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Part 2. Transformations of scale

Feasting and offering to the Gods in early Greek sanctuaries: Monumentalisation and miniaturisation in pottery

Festin et offrande aux dieux dans les sanctuaires grecs anciens : monumentalisation et miniaturisation dans la poterie
Stefanos Gimatzidis
p. 75-96

Résumés

Des contextes de poterie, datés avec précision, du sanctuaire d’Apollon Daphnéphoros à Érétrie, de l’Agamemnoneion à Mycènes, du sanctuaire d’Aléa Athéna à Tégée, du sanctuaire d’Artémis à Lousoi, et du sanctuaire à Sane (Pallene, Chalkidiki) révèlent un changement significatif des pratiques cultuelles au tournant du viiie siècle av. J.-C. Les vases ornementaux ou de grandeur nature offerts jusque-là par les pélerins commencent à être remplacés par de la poterie miniature au début de l’époque archaïque hâtive. À partir du début du viie siècle, les potiers produisent des versions miniatures de vases monumentaux ou de grandeur nature qui avaient servi d’offrandes ou pour des festins durant la période géométrique tardive (760-700 av. J.-C.).

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Dédicace

For Euphrosyne on her birthday, 26 March 2010

Texte intégral

I warmly thank the editors of this volume, Dr. Marianne Bergeron and Dr. Amy Smith, for proof-reading the English in the manuscript and generally their meticulous editorial work. Furthermore, many thanks are also owed to them as well as to the anonymous reviewers for making useful suggestions. Finally, I have also to thank Prof. Michalis Tiverios for reading this paper.

  • 1 Morgan, 2007, p. 30-35 and 137-46.
  • 2 See Mulliez, 2005; Niemeier, 2005.
  • 3 See for example Kalapodi: Jacob-Felsch, 1996 and Felsch, 2007.

1The origins of Greek cult have always puzzled scholars, on account of the paucity of Early Iron Age archaeological data from Greek sanctuaries.1 The so-called Panhellenic sanctuaries, from the most prosperous Greek cities, were the first sites to attract scholarly interest, because of their reputation among the ancient writers.2 While we have learned much from the large scale excavations that took place from the end of the 19 to the 20th centuries, little effort was put into the documentation of some of the most famous ancient Greek oracles and sanctuaries, including those at Delphi, Olympia, Delos and Samos. At that time, Classical archaeology focused on monumental architecture and precious votives, whiel ceramics were insufficiently sampled and badly documented. Only a few sacred places in Greece, excluding those on Crete, have yet yielded well stratified pottery dating from the very beginning of the Early Iron Age.3

2In this chapter I aim to show how close observation of some of the better documented excavations at Greek sacred places—the sanctuaries in Eretria and Sane on Pallene (Chalkidike), as well as few others on the Peloponnese, may reveal information about the early history of the Greek cult that has not been told by ancient literature, precious metal offerings, or architecture.

1. Votive offerings and pilgrim identities in the Early Iron Age Greek sanctuaries

  • 4 See De Polignac, 1994, p. 8-18.
  • 5 Coldstream, 2003, p. 318-20, fig. 101.
  • 6 For the discussion of “schwarze Schicht” (black layer) and its pottery in the sanctuary of Olympia (...)

3The majority of the well known Greek sanctuaries date from the Late Geometric period, a time of Greek expansion and of big changes in Greek material culture.4 Among Nicholas Coldstream’s 75 sanctuaries of the Geometric period, very few have yielded ceramic material earlier than the Late Geometric period.5 This pottery does not always allude, however, to cult practice.6

  • 7 Gimatzidis, 2011.
  • 8 Cf. Papadopoulos, 1997.

4Despite controversy in recent decades, some archaeological data seems to confirm the information from ancient literature regarding the leading role played by the Euboians and Corinthians in Greek maritime expansion in the latest phase of Early Iron Age and the Archaic period.7 While under certain circumstances pottery distribution has something to say about ancient trade and economy, it says very little about the ethnic identity of those responsible for pottery transport abroad.8 It is obvious that the masses of Euboian and Corinthian ceramic products found far away from their place of manufacture were not necessarily circulated by Euboian or Corinthian traders or colonists. For the diffusion of their pottery we look rather to activity connected in one way or another with Euboia and/or Corinth.

  • 9 See Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1985.
  • 10 Parker, 1997, p. 150.
  • 11 Forrest, 1957, p. 165.
  • 12 See for example Heurtley, Robertson, 1948; Benton, 1953 (Aetos).

5It is therefore peculiar that some of the most widely distributed Greek pottery categories in the Aegean, in Italy or in the Near East were not found in some of the most well known Greek sanctuaries, which are supposed to have been frequently visited. It is peculiar, for example, that although the so-called Pan-Hellenic sanctuaries of Olympia and Delphi and sanctuaries of some of the most prosperous cities—Samos and Perachora during the Late Geometric and Early Archaic period received votive offerings manufactured at the edge of the ancient world, they received almost no Euboian pottery (figure 1).9 Especially remarkable is the scarcity of Late Geometric Euboian pottery or other artefacts in Delphi, which seemed to have had a close relationship with Chalkis, one of the most active Euboian cities vis-à-vis colonization during the eighth century.10 The Delphic oracle used to give instructions and bless the foundations of numerous Euboian and other Greek colonies in Italy.11 In exchange, it should have received gifts from the cities that benefited. On the other hand, sanctuaries such as those in Delphi and Ithaka have yielded significant quantities of Geometric Corinthian pottery. This cannot be taken as evidence for the relationship between these sanctuaries and Corinth, however, because the flow of Corinthian pottery there obeys the same distribution rules as the ceramic circulation in the neighbouring settlements and cemeteries.12

  • 13 See, for example, Morgan, 2007, p. 61-105.

