Pamela Armstrong

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History


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In the Byzantine Empire, ceramics were used in food preparation, cooking, and dining. Based on classification of tablewares, ceramic production can be divided into four main chronological phases: the early Byzantine period, which covers the fourth to eighth centuries; the period between the eighth and eleventh centuries, when Constantinople was the dominant producer of tablewares; the third phase, which roughly corresponds to the reigns of the Komnenian emperors, and in which glazed pottery production became common in provincial centres; and the fourth phase, which begins at the end of the twelfth century when late Byzantine tablewares developed distinctive regional styles. The Byzantines are believed to be the ones who made pottery of the fourth to eighth centuries found in Greece, Asia Minor, and the Levant. Byzantine pottery has been categorized into hierarchical groups: "international" wares, "regional" wares, and "local" wares. Another class of pottery is known as "white" ware. In terms of fabric and decoration, Polychrome ware is closely related to contemporaneous architectural ceramics.

Keywords: Byzantine Empire; ceramics; pottery; tablewares; glazed pottery; international wares; white ware; regional wares; local wares

Article.  6415 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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