Pl Pl Pl Pl Pl

5th century early 4th century


6th century

Archaic late 5th century

Hellenistic later 6th century late 6th century third quarter 5th century end of 5th or early 4th century second quarter 4th century

In Corinth, the fine-ware table hydria never had the popularity that it enjoyed in Athens.4 Black-figured hydriai are rarities in comparison both to other shapes at home and to the numbers of hydriai made

1 The stamped amphora handles from the Sanctuary will be published by C. Koehler in Corinth XIX, forthcoming.

2 —► Williams, Hesperia 38, 1969, pp. 57-59; there are also hydriai and other shapes in the distinctive fabric.

3 See Edwards' remarks on the absence of several important shapes in Hellenistic pottery: Corinth VII, iii, pp. 19, 49-50.

4 See also the lack of amphoras, footnote 3 above.

elsewhere. There are only 16 figured Archaic hydriai in NC; in CorVP Amyx has added 8 more.5 It is not surprising, therefore, to have only one fragmentary red-ground shoulder.

Five badly preserved examples of unglazed fine-ware hydriai help to fill the lacunae. Body sherds from similar vessels can be found in the context pottery. All five examples, 374-378, show decorative motifs that are derived from metal. The first, 374, with a dipinto giving it to Demeter, is the simplest of the three Archaic examples. 375 is the most elaborate; its thumb-rest, tooling, rosettes, and other features link it to many 6th-century black-figured vases with similar additions. The details of 376 resemble those of 375 which should be close in date. Nothing can be said concerning the development of the shape, for all preserve only the rims.

The fluted handle and heraldic sphinxes at the handle base of 377 resemble details of a large group of Classical metal hydriai.6 But, as argued elsewhere,7 these details do not allow attribution of the metal vases to Corinth. The sphinxes as yet have no metal counterparts but can be interpreted as an alternative motif for the frontal siren, used on the metal vases.

If one believes that clay vessels with metal-imitative motifs always took the details directly from contemporary metal models, 378 could become proof that Corinth made metal vases throughout its history.8 But this also may be an erroneous assumption.9 The profile of the neck and rim of 378 resembles that of the hydriskoi in Group 9.

These few examples suggest that the undecorated hydria was made continuously in Corinth.10 Yet, given the numbers of dining rooms in the Sanctuary, filled with table vessels used in the meals, there is still a noticeable scarcity of the shape. Metal vessels were not extensively used; very few feet, handles, or rims survive in the debris. The plain glazed hydria, well known at Athens and other sites, is virtually non-existent in Corinth.11 It is difficult to account for this absence of what would seem to be a very necessary vessel. Ironically, the small hydriai were very popular as votive offerings in the Sanctuary (see Shape Studies, III).



500 PI. 50 second half 6th century

47 Group 3 Fig. 1, PI. 7 first quarter 5th century

501 PI. 50 first half 5th century

502 PI. 50 late 5th or early 4th century

503 PI. 50 early 4th century

138 Group 7 Fig. 1, Pl. 17 mid-4th century

5 The Anaploga Well contained no black-figured hydriai but did have one banded example, C-62-582 (An 236), and four of coarse ware, C-62-674, C-62-675, C-62-673, C-62-645 (An 289, An 305, An 313, An 315: Corinth VII, ii). The author noted, however, that only fine-ware vessels associated with wine were found in the potters' dump of the well (p. 69).

6 E. Diehl, Die Hydria, Mainz am Rhein 1964, nos. B137-172; D. von Bothmer, review of Diehl, Gnomon 87,1965, p. 603. See also 627, probably a handle attachment but conceivably an appliqué on the rim of a fine-ware hydria or similar vessel.

-+ Pemberton, Hespena 50, 1981, pp. 101-111, esp. p. 104.

8 There is also a fine unglazed horizontal handle in lot 3222 (3222:2), a Hellenistic and Roman context; a disk around the handle root is decorated with impressed eggs. For the possibility that Corinth did not produce fine metalwork in the Hellenistic period, see Pliny, NH xxxiv.6-7.

10 There are a few undecorated hydriai from other Corinthian contexts, as C-75-183, from well 1975 Williams and Fisher, Hesperia 45, 1976, p. 119, no. 31, pi. 20), a larger and much more utilitarian example than the hydriai from the Sanctuary. A few large handles, probably from similar hydriai, remain in the Sanctuary context pottery, uninventoried because so fragmentary and undatable.

11 One example came from well 1937-3, C-37-10 -+[Campbell, Hesperia 7, 1938, p. 582, no. 55, fig. 12). Note the Attic black-glazed example from the same well, C-37-981 (p. 581, no. 48, fig. 9). Very few Attic fragments were found in the Sanctuary. Large black-glazed body fragments found in many strata could derive from Corinthian black-glazed hydriai (or other closed shapes). Nevertheless, the plain and coarse-ware hydriai seem to have been more popular.


Fig. 1. Small hydriai (hydriskoi). Scale 1:2


later 4th century


Group 6

Fig. 1, PI. 13

ca. 300 b.c.