6Given the sampling bias in the pottery record of the old excavations as well as the paucity of evidence that ceramics may offer, in the past many scholars turned to other kinds of more precious ex votos to find the ethnic or social identity of the pilgrims to these Early Greek sanctuaries. The results of this long discussion were, however, frustrating. The most complicated problem for those who studied the Pan-Hellenic, cosmopolitan or socio-political character of some of the early Greek sanctuaries by means of the precious ex votos was to make trustworthy identifications of the origin of these artefacts.13

  • 14 Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1985, p. 230-31.
  • 15 See Huber, 2003, p. 69-104.
  • 16 Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1985, p. 221 and 231; cf. De Polignac, 2001, p. 6-7; for the non-Greek ex votos o (...)
  • 17 Cf. Antonaccio, 2007, p. 278-79.
  • 18 Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1985, p. 235; cf. Antonaccio, 2007, p. 277-78.
  • 19 For a recent discussion on this issue, see Antonaccio, 2007, p. 273-85 (with bibliography).

7The absence of Euboian precious votives in the so-called pan-Hellenic or other famous sanctuaries could be owed to the fact that it was not possible until now to ascribe any metal artefacts to Euboian production or that Euboian cities did not produce any metal votives for export. In addition, if one accepts that some of the most well known metal artefacts of Greek origin in the famous sanctuaries were manufactured only by workshops in particular cities—Athens, Corinth and Argos in the case of the tripods—one could imagine that Euboians used to purchase their dedications from merchants in the sanctuaries they visited, as did all other Greeks.14 In that case it is, however, peculiar that Euboians did not offer such artefacts in their own sanctuaries on Euboia.15 Likewise, Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier has proposed that non-Greek offerings, which have also been found on Euboia, were offered in the so-called pan-Hellenic sanctuaries mainly by Greeks who acquired them abroad or in Greece.16 In that sense some of them could also have been dedicated by Euboians. I refer to the Italian weapons dedicated, for example, at Olympia, Delphi and Isthmia, which were obtained perhaps during the conflicts between Greek settlers and native populations in Italy. On the other hand, it seems more plausible that these Italian weapons could have been obtained by the people of the northwest Peloponnese or Corinth, who were also active in the West during the Late Geometric and Early Archaic periods.17 According to Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier, the only kind of votive that was typically obtained in the homeland of its owner and dedicator was women’s jewellery.18 The attribution of such artefacts to specific workshops of the Geometric and Early Archaic periods is, however, not an easy matter. Another problem with regard to the interpretation of metal votive offerings, which is a major obstacle for someone with a diachronic perspective, is that they cannot be dated with precision. Consequently, it is almost impossible to understand the social history of Early Greek sanctuaries, e.g. the ethnic identities of pilgrims—whether Greek or foreign, Euboian or other—from the precious ex votos.19 Neither do the ancient literary texts inform us wholly about the relationship of these sanctuaries to the most eminent ethnai or poleis of their time.

8For a treatment of our problem from a different point of view, via a detailed chronological classification of the finds, we will have to turn to the votive and ritual pottery of the Early Greek sanctuaries. Through an analysis of the function, rather than the origin, of the pottery deposited in the sanctuaries, we can glean much information from the ceramic categories about major socio-political transformations in the Early Greek sanctuaries. As I will show, however, they can only rarely and under certain circumstances provide information on the ethnic origin of their dedicators.

2. Pottery as evidence of cult in the Early Greek sanctuaries

  • 20 See for example Eder, 2006 (Olympia); Eilmann, 1933; Walter, 1968 (Samos); Dunbabin, 1962 (Perachor (...)

9The quality and quantity of the Late Geometric (760-700) pottery in contrast to that from the Archaic period (700-480) found at the well known Greek sanctuaries is definitely striking. At Olympia and Samos, for example, while people consumed mostly local pottery during the Geometric period, both pilgrims and priests changed their tastes from the very beginning of the Archaic period.20 At this time, along with the import of large quantities of ceramics, there was a significant qualitative change in votive rituals, namely the miniaturisation and defunctionalisation of the pottery offered to the gods. This was not a local phenomenon but a universal one, which has been observed in many sanctuaries as well as in cemeteries all over Greece. Prior to any attempt to explain these changes in the variability of pottery at the turn of the eighth century, I will present an analysis of the function of the pots found in early Greek sanctuaries.

2. 1. Votive pots and ceramics for ritual dining in the Geometric period

  • 21 Huber, 2003, p. 48-53 and 117.

10The use of ceramic vessels as votive offerings or for other ritual purposes in Geometric sanctuaries is a neglected and obscure issue because of the sampling bias in older excavations. Recent Swiss excavations on Euboia, however, had some significant results in that direction. They yielded, for example, interesting data on a sacrificial area around an altar north of the Temple of Apollo Daphnephoros in Eretria, dating as early as the later Geometric period (750-700). The excavators discerned successive layers of votive offerings in that area. The most common finds in Late Geometric layers were small sized hydriai of a uniform type, 15 to 20 cm in height, which may have been used by pilgrims for libations. The small sized hydriai from Eretria form a distinctive and large group of pottery used for ritual purposes in the Eretrian sanctuaries.21

  • 22 Huber, 2003, p. 52, n. 55.
  • 23 Eilmann, 1933, p. 128, beil. 39.1.
  • 24 Coldstream, 1971, p. 10. The fragment of the Euboean hydria is exhibited in the Archaeological Muse (...)

11Among the few Euboian vases exported to non-Euboian sanctuaries during the Geometric period are two hydriai. The first, identified by Huber, is a fragment of a hydria from the Heraion at Samos, which bears a typical motive of a hatched wavy zone around the neck.22 A better preserved vase of the same shape in the same sanctuary is decorated with two horses feeding at the manger.23 Apart from the iconography, which is known from the workshop of Cesnola Painter, the technological traits of that vase also confirm its Euboian provenance.24 If we take for granted that these two ritual vases were used in the Heraion at Samos in the same way as they were in Eretria, i.e., for libations, we can assume that they were transferred there and used by Euboians.

  • 25 Murray, 1994.
  • 26 Gisler, 1983; Gisler, 1993-1994.
  • 27 Verdan, 2001, p. 86, pl. 28.2.
  • 28 Cook, 1953, p. 34-40.

12The krater was used for mixing wine with water since the Mycenaean period, and thus served a ceremonial purpose in connection with the Greek symposion, itself begun in the Late Geometric period.25 Kraters seem to have had a ritual function during the Late Geometric period at at least two early Greek sanctuaries. Numerous fragments of monumental mixing bowls, richly decorated in a style close to that of the Cesnola Painter—which are not common finds in domestic deposits—were found in the sanctuary of Apollo Daphnephoros at Eretria.26 A more recent and spectacular find in the same sanctuary was the foot of another monumental krater, which had been placed on a base in the apse of a building orientated towards the altar of the Temple of Apollo Daphnephoros.27 Monumental kraters of Argive origin and of even greater size than their Euboian counterparts were also used and offered during the Late Geometric period at another sanctuary, which has been identified as the Agamemnoneion, next to the Akropolis at Mycenae.28

  • 29 See Verdan, 2001, p. 86, n. 7.

13The kraters from the Eretrian sanctuary have already been considered as votive offerings, dedicated perhaps by a particular, higher class of citizens, because of their iconography, their high value as personal items and their scarcity in domestic deposits.29 The same could also be said of the monumental kraters in the Agamemnoneion. The initial function of these vessels must have been, however, the mixing of wine with water in preparation of sacred feasts in the names of honoured gods or heroes.

  • 30 Sherratt, 2004, p. 182.
  • 31 Dietler, 2001, p. 69-75; Van Dyke, Alcock, 2003, p. 4.

14In the Homeric epics there is no real distinction between religious and secular feasts. Homeric heroes used to feast on the occasion of each sacrifice and offer gods sacrifices every time they feasted.30 It is widely accepted that feasting has always been a ritual activity.31 There is at least one instance in the Homeric epics, however, of a feast in a sanctuary, namely in the sacred grove of Apollo (Homer, Odyssey 20.275-280). This Homeric scene demonstrates a usual practice in the Greek sanctuaries, at least from the Late Geometric period onwards. Archaeological data shows explicitly that feasting was part of ritual in sanctuaries, but not necessarily that it resulted from sacrifice.

  • 32 Brommer, 1942, p. 359.

15Direct archaeological correlates of the Homeric tradition are the finds from the sanctuaries of Eretria and Mycenae. The votive ceramics from those sanctuaries offer evidence that sacred feasts took place during the Early Iron Age in Greek sanctuaries. Especially significant are the monumental and normal sized kraters, which can barely have had another function than that of mixing the wine with water. The Homeric krater is a distinctive vessel, usually made of a precious metal, so that it could serve as a valuable present, while its primary function was the preparation of drinks for the feast.32 There should be little doubt that the ceramic counterpart of the Homeric metal krater is the geometric vase that is conventionally called by the same name.

  • 33 Coldstream, 2003, p. 368-69; contra: Coldstream, 2011.
  • 34 Coldstream, 2003, p. 152. A monumental krater was deposited in the Protogeomeric apsidal building o (...)

16The most unusual feature of the kraters from Geometric sanctuaries is their impressive size, which both suggests the status of their donors and alludes to elaborate ceremonies organised by and for the local elite. The manufacture of these well made, richly decorated fine wares was extremely labour intensive and probably involved one or more highly skilled persons. Not everyone in Late Geometric Greece could afford such vases and this was part of the significance of the symbolic act of their donation. They are of course reminiscent of the monumental kraters used as grave markers on some Athenian tombs, which have been attributed to the local aristocracy.33 Others recall monumental Geometric burial vessels in Argos, as well as kraters of the same scale placed in distinctive Protogeometric tombs on Euboia.34

17The krater was a basic piece of equipment for feasting and, as such, received a special symbolic meaning when used as burial gift in a tomb or as a votive offering in a sanctuary. Consequently, monumental kraters alluded not only to ritual but also to the status of the deceased or donor. It is beyond any doubt that monumental kraters were used during the Early Iron Age and especially in the Late Geometric period for special ritual purposes in sanctuaries. As already noted, this is well attested by the numerous monumental and normal sized kraters that were used in Eretrian and Mycenaean sanctuaries and proven by the careful placement of the krater in the apse of the building in the Apollo Daphnephoros Sanctuary at Eretria. The special treatment that this vase received was definitely not incidental; nor was it incidental that this vase shape was that chosen to face the altar of the Temple of Apollo Daphnephoros.

  • 35 For the later periods see also Scheibler, 1995, p. 48-58.
  • 36 Schauer, 2001, p. 156.

18The evidence from Eretria and Mycenae shows, moreover, that from the Geometric period onwards, particular vase shapes were associated with the cults of particular deities.35 This is also well attested by the finds from other sanctuaries. In the earlier phase of the sanctuary of Artemis at Lousoi in Arkadia, for example, local vases of a particular stamnos-pyxis shape prevailed among other votive offerings.36

2. 2. Votive pots and ritual dining ceramics in Archaic period

  • 37 See, for example Tiverios, 2009, 388-89, fig. 5, with bibliography (domestic deposits at Karambourn (...)
  • 38 Tiverios, 2008, p. 40-41.

19Beginning in the Early Archaic period, there was a significant change in the ceramic consumption in Greek sanctuaries. In contrast to the paucity of imported pottery of the Geometric period, there was now a real flow of imports, mostly originating from Corinth, toward the sanctuaries of almost every region of Greece. In the North and in some parts of Central Greece, East Greek ceramic wares were also popular.37 The consumption of ceramic products from Attika began only in the Late Archaic period and gradually replaced Corinthian imports. The Archaic sanctuary of Sane, an Early Iron Age and Archaic settlement on the west coast of Pallene on Chalkidike, examplifies this point (figure 1).38

  • 39 Vokotopoulou, 1993; see also Tiverios, 1989.
  • 40 The author has recently started working on the publication of the archaeological material from the (...)
  • 41 Gimatzidis, 2010, 214-15, fig. 57.

20The Sane Sanctuary, uncovered in the 1970s when marine works began during the construction of a big tourist resort in Stavronikita Bay,39 was perhaps dedicated to Artemis, founded at the end of the eighth century and operated for more than two centuries.40 In its earlier Archaic phase, small Corinthian vessels were among the most common offerings, as were figurines, epinetra, metal tools, weapons, jewellery and knucklebones. Corinthian alabastra and aryballoi were offered in almost every Greek region during the Early Archaic period (figure 2). At this time, people also imported delicate Protocorinthian pouring vessels, and both large and small sizes, which they offered and burnt on pyres after their use for libations at Sane (figure 3). Large or medium sized, closed East Greek vessels, mostly jugs in the Wild Goat Style (7th century), were also popular imports for libations (figure 4). Drinking sets consisted mainly of numerous East Greek drinking bowls (figure 6) and very large mixing vessels, either East Greek imports or local imitations of 7th-century East Greek wares. One gets the impression that people in the Sane sanctuary used deliberately imported vases as exotica and did not favour local Macedonian pouring or drinking vases, such as the so-called egg-shell, monochrome or linear decorated wares, which were consumed in the thousands across north Greek Archaic settlements.41

  • 42 Callipolitis-Feytmans, 1962; Risser, 2001, p. 88-96 and 131-33.

21The impression that people favoured imported pottery for their ritual praxis in Sane is strengthened by the use of numerous other Corinthian vessels of votive character, such as pyxides and some shapes rarely exported from Corinth, such as the kanoun and the plate (figure 7).42 East Greek stemmed dishes were common finds among imported vases in north Greek domestic deposits (figure 5). They may also have had ritual functions in sanctuaries, for example as offering trays.

22The largest category of imported pottery at Sane, as at many other contemporary Greek sanctuaries was, however, Corinthian miniature vases. The practice of offering miniature vessels in Greek sanctuaries is totally new in the Archaic period. Their introduction as votive offerings was the most significant change in the material culture of Early Greek sanctuaries and for that reason it would be interesting to explore their origin and function.

  • 43 See for example the dinos of the Painter of Acropolis 606 from the Acropolis of Athens (Beazley, 19 (...)
  • 44 Sherratt, 2004, p. 192-94.
  • 45 These flat handmade bowls were very common in the Northwest Aegean throughout the Early Iron Age an (...)
  • 46 Sherratt, 2004, p. 184.

23Evidence for feasting in the Sane sanctuary as in many other contemporary Archaic sanctuaries, with similar material culture, consists of numerous kraters, cups and jugs as well as some cooking vessels. With few exceptions43 the mixing bowls from the Greek Archaic sanctuaries are neither of the monumental size of their Geometric predecessors, nor are they found in the same numbers, at least at Sane, as in the Geometric sanctuaries. The relative paucity of cooking jars suitable for boiling—perhaps the result of poor sampling of ceramics in old excavations—could also be due to the fact that meat was grilled or roasted after the sacrifice with the use of spits and other metal equipment and not cooked in boiling water according to the Homeric dining tradition.44 In many Archaic sanctuaries, however, large coarse handmade bowls were perhaps suitable for the baking of bread.45 This is not peculiar, since bread was one of the three basic elements of the Homeric dinner (meat, bread, wine).46

2. 3. Pottery miniaturisation in the early Greek sanctuaries

  • 47 See for example Pendlebury, Pendlebury, 1937-1938, p. 97-98, pl. 33.2 (Karphi); Pendlebury et al., (...)
  • 48 See for example Kübler, 1954, 212-13 pl. 15; Burr, 1933, p. 552-54, figs. 10-11 (Athens; Early Geom (...)
  • 49 Coldstream, 2003, p. 332 (with bibliography).
  • 50 Voyatzis, 2004, p. 190-91.
  • 51 Voyatzis, 2004, p. 188-90.

24Miniature vases had a long history in the Aegean prior to the Archaic period. Their use as votives is well attested in Cretan peak sanctuaries from the Middle Minoan period.47 In the Early Iron Age, however, they used to be deposited as burial gifts in child tombs.48 It seems that they were not used as votives after the end of the Late Bronze Age, however, as they rarely appear in Geometric sanctuaries. Recent excavations in the sanctuary of Athena Alea at Tegea provide stratigraphic evidence for the origin of this practice, which was questioned by Coldstream some decades ago.49 A well defined Late Geometric layer at this site yielded some of the earliest miniature votive vessels in shapes that became fashionable in the Greek sanctuaries from the Early Archaic period.50 The few examples found in a pit with Protogeometric and Early to Late Geometric pottery at the site of the Temple of Athena Alea cannot, however, support an earlier date for votive miniature vases.51

  • 52 Huber, 2003, p. 53-58 and 116-20, pls. 79-80.

25We have already seen that the numerous small hydriai in Geometric layers of the so-called North Sacrificial Area at Eretria could not have been anything else but votive offerings deposited around the altar after their use, perhaps for libations. In the next layer of the same Eretrian sanctuary, which is Early Archaic, small hydriai were replaced with miniature ones, which were found in the thousands. These vases could not have functioned as containers for liquids, on account of their small size, and therefore could not have been used for libations, as were their Geometric predecessors. Rather they would have been offered as such to the goddess.52 The stratified evidence from the so-called North Sacrificial Area in Eretria shows for the first time, I think, the process of miniaturisation of pottery in Greek sanctuaries.

  • 53 Cook, 1953, p. 40, figs. 14-15.
  • 54 Droop, 1929, p. 70.
  • 55 Droop, 1929, p. 106-107, fig. 82.b-d.
  • 56 Schauer, 2001, p. 155-56.

26Although there is no real stratigraphy in the Agamemnoneion of Mycenae, typological analysis of the finds from this sanctuary supports the evidence from Eretria. At this site people offered monumental kraters during the later phases of the Late Geometric period and continued to do so for some time in the earlier phases of the Archaic period. In the Late Archaic period they also started offering miniature kraters, which were more or less exact copies of their monumental or normal sized counterparts.53 The same practice is observed in the sanctuary of Artemis Orthia at Sparta, where the first miniature votive vases appeared in Lakonian Phase I, that is, at the beginning of the Archaic Period.54 One of the most common miniature shapes, according to John Droop’s brief report, was an exact miniature copy of the lakaina, which was one of the most characteristic and common normal sized shapes among Lakonian drinking vessels.55 In the Early Archaic phases at the Sanctuary of Artemis at Lousoi, moreover, in addition to normal sized pyxides with functioning bodies and lids, people began to offer similar pyxides that were, however, no longer functional on account of the fact that the lid could no longer be removed from the body.56 At Sane, next to the Corinthian and Attic normal sized kotylai, plates, kana, exaleiptra and pyxides found in the sanctuary’s votive deposits, archaeologists found miniature versions of the same shapes, some of which were imported from Corinth while others were locally made (figure 7).

  • 57 See for example Kahil, 1964, p. 55-56; Travlos, 1988, p. 55-57 and 77, figs. 85-86; Palaiokrassa, 1 (...)

27In all of these sanctuaries, in fact, people offered a wide range of miniature vase shapes. In each case, however, it seems that a special shape from the Geometric period was subsequently used in miniature form. In the so-called North Sacrificial Area at Eretria the special shape was the hydria; in the sanctuary of Apollo Daphnephoros at Eretria and the Agamemnoneion at Mycenae it was the krater; and at Lousoi it was the pyxis. The association of a miniature or small vase shape with a particular cult is also attested by ceramic material at many other Greek sanctuaries.57

  • 58 Risser, 2001, p. 68-70.
  • 59 See for example Kleibrink et al., 2004 (Timpone della Motta, Calabria); Boardman, Hayes, 1973, p. 9 (...)
  • 60 Risser, 2001, p. 175-77.

28Some of the most common miniature vases offered in Archaic sanctuaries and in cemeteries across the Greek world were kotylai, many of which came from Corinth.58 Pilgrims at the Sane sanctuary offered kotylai in the thousands alongside miniature vessels such as the strap-handled bowl, the krater, the amphora, the kanoun, the pyxis, the plate, the kalathiskos, the narrow bowl with or without handles and the exaleiptron. While many of these vessels were represented by a single example in the votive deposits (figure 8), the few types of Corinthian miniature kotylai—very simple linear- and bichrome-decorated cups—were also very common across the sites of the Aegean, Italy and North Africa.59 It seems therefore that there was a real industry at Corinth in the production of vast quantities of non-functional, conventionalising pottery to fulfil the votive and funerary demands all over the Greek world.60 Although local production could satisfy in many cases the needs of the pilgrims for miniature votive offerings, as at Sane, people nevertheless insisted on importing votive artefacts from Corinth, perhaps due to the elaborate and fancy colours of the Corinthian products or because these used to be imported with another commodity produced only in Corinth that could have accompanied the dedication of miniature vessels to the sanctuaries.

29Archaeological evidence illustrates that a few decades prior to the monumentalisation of Greek sanctuary architecture, i.e. in the beginning of the Archaic period, there was clearly a process of miniaturisation and defunctionalisation of the votive pots in the Greek sanctuaries, followed by an enormous increase of their numbers, which led perhaps to the development of an industry specialised in such pottery in the Northeast Peloponnese.

3. Conclusions

  • 61 Stahl, 2003, p. 152-175.

30At the turn of the eighth century, significant changes took place in the Greek sanctuaries that were not irrelevant to some general trends taking place in the Greek world.61 At this time—during the Late Geometric period—pilgrims consumed local pottery in most of the well known Greek sanctuaries, while imported pottery for ritual or other purposes was a rare phenomenon. The dedication of numerous mixing bowls, occasionally monumental versions of them, in some sacred places evidences the organisation of drinking feasts with some ritual character. The monumental size of some of these kraters and their elaborate decoration alludes to the aristocratic origin of the persons who offered them after the feast. Without excluding the possibility of the presence of foreign people-Greek and non-Greek-in some of the most well known early Greek sanctuaries, it seems more probable that the majority of metal and other imported offerings, and especially exotica, should have been offered by the local aristocracy or the elite of neighbouring regions, who acquired them by purchase, gift exchange, warfare or plunder.

  • 62 For the time being, it is not clear whether some of these miniature vases—i.e. the larger miniature (...)

31Since the very beginning of the Archaic period, large quantities of pottery were imported into the sanctuaries initially from Corinth and East Greece and later from Attika, exactly in the same way as in some of the contemporary settlements and cemeteries. At the same time precious votive offerings, for example, in metal, gold and ivory, from other parts of Greece or from regions outside the Aegean continued to flow into the sacred places, perhaps in even greater quantities. The bigger change in the history of the early Greek sanctuaries was, however, the displacement, in the early seventh century, of the normal or monumental sized vessels that had been ritually used and offered by pilgrims in the Later Geometric period by a much greater quantity of miniature, non-functional vases.62

  • 63 This statement does not intend, however, to challenge the possible widespread of the influence of t (...)

32Analysis of the archaeological data from the most famous Greek sanctuaries does not offer proof of their allegedly pan-Hellenic or international character during their earlier phases. This is the outcome of the discussion over the origin of the precious, metal ex votos, which has led to a dead end, as well as the origin of the very scarce ritual pottery that was imported into some of the most famous sanctuaries from other regions of Greece. This reputation was apparently an invention of later Greek writers. Perhaps it resulted from an effort of the priests to construct a respectable legacy for their institutions on which to build their authority. The change in quality and quantity of the pottery used in the Greek sanctuaries does not mean that some became cosmopolitan in the early seventh century, since the same wares were also widely distributed and consumed in contemporary settlements and cemeteries.63

  • 64 Among the Archaic miniature vases only one shape - the handmade, hemispherical bowl with painted li (...)

33The evidence at our disposal rather indicates a socio-political change in the function of the Greek sanctuaries in the Archaic period. The key to comprehending this change is the miniaturisation of the pottery. If we assume that the precious non-ceramic votive offerings and the few monumental or normal sized ritual vessels in some of the Late Geometric sanctuaries were offered by citizens of a higher status in the local social hierarchy, then we have to think that the miniaturisation and defunctionalisation of ceramic offerings from the Early Archaic period indicates an increase and a quality change of the clientele of the sanctuaries. Miniature vases were locally produced or imported in thousands from the Northeast Peloponnese in order to satisfy a greater demand for votives.64 The abundant miniature pottery reflects a more massive participation, from the Early Archaic Period, in religious activities, by a growing clientele from a wide range of social groups.

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Annexe

Figure 1. Greece, map showing sites mentioned in the text.

Figure 1. Greece, map showing sites mentioned in the text.

Figure 2. Archaic Protocorinthian and Corinthian aryballoi and alabastra from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:2).

Figure 2. Archaic Protocorinthian and Corinthian aryballoi and alabastra from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:2).

Figure 3. Protocorinthian/Corinthian jugs from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:3).

Figure 3. Protocorinthian/Corinthian jugs from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:3).

Figure 4. Fragments of archaic East Greek jugs from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:2).

Figure 4. Fragments of archaic East Greek jugs from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:2).

Figure 5. Fragments of archaic East Greek stemmed dishes from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:2).

Figure 5. Fragments of archaic East Greek stemmed dishes from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:2).

Figure 6. Fragments of archaic East Greek cups und “local” imitations from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:2).

Figure 6. Fragments of archaic East Greek cups und “local” imitations from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:2).

Figure 7. Table with normal size vases and their miniature counterparts from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:4).

Figure 7. Table with normal size vases and their miniature counterparts from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:4).

Figure 8. Miniature vase shapes represented in the votive deposits of the archaic sanctuary of Sane: kotyle, strap-handled bowl, crater, plate, kanoun, bowl, amphora, kalathiskos, exaleiptron, pyxis (scale 1:2).

Figure 8. Miniature vase shapes represented in the votive deposits of the archaic sanctuary of Sane: kotyle, strap-handled bowl, crater, plate, kanoun, bowl, amphora, kalathiskos, exaleiptron, pyxis (scale 1:2).
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Notes

1 Morgan, 2007, p. 30-35 and 137-46.

2 See Mulliez, 2005; Niemeier, 2005.

3 See for example Kalapodi: Jacob-Felsch, 1996 and Felsch, 2007.

4 See De Polignac, 1994, p. 8-18.

5 Coldstream, 2003, p. 318-20, fig. 101.

6 For the discussion of “schwarze Schicht” (black layer) and its pottery in the sanctuary of Olympia see Kyrieleis, 2006, p. 27-55; Eder, 2006, p. 193 f.; Kyrieleis, 2002; Eder, 2001; for the pre-archaic occupation strata in the site of the sanctuary of Delphi see Rolley, 2002; Luce, 2008; see also Morgan, 2002 (Isthmia); Voyatzis, 2004, p. 188-91 (Tegea); for a list of other sites see Coldstream, 2003, p. 329.

7 Gimatzidis, 2011.

8 Cf. Papadopoulos, 1997.

9 See Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1985.

10 Parker, 1997, p. 150.

11 Forrest, 1957, p. 165.

12 See for example Heurtley, Robertson, 1948; Benton, 1953 (Aetos).

13 See, for example, Morgan, 2007, p. 61-105.

14 Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1985, p. 230-31.

15 See Huber, 2003, p. 69-104.

16 Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1985, p. 221 and 231; cf. De Polignac, 2001, p. 6-7; for the non-Greek ex votos on Euboia see Huber, 2003, p. 169-74.

17 Cf. Antonaccio, 2007, p. 278-79.

18 Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1985, p. 235; cf. Antonaccio, 2007, p. 277-78.

19 For a recent discussion on this issue, see Antonaccio, 2007, p. 273-85 (with bibliography).

20 See for example Eder, 2006 (Olympia); Eilmann, 1933; Walter, 1968 (Samos); Dunbabin, 1962 (Perachora).

21 Huber, 2003, p. 48-53 and 117.

22 Huber, 2003, p. 52, n. 55.

23 Eilmann, 1933, p. 128, beil. 39.1.

24 Coldstream, 1971, p. 10. The fragment of the Euboean hydria is exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Samos. The published sherd was joined, sometime after its initial publication, to a new, unpublished, equally large fragment.

25 Murray, 1994.

26 Gisler, 1983; Gisler, 1993-1994.

27 Verdan, 2001, p. 86, pl. 28.2.

28 Cook, 1953, p. 34-40.

29 See Verdan, 2001, p. 86, n. 7.

30 Sherratt, 2004, p. 182.

31 Dietler, 2001, p. 69-75; Van Dyke, Alcock, 2003, p. 4.

32 Brommer, 1942, p. 359.

33 Coldstream, 2003, p. 368-69; contra: Coldstream, 2011.

34 Coldstream, 2003, p. 152. A monumental krater was deposited in the Protogeomeric apsidal building on the Toumba cemetery at Lefkandi, beside the burial shafts (Catling, Lemos, 1990, p. 25, pls. 17-18 and 54-56). See also two monumental kraters that accompanied a Euboian warrior in his tomb, also on the Toumba cemetery at Lefkandi, together with many other rich burial gifts (Popham, Lemos, 1995, 155-56, fig. 11).

35 For the later periods see also Scheibler, 1995, p. 48-58.

36 Schauer, 2001, p. 156.

37 See, for example Tiverios, 2009, 388-89, fig. 5, with bibliography (domestic deposits at Karambournaki); Ghali-Kahil, 1960, p. 17-22, pl. 1-3, 24-30 (Thasos). Large quantities of East Greek pottery were imported to the sanctuaries of Aegina: Walter-Karydi, 1982.

38 Tiverios, 2008, p. 40-41.

39 Vokotopoulou, 1993; see also Tiverios, 1989.

40 The author has recently started working on the publication of the archaeological material from the rescue excavations of the seventies and eighties at this site.

41 Gimatzidis, 2010, 214-15, fig. 57.

42 Callipolitis-Feytmans, 1962; Risser, 2001, p. 88-96 and 131-33.

43 See for example the dinos of the Painter of Acropolis 606 from the Acropolis of Athens (Beazley, 1986, p. 35-36, pls. 30.5 and 31.1-2).

44 Sherratt, 2004, p. 192-94.

45 These flat handmade bowls were very common in the Northwest Aegean throughout the Early Iron Age and the Archaic Period (Hochstetter, 1984, p. 164-168; Gimatzidis, 2010, p. 70 Beil. 18,d).

46 Sherratt, 2004, p. 184.

47 See for example Pendlebury, Pendlebury, 1937-1938, p. 97-98, pl. 33.2 (Karphi); Pendlebury et al., 1935-1936, p. 74-76, 81-82, 112 f., fig. 17; p. 24, 640-45, pl. 10.644-50 (Trapeza).

48 See for example Kübler, 1954, 212-13 pl. 15; Burr, 1933, p. 552-54, figs. 10-11 (Athens; Early Geometric I); Bérard, 1970, p. 33-34, pls. 15, 61-66 (Eretria; Late Geometric).

49 Coldstream, 2003, p. 332 (with bibliography).

50 Voyatzis, 2004, p. 190-91.

51 Voyatzis, 2004, p. 188-90.

52 Huber, 2003, p. 53-58 and 116-20, pls. 79-80.

53 Cook, 1953, p. 40, figs. 14-15.

54 Droop, 1929, p. 70.

55 Droop, 1929, p. 106-107, fig. 82.b-d.

56 Schauer, 2001, p. 155-56.

57 See for example Kahil, 1964, p. 55-56; Travlos, 1988, p. 55-57 and 77, figs. 85-86; Palaiokrassa, 1991, 71 and 74-82, pl. 37-44, with bibliography (krateriskoi from the sanctuaries of Artemis in Attika); Caskey, Amandry, 1952, p. 202-203 and 211-12 (miniature hydriai and jugs in the Argive Heraion); Kokkou-Vyridi, 1999, p. 94-97, pl. 41-43 (miniature hydriai in pyre B at the Telesterion of Eleusis); Stroud, 1965, p. 15-16 (kalathoi in the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore on Akrocorinth); Biers, 1971, p. 399-400 and 408 (two-handled cups in a shrine on the akropolis of Phlius); Bonias, 1998, p. 55-62, pls. 25, 35-49, with bibliography (lakainai in the sanctuaries of Lakonia); Faklaris, 1990, p. 177, pl. 87δ (miniature aryballoi were perhaps the most popular ceramic votives in the sanctuary of Apollo Tyritas in Kynouria); Lioutas, 2001, p. 190, figs. 4 and 5 (small jugs in a sanctuary of an unknown deity at the site Profitis in the Langadas basin, central Macedonia); Kleibrink et al., 2004; Handberg et al., 2009, p. 555-56 (miniature hydriai and cups on the Akropolis of Timpone della Motta, Francavilla Marittima, Calabria); cf. Mittica, 2006. For other sites see also Dunbabin, 1962, p. 290. The predominance of a shape in a votive deposit has definitely something to say about the interpretation of some religious assemblage. For the comprehension of ancient cult praxis, however, it is important to view the votive assemblages as a whole or to take into consideration interassembage comparisons: Osborne, 2004, p. 3-4.

58 Risser, 2001, p. 68-70.

59 See for example Kleibrink et al., 2004 (Timpone della Motta, Calabria); Boardman, Hayes, 1973, p. 9-10, pl. 7-8 (Tocra, Libya).

60 Risser, 2001, p. 175-77.

61 Stahl, 2003, p. 152-175.

62 For the time being, it is not clear whether some of these miniature vases—i.e. the larger miniature pyxides, kotylai, etc.—were offered for their contents or for themselves.

63 This statement does not intend, however, to challenge the possible widespread of the influence of the sanctuaries of Olympia and Delphi from the end of the eighth century to neighboring regions (see Morgan, 1990, p. 56; 146-47; 191-94).

64 Among the Archaic miniature vases only one shape - the handmade, hemispherical bowl with painted lines - is practically without any normal or monumental size counterpart. The well dated archaeological material that we have examined from numerous sites points towards a deliberate replacement of bigger votive offerings with smaller ones in the beginning of the seventh century. If the massive production of miniature votive vases does not speak for a demand for cheaper substitutes of the earlier monumental or normal-sized ones, as Ekroth believes, it certainly speaks for an increasing demand for votives (Ekroth, 2003).

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1. Greece, map showing sites mentioned in the text.
URL http://pallas.revues.org/docannexe/image/2099/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 348k
Titre Figure 2. Archaic Protocorinthian and Corinthian aryballoi and alabastra from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:2).
URL http://pallas.revues.org/docannexe/image/2099/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 132k
Titre Figure 3. Protocorinthian/Corinthian jugs from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:3).
URL http://pallas.revues.org/docannexe/image/2099/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 148k
Titre Figure 4. Fragments of archaic East Greek jugs from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:2).
URL http://pallas.revues.org/docannexe/image/2099/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 188k
Titre Figure 5. Fragments of archaic East Greek stemmed dishes from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:2).
URL http://pallas.revues.org/docannexe/image/2099/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 152k
Titre Figure 6. Fragments of archaic East Greek cups und “local” imitations from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:2).
URL http://pallas.revues.org/docannexe/image/2099/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 128k
Titre Figure 7. Table with normal size vases and their miniature counterparts from the sanctuary of Sane (scale 1:4).
URL http://pallas.revues.org/docannexe/image/2099/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 120k
Titre Figure 8. Miniature vase shapes represented in the votive deposits of the archaic sanctuary of Sane: kotyle, strap-handled bowl, crater, plate, kanoun, bowl, amphora, kalathiskos, exaleiptron, pyxis (scale 1:2).
URL http://pallas.revues.org/docannexe/image/2099/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 117k
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Référence papier

Stefanos Gimatzidis, « Feasting and offering to the Gods in early Greek sanctuaries: Monumentalisation and miniaturisation in pottery », Pallas, 86 | 2011, 75-96.

Référence électronique

Stefanos Gimatzidis, « Feasting and offering to the Gods in early Greek sanctuaries: Monumentalisation and miniaturisation in pottery », Pallas [En ligne], 86 | 2011, mis en ligne le 30 octobre 2011, consulté le 23 septembre 2017. URL : http://pallas.revues.org/2099 ; DOI : 10.4000/pallas.2099

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Auteur

Stefanos Gimatzidis

Mykenische Kommission
Österreichische Akademie des Wissenchaften
s.gimatzidis@gmail.com

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Licence Creative Commons
Pallas – Revue d'études antiques est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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