You are here

Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. Greece 10. Rhodes, Archaeological Museum 1: Attic Black Figure

Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. Greece 10. Rhodes, Archaeological Museum 1: Attic Black Figure

By Anna Lemos. Pp. 138, figs. 51, b&w pls. 95, color pl. 1. Academy of Athens, Athens 2007. Price not available. ISBN 978-960-404-098-8 (cloth).

Reviewed by

This is the first fascicle in the Greek series for the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes. However, it is not the first publication of pottery from Rhodes because two fascicles appeared in the Italian series (nos. 9, 10) in 1933 and 1934. Seven pots reappear here. They include four Type B amphoras attributed to the Princeton Painter (inv. no. 1346 [pls. 12, 13, unnumbered color plate]), the Rycroft Painter (inv. no. 13447 [fig. 7, pls. 19, 20]), the Madrid Painter (inv. no. 11758 [pls. 31–3]), and the Dot-band class (inv. no. 12330 [fig. 20, pls. 39, 40]). The others are a hydria attributed to the circle of the Swing Painter (inv. no. 1347 [pls. 53, 54]), a lekythos near the Taleides Painter (inv. no. 12217 [fig. 39, pls. 74, 75]), and an alabastron attributed to the Emporion Painter (inv. no. 12149 [fig. 50, pl. 94]). Many others have featured in Clara Rhodos for Camiros (vols. 4 [1931], 6–7 [1932]) and Ialysos (vols. 3 [1929], 8 [1936]), though a concordance is not provided. It is worth remembering the wise observations of J.D. Beazley in his review of CVA Italia 9 (Rhodes 1) (1933), "it is . . . somewhat disappointing to find that every single vase in this volume of the Corpus, with the exception of nine common Cypriot vases not even found in Rhodes, has been published before. Evidently it is another fascicule of the Corpus; but the Corpus is not, perhaps, an end in itself" (JHS 54 [1934] 88–9; see also his comments on CVA Italia 10 [Rhodes 2] [1934] in JHS 55 [1935] 90–1). The quality of the illustrations are better here than those that appear in Clara Rhodos, but one questions the choice to publish this present selection as a fascicle of the CVA.

This is, above all, a collection of excavated archaeological material (only a handful of pieces have no recorded findspot). An amphora attributed to the Madrid Painter was found in Tomb 416 of Drakidis at Ialysos; it had been covered by an inverted Attic (though not stated here) black-glossed cup acting as a lid (and illustrated, as it must have been found, in pl. 31, no. 1). The cup does not look like a standard Type B black-glossed example, but its "almost stemless" appearance is reminiscent of the Late Archaic black-glossed cups from the Fikellura and other cemeteries on Rhodes.

It is surprising that no index of tomb groups was provided. This fascicle represents material from various cemeteries, mostly at Camiros and Ialysos. One of the striking things about the Attic pottery, both plain and figure decorated, found in the Fikellura cemetery is the way that pairs and sets of pieces from the same workshop can be identified (e.g., D.W.J. Gill, "The Workshops of the Attic Bolsal," in H.A.G. Brijder, ed., Ancient Greek and Related Pottery [Amsterdam 1984] 102–6). Indeed, it is possible to identify near contemporary tombs that contain what could be argued as pots from the same consignment.

Take, for example, the kalpides attributed to the Brno Painter. Lemos discusses the work of Haspels and Beazley to define the "painter" (78). Two of the pieces appearing here were found in the same grave: Tomb 288, near the church of Kremaste at Ialysos (inv. nos. 10784, 10785 [pl. 56]). A third piece comes from Tomb 167 of Macri Langoni at Camiros (inv. no. 13222 [pl. 55, nos. 3, 4]). At least another four were found in the Fikellura cemetery at Camiros (Tombs F39, F111, F235) and are now in the British Museum (inv. nos. 64.10–7.209, 282, 284, 285). Do these kalpides form part of one or more batches derived from a single Athenian pottery workshop or "painter"?

Lemos does make some attempt to link material. She attributes an olpe from Tomb 65 of Tsambikos from Kremaste at Ialysos (inv. no. 5110 [fig. 37, pl. 72, nos. 1, 2]) to a new painter of Rhodes 12242 (part of the class of Vatican G. 50), an olpe that was found at Camiros (though this findspot is not mentioned). Three other olpai form the corpus of the "painter." One in Dunedin (inv. no. E48.259, ex A.B. Cook) was linked to Rhodes 12242 by Green (CVA New Zealand 1 [1979] pl. 18, nos. 8, 9), and the Beazley Archive Pottery Database designates this as "perhaps" the class of Rhodes 12242. Lemos also notes three other olpai "with the same patterns on lip and neck" (99), and two of them are from Rhodes (inv. nos. 13435 [from Camiros] and 11884 [from Ialysos]), but she does not indicate the findspots. Is there a cluster of related material from Late Archaic Rhodes? What insight does such a grouping provide for the interpretation of the distribution of Attic pottery?

The format of the CVA perhaps restricts the discussion. The horsehead amphora from Tomb 48 at Marmaro, Ialysos (inv. no. 15565), is considered against the possibility that the type had "special significance as prizes [sc. at Athens], at least for the equestrian events in games" (16). In addition to the pieces known from the Athenian Acropolis and the Agora, it would perhaps have been worth noting that at least five fragmentary horsehead amphoras were found at the mercenary base Tell Defenneh. Do such amphoras have a meaning in an East Greek context (both on Rhodes and in the Eastern Delta)?

A number of the pieces in this fascicle carry graffiti or dipinti (though, again, no index is provided). Many of these were noted by Johnston (BSA 70 [1975] 145–67) in his study of such marks from Rhodes; several now appear in his Trademarks on Greek Vases: Addenda (Oxford 2006). An amphora, attributed to the painter of the Panther Amphoriskoi, from inhumation Tomb 240 at Drakidis, has a dipinto theta on the underside of the foot (inv. no. 10616 [fig. 2, pl. 2]; Johnston, Type 12 B, 1a). A similar dipinto is found on another amphora from Ialysos (inv. no. 10604; Johnston, Type 12 B, 4). A lekythos, attributed to the Marathon Painter, from Tomb 62 of Kremaste, Ialysos, carries what appears to be a commercial graffito on its neck (inv. no. 5108 [pl. 84]; Johnston, subsid. list 1, 17). Some of the marks are unclear, such as those found on an olpe (inv. no. 15439 [fig. 34, pl. 67]; Johnston, sub. list 5, 105) and a hydria (inv. no. 15444 [fig. 26, pls. 51, 52]; Johnston, sub. list 5, 106), both from Tomb 19 of Marmaro, Ialysos. Perhaps one of the most complex dipinti, an apparent owner's name Archidamos, is found on a hydria from Tomb 10 of Marmaro, Ialysos (inv. no. 15432 [fig. 24, pls. 46, 47]; see Johnston, BSA 70 [1975] 153–54).

This fascicle records definitively a selection of the Attic black-figured pottery from Rhodes, but it needs to be used alongside the material in the Clara Rhodos volumes (and Annuario), as well as the earlier (Italian) fascicles of the CVA. There is material from more than 200 graves in the Fikellura cemetery, excavated by Salzmann and Biliotti (1863–64) and mostly consigned to the British Museum (though some pieces are in Istanbul). Lemos recognizes this weakness in the preface, noting that the format of the CVA "partially prevents the precise appreciation of Attic Black Figure on Rhodes, a collection exceptional for the east fringes of the Archaic Greek world"(p. [12] but unnumbered; the first numbered page in fascicule is 16). This reviewer has raised this issue before in connection with an archaeological collection in Greece (JHS 121 [2001] 219–20): is the CVA the best way to publish pottery from excavated contexts and especially tomb groups?

Opportunities have not been taken (or the requirements of the CVA have not allowed) to ask a wider set of questions that would shed light on the export of Athenian pottery as well as on the material culture of Rhodes in the sixth and fifth centuries B.C.E.

David W.J. Gill
Centre for Egyptology and Mediterranean Archaeology
Swansea University
Swansea SA2 8PP
United Kingdom

Book Review of Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. Greece 10. Rhodes, Archaeological Museum 1: Attic Black Figure, by Anna Lemos

Reviewed by David W.J. Gill

American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 112, No. 4 (October 2008)

Published online at

DOI: 10.3764/ajaonline1124.Gill

Add new comment

Plain text

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Click "Save" to submit your comment. Please allow some time for your post to be moderated.