. 6
( 8)


• different species play differing roles in this scheme - significant is the medi-
atory role of birds.
Developed is a space of the affective: movement, actions upon another, experiences
of speed and violence, inclination, charged with meanings.
This involves an aesthetics of the body and corporeal form.
The drawing in friezes may not so much provide dimension and sketch the
contours of a pot, but follow a point (a visual ideology).
Korinthian design uses figurative decoration and a line at times 'free' or abstract
(freed from fixed shapes and explorative).
There is a general appeal to the person, self and identity:
• visual imagery articulated through the looking of the viewer;
• an aesthetics of the body (imagery and perfume);
• a visual ideology of lifestyle and masculine identity.

Characteristics of the earlier changes
Greater graphical variety.
Graphical variety occurs alongside pot bodies decorated with parallel (Geometric)
Greater variety of scene structure, pot design and types of figure.
Continued use of panels and repeated designs, as in Geometric.
Frequent use of parataxis: juxtaposition which poses questions of connection to
the viewer (articulation through looking), and which ties the scene not to a
singular meaning but to a collective assemblage.
Play on figuration, transformation and association: artifacts, birds and the floral.
There are backward references with the appearance of birds and snakes.
Geometric and floral designs are used in major positions in figure friezes -
free-standing floral designs particularly.
Triangle and petal shoulder friezes suggest the pot as flower.

Later changes (mid seventh century)
Less variability in types of pot and figure scene, people and monster types and
poses, bird types and in geometric and floral design.
More figured friezes.
Dog friezes with rosettes upon linear aryballoi predominate.
Stylised animals predominate.
Art and the Greek City State 166

Less use of parataxis; more scenes have clearly recognisable subjects.
Increased use of geometric and especially floral designs (rosettes) in minor posi-
tions (filling ornament).
There is continued and prominent use of linear (or banded) surface texture.
Check and rosette friezes - textures - increase.
Floral forms are articulated into garlands separated from figure friezes.
These display intricate and complicated interweaving an interplay of curve, petal
and texture - the new and old graphic.
Garlands appear around the shoulders of pots.
Ideology and creativity The scenes of animals, birds, people and exotic
ornament were a distinct contrast with the preceding and contemporary geomet-
rically covered pot surface. New pot shapes, the aryballos particularly, were
(re) introduced by potters. With a celebration of a workmanship of risk within
controlled limits of conventional linear banding, the potters painted free-hand
silhouette and outlined figures. Incision and polychromy both added another el-
ement to this display of dexterity and regulated precision. In figured earlier designs,
potters played on old subject matter, transforming Geometric water birds, retaining
wavy-line snakes, but expanding with elaboration, and introducing rich exotic flora.
New themes of violence, soldiering, the animal and avian worlds, monsters and
strangeness, symbols of the special, are juxtaposed in parataxis in the open linear
field. The logical connections and lines of connotation between the themes conform
with what becomes clearer later. It is a loose and hazy flow around a special world
which is antinomial to marriage, reproduction and the domestic. There is some play
with transforming designs: standing tripods through protomes, standing florals
through cabled garlands. The introduction of incision is play on figuration.
The variety of figures on earlier pots is greater than that seen later, and, even with
the predominantly linear sub-geometric aryballoi, there are few coherent classes of
decoration, other than a general one of linear surface with decorated shoulder. There
is clearly an explicit conception, size and look of the aryballos - 'the way it should be'.
This conception, or prototype, is provided with slight variations of decoration,
producing uniqueness in conformity with the generic aryballos. The figured pots,
such as the aryballos from Boston already discussed, are at the extreme of such a
I emphasise the workmanship of risk allied to an iconography which in its jux-
taposed elements sets up questions and sparks off lines of association, rather than
providing clear ideological messages (the ideological field is clearly one under con-
struction). This means that the risk, ambiguity and elaboration of form and figure are
more of an affirmation of the potter's creative self. This could be connected with the
great variation upon the modality of earlier designs.
Risk in mode of production and execution, convention transgressed; risk and
transgression too in the ideological associations traced to the lifestyle of the hero. The
analogy or ideological system may well have appealed to potters themselves, to those
who were to take the potters abroad from Korinth, and to those who acquired them
Early archaic Korinth: design and style 167

as gifts to gods or for the dead (consciously or unconsciously) and to which I will
come soon. I argue that the connection between the figured scenes, technique and
ideology is a significant one, but it cannot be claimed that the style was anything
more than a marginal play with figured scenes: there are too few pots with figured
decoration. Nor do the (relatively inexpensive) pots represent a powerful ideological
argument for an ethical order of aristocratic masculinity. The imagery is often
restrained, ambiguous, 'open' to interpretation. The pots figured according to risk
and transgression communicate a few potters (perhaps with 'commissioning' others)
experimenting with an expressive field of 'individual' identity and aspiration to a
sovereign masculinity defined through the body and its corporeality. This ambiguity
and interpretability suggests a contested ideological field, or one of certain themes
such as action, gender, personal space, transgression, identity and sovereignty,
undergoing negotiation and definition.
Nor does a model of emulation work easily, whereby Korinthian pots would be
produced for an aspiring class or social group, imitating some visual precedent
associated with a higher class. Apart from the lack of precedents, there is a clear
emergence of the visual ideology, its clarification after experiment in its earlier stages:
the imagery does not arrive ready-made. I also have argued that the imagery coordi-
nates with its ceramic medium, quick to produce and therefore cheap. The tech-
niques of production and surface decoration are an interplay of the fixed and stylised
and the fluid and heterogeneous, risk and security, temporalities of tradition and
The popularity and predominance of sub-geometric is the continuity of a certain
taste from the Geometric. The highly regulated design is of an artifact done in style,
chat is an evident intention achieved with evident success. It implies the continuity of
standards of (technical) practice, ways of producing the ceramic, whereby the
manner has an aesthetic importance of its own, independent of what is made or how
it is consumed. Its qualities are of competence, assurance and security (Pye 1980:
71). With the continuity of design from plain and linear to elaborately figured, there
is flexibility in an openness to interpretation while offered is an option of acquiring an
expression of an emergent visual ideology.
Most later pots are still linearly decorated, but there is not the variability around
decorative models as there is on earlier aryballoi. The continuity of design represen-
ted by the sub-geometric or linear pots with their textured surfaces and few accents of
detail (inviting close scrutiny) communicates security. The co-existence and implied
comparison with figured pots makes the later linear vessel doubly secure - it resists
the change, variety, heterogeneity. That many later friezes work with a restricted
graphical vocabulary, again as in the Geometric canon, further reinforces this. The
linearity continues the backward and conventional reference, aryballoi in accordance
with traditional manner of finish and decoration, but many pots make a brief and
restrained reference to the hunt and domestication through coursing hounds, and to
the exotic in the floral designs. In the figured scenes structure is much clearer, as is
communication of the ideological components of violence, excess and the mediation
of the animal in a world of aristocratic masculinity. The scenes set fewer overt
Art and the Greek City State 168

questions. Exotic flora are contained within controlled shoulder garlands. Animals
are marshalled and regulated; there is less use of incongruous juxtaposition. Both
earlier and later pots display an excess over the linear Geometric. The earlier pots
may look closer to Geometric, but later figured scenes are more regulated and
Against a background of conservative pottery design, the figured painting was an
experiment with a risked potter's hand in an ideological field of aristocratic lifestyle
and value. It is very unlikely that this was the 'culture' of the potter, yet a ceramic and
iconographic medium was adapted to express it. I suggest that the potter's own class
background is perhaps retained in the earlier play on themes and design which
questions and opens space rather than expresses with ease and clarity: consider the
figurative play with birds, heads, helmets, flowers and tripods. This is the mark of the
potter's creativity. But the ideology of the decisive hand and risk of creative self and
integrity in the fine miniature brush work and incision can be interpreted as within
the bounds of the depicted conceptual world. So too is the general interplay of
stylisation and experiment with variety and heterogeneity.
The creativity of these Korinthian pots is their heterogeneity. With a new graphic
line and imagery they are an irruption of an affective and smooth space, in contrast
with a continuation of the striated or stratified texture and canon of the Geometric.
The small perfume jars displaying this miniature figuration intimate a field of the
personal, point to a political aesthetics of the body, appeal somewhat to notions of
self and identity, This is the potential of the new material environment: decorated
surfaces which do not repel attention, but provide a different ambience in a different
way, and even attract attention to pose and answer questions. The later textures,
stylised animals scenes, security of the Geometric and realm of clear signification
{scenes with recognisable themes), are a taming of the heterogeneity and creative
Geometric tradition cannot be disassociated from the changes at the end of the
eighth century: there is an essential interplay of continuity and transgression. The
term protokorinthian is accordingly inappropriate. Furthermore the vectors of asso-
ciation that I have traced in the 'cultural assemblage' that is Korinthian design, the
social and ideological contexts mean that it makes no sense to term these pots
protokorinthian, as if somehow they escape to prefigure what is to come. This
terminology belongs to an entirely different conception of style, one which finds
development, the ripening of artistic styles, and then their fading. The term is useful
perhaps only as a label, convenient in conventional discourse, for pots produced
from late eighth to seventh centuries in Korinth, and even here it is unsatisfactory
because it has to be prefixed with sub-geometric to encompass the continuity of
geometric design which is an essential component of what the potters were doing in
Many pieces of the collage presented in this chapter have pointed away from
Korinth to imaginary and real worlds beyond - mobility and travel, sanctuaries and
cemeteries, consumption and deposition. These are the topics in the life-cycle of
Korinthian design taken up in the next two chapters.
Consumption: perfume and violence in a
Sicilian cemetery

Korinthian pots were taken to many sites abroad, in Greece and the West. A total of
1,121 pots in the sample (58 per cent) have a recorded provenance, coming from
more than ninety sites including Korinth itself. These are almost entirely cemeteries
in Greece, the Aegean and Italy (both Greek colonial and 'native' sites) and sanctua-
ries (mainly Greece and the Aegean). Sites and pot numbers are shown on Figures
4.1 and 4.2.
There are only eighty-seven pots from the production site of Korinth; more than 78
per cent of the provenanced pots (in the sample) were exported. It seems an
inescapable conclusion that the production of pottery at this time was dominated by
'external' contacts and consumption. This conclusion may be conceived in a weaker or
stronger way: either pots just happened to end up away from Korinth, or the pottery
was designed for export. The proportion exported would seem to support the latter
stronger conclusion. I will be examining these possibilities.
The importance of studying how artifacts were used, what Ruth Cowan (1987) has
called the 'consumption junction', and how they came to be deposited in the
archaeological record, seems clear in a contextual archaeology. For archaeological
example, Whitley (1987,199lb, 1994b) and Morris (1987) have presented studies of
dark age Attic (and other regional) burial practices which aim to establish a dark age
and archaic social structure read from careful delineation of the patterning found in
archaeological remains (through statistical analysis of mortuary practices and combi-
nations of grave goods). Their work has confirmed the value of exploiting contextual
associations. But this is not the place to present such a study, for a number of reasons.
I am not willing to read society off from material culture patterning, for reasons
outlined in Chapter One and associated with what I have termed the fallacy of
representation. A fortiori, the use in such studies of multivariate statistical analysis to
establish material culture patterning needs very careful qualification (Shanks
1992d). I have also indicated in Chapter One problems with the definition of
context, arguing for indeterminate association rather than a conception of the
context, for example, of an item of Geometric pottery as being solely the grave within
which it happens to be found. Account needs to be taken of the fragments and ruins
with which archaeologists work: I have been attempting to illustrate that it is indeed
debatable whether the aim should be reconstruction of ancient 'social structure',
taking the form of a conventional sociology or anthropology, arguing instead for the
development of specifically archaeological forms of interpretation and narrative (see
also Shanks 1992b, 1995a, 1995b).

15 19 Metapontum 24 Perachora 28 Rhodes ( a es
o 32 Sibaris 3