Amphora is ... Sizes and kinds of amphorae

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Amphora is a special kind of dishes,It was widely spread in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Amphoras come in different sizes and shapes. In addition, they also carry a certain symbol in themselves. Which one? You will learn about this from our article.

Amphora is ...

First of all, we need to find out what amphora is?

The meaning of amphora is very interesting. From the Greek language it is translated as "a container with two handles."

Amphora is a vessel of a special elongated form,with handles on both sides. Quite often the bottom of amphorae is conical, pointed. The material from which this dish was made in antiquity, most often clay. Less often find bronze amphorae.

amphora is

In ancient Greece, as well as Rome, amphorae performed different functions. For example, they were used:

  • as a container for storing liquid products (various oils, wine, milk, juice or honey);
  • As a reward for winning in sports;
  • as burial urns for ashes or for installation on burial mounds.

The sizes of amphoras can be very different. In general, they contain from 5 to 50 liters of liquid. And in ancient Greece, the amphora (whose volume was 26.03 liters) was even used as a unit of measurement - the Greek "talent".

Classification of amphorae

Henry Dressel is a German scientist and archaeologist,who was also engaged in the study of ancient amphorae. Below you can see how this person looked. In particular, he developed a detailed typology of ancient amphorae. From the domestic researchers, a significant contribution to the study of this type of tableware was made by archaeologist Sergei Monakhov.

the meaning of amphora

In its catalog (issued in 1899 inGermany) Henry Dressel introduced 45 varieties of Roman amphorae. He was able to establish the age of each of them. Help him in this the names of the consuls, who often printed on all amphorae. It is worth noting that Dressel's classification is still used when it is necessary to identify one or another archaeological find.

The first 6 forms in Dressel's typology areRoman amphorae for wine. They are dated I st. BC. e. - II tbsp. n. e. Amphoras from 7th to 12th in this catalog are Spanish vessels for storing fish. Further in the catalog of the German scientist are already more recent copies of amphoras, which are dated III century or even later.

The Greek amphora is a symbol of life and death

Amphoras symbolize both life and death. How can this be?

Once, during the excavation of Chersonesos -Ancient Greek city in the Crimea, archaeologists discovered strange amphorae, in which were the remains of buried children. Thus, these vessels in ancient times served as coffins. In addition, on the graves of adults, also often found on top of the amphorae.

On the other hand, the Greek amphora symbolizesa woman's womb. Moreover, she was intentionally endowed with female features. So, even the elements of amphora were named as follows: throat, trunk, leg and pens. And such names were given to the amphora by no accident.

Greek amphorae

Thus, the amphora is a vessel symbolizing in itself both life and death.

Where and how do they find ancient amphorae?

Archaeological excavations are conducted regularly and in different parts of our planet. During these excavations very often find various valuable artifacts, including ancient amphorae.

These ancient vessels are found both on land and underwater. In the first case, special archaeological tools are used: scapula and brush. For a purposeful search for metal amphoraes, metal detectors or so-called magnetometers are used that react to any changes in the magnetic field of a particular area. By the way, most clay amphoras also have their own magnetic field, because clay in the process of burning receives a large amount of oxidized iron.

Greek amphora - the symbol of life

From the depths of the sea, amphora will help raisesurface normal air. At the bottom of the seas there are whole "cemeteries" of such ancient utensils. They could have formed either as a result of a shipwreck with a similar load, or as a result of simply dropping used amphorae overboard. In one way or another, the amphorae are at the bottom of the sea.

Today archeologists quite often extract amphorae from the waters of the Black, Adriatic or Mediterranean seas. The origin of these amphorae, most of them Ancient Greek, Roman or Phoenician.


Thus, the amphora is not only an ancientthe element of the dishes. They were used not only for food storage. Archaeologists have repeatedly found ancient Roman or ancient Greek amphorae with the ashes of the deceased, and even with the infants buried in them.

Ancient amphorae were made from clay, less often fromwood or some metals. Clay amphorae were made by hand. Often they were also decorated with paintings, ornaments or certain drawings. Today archaeologists find many ancient amphoras, which are the most important artifacts of a particular culture or historical epoch.

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