Ornamentation of Chersonesan Ceramics in Hellenistic Times (Semantics and Spreading)

Keywords: Hellenistic time, Tauric Chersonese, ceramics, ornament, cult


The tableware made in Tauric Chersonese, which was ornamented in different ways, is studied in the paper. Due to the stylistic peculiarities of such painting, it has become possible to trace the spread of ceramics of this type to remote poleis of the North-Western Black Sea region. An attempt is made to disclose the semantic load of certain elements of decor that could be linked with the cult sphere of the Greeks. The importance of comparing archaeological materials with information about the main revered deities in Hellenistic Chersonese is emphasized.

The first, most massive, group of ceramics is represented by table jars with ornamentation in the form of red girdle strips, mainly on the upper part of the vessel. Strips of different thicknesses were applied to the rough surface or over a light engobe. Image of such stripes hardly had a deep symbolic meaning, because it was the ease of application that favoured its mass reproduction. The second group consists of jars with a painting in the form of sprigs or plant garlands. Motif in the form of tendrils of grapes (ampelos) is associated with the significant development of winemaking in Hellenistic Chersonese, as well as with the spread of the cults of Dionysus and Heracles, with which this plant is associated according to written sources. Image of ivy leaves, which is often present in ancient iconography, is also possible to attribute to Dionysus. The third group comprises jars with a painting in the form of sprigs of laurel, which was traditionally an attribute of Apollo. His cult was also present in Tauric Chersonese as one of the most important. Another group of images is represented by olive branches. It is known from mythological creative works that it was associated, first of all, with Athena, who was revered in the polis because of the military threat. Although other interpretations of such an image are not excluded. Among other motifs, there are various curls, waves, and other elements typical for Hellenic arts and crafts.

The issues considered in the work give rise to study more deeply the Hellenistic painted ceramics of Tauric Chersonese and its spreading in the Northern Black Sea region.


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How to Cite
KotenkoV. (2021). Ornamentation of Chersonesan Ceramics in Hellenistic Times (Semantics and Spreading). Eminak: Scientific Quarterly Journal, (1(33), 244-252. https://doi.org/10.33782/eminak2021.1(33).505
Iron Age