PI. 50

late 4th or early 3rd century


Group 8

PI. 18

early 3rd century


Group 8

Fig. 1, PI. 18

mid-3rd century


Group 8

PI. 18

mid-3rd century


Group 9

Fig. 1, PL 19

second half 3rd century


Group 9

Fig. 1, PL 19

second half 3rd century


Group 9

Fig. 1, PL 19

late 3rd century


PL 50

end of 3rd century (later?)


PL 50

2nd century

Excluding the cult likna and offering trays, the small hydria (ranging generally from 0.06 to 0.11 m. in height), plain or decorated, is the third most popular votive shape in the Sanctuary, following the kalathiskos and phiale.12 Many strata have these vessels as the most complete vases for dating; indeed, a few votive contexts consist almost entirely of them (see Group 9). Thus it was necessary to attempt a chronology of the shape.

Almost all the small hydriai have a high ovoid wall: the maximum diameter appears at or just below the shoulder. The important criteria for dating are the ratio of foot diameter to maximum diameter and height; the length of the neck; the type of side handles; the complexity of the rim. Generally, the more contracted the foot, the lighter the rim, the less articulated the handles, then the later the date.

500 represents the 6th century; although there are other examples from the Archaic period, the shape becomes more popular later. The foot of 500 is broad, the wall profile short, the handles are horizontal, the decoration is of conventionalizing form. 47 from Group 3 belongs to the early 5th century and has a taller wall and canted side handles. The shoulder is still well offset and nearly horizontal. The same characteristics appear in the contemporary example, 501. The end of the 5th century (or slightly later) is represented by 502, similar to the examples in the Vrysoula deposit.13 The diameter of the foot is smaller in relation to the height and maximum diameter; the wall merges more continuously with the shoulder; the rim is lighter. These changes become more pronounced in later examples.

503 seems to be early 4th century in date, with a taller neck and more elongated body; the handles turn up but not yet with the ninety-degree form of the later 4th century. 99, Group 6, shows the late 4th-century profile: narrow foot, elongated body, ninety-degree handles, narrow shoulder, long thin neck, horizontal rim with peaked lip. 505 is similar, probably slightly later. The example from Group 7, 138, is earlier than 99, as it retains the shorter neck and less swollen proportions. 504 is approximately contemporary with 138 and is the latest hydria in its lot; uncatalogued examples from the context show an earlier profile.

The hydriskoi from the 3rd-century deposit, Group 8, have varied dates. 163 is closer to 99 of Group 6; the others, 164 and 165, are later, with narrower feet and less articulation of the side handles.

Group 9 consists mostly of small hydriai and terracotta figurines. All the hydriai have essentially the same profile as the three examples in the Catalogue, 182-184: elongated profile with the maximum diameter right at the shoulder, tall thin neck, poorly made side handles, poor surface finish. Other vessels in that deposit date the group to the second half of the 3rd century, to which the hydriai also ought to be assigned. The deposit was probably laid down at or near to the end of the century. 184 is the latest and most exaggerated of the hydriai in that group.

The last examples are from Building M:16-17, 50614 and 507, made in the later Hellenistic period. There is no longer any attempt to articulate the side handles, which are now placed on the shoulder; the profile continues the exaggeration of 184. 507 is probably the later of the two: small, crude, without modeling of the foot, shoulder, or handles, and with the worst finish of all the hydriai.15

12 Hydriai became especially popular as votives in the Hellenistic period. In the Sanctuary of Demeter at Kyparissi in Kos, both-roi filled with terracotta figurines and hydriai were found. These were never published and apparently disappeared in World War II. See R. Kabus-Preisshofen, "Statuettengruppen aus dem Demeterheiligtum," Antike Plastik XV, Berlin 1975, p. 32. Two sanctuaries of Demeter in Crete, at Kydonia and Knossos, have also yielded many hydriai. See A. Zois, 'AvaaKCKpT] Bpvaoiv Kudciina, Athens 1976; Coldstream, Knossos, especially deposit F (late 3rd—early 2nd century; p. 36, nos. 31-35), deposit G (mid-late 3rd century; p. 37). See also the series from Tocra (Boardman and Hayes, Tocra II, nos. 2369, 2370, 2377, 2392, pis. 42, 43).

-+ Pemberton, Hesperia 39, 1970, p. 298, nos. 116, 117, pi. 74 (C-64-145, C-64-146).

14 The context of 506, lot 3228, appears to end in the late 3rd century, but the hydria may be the latest vessel in that context and bring the date into the early 2nd century.

15 Similar to 507 is C-28-109, found with a late kalathiskos (C-28-108), a low pyxis bowl (C-28-106; see 179-181, Group 9), two echinus bowls (C-28-104, C-28-105), the larger of which has a very high profile, and a small West Slope articulated kantharos (C-28-107). The group belongs to the early 2nd century at the earliest, according to the profile of the larger echinus bowl. For the kalathiskos, see also footnote 63 below, p. 25.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment