Greek amphorae

Quick Reference

The amphora is one of the most versatile and long‐lived pot shapes. A two‐handled jar (amphi‐phoreus, ‘carried on both sides’), it can vary enormously in size, detail of shape, and manner of decoration. Plain or part‐decorated jars were used widely for storage and transport; we see them often in vase scenes, and literary and epigraphic texts fill out the picture. The average capacity of Classical and Hellenistic jars is 20–25 lt. (4½ –5½ gal.). Early transport amphorae (late 8th cent., esp. Attic and Corinthian) probably contained olive oil; later, wine becomes the major commodity; jars supplement, then supplant skins.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

Reference entries