 7th century: in Greek-Aegean area, the dishes and the bowls with vegetal patterns, called “Central Greek Painted Wares” by John Hayes; in Egypt, the painted productions of Alessandria, Antinoe and Kellia; in Syria, Palestine and Jordan the s.c. “Gerash bowls”, the Nabataean bowls and the Omayyad painted pottery with linear and spiral decoration patterns. And painted productions with predominantly regional movement have been identified over the past thirty years, as it is known, also in Central and Southern Italy (Abruzzo, Basilicata, Puglia, Calabria and Sicily). However, the original decorative repertoire of Gortys pottery, devoid of precise similarities with the other contemporary productions, reaffirms its genuine character of local and typical manufacture of Crete island during the first two centuries of Byzantine age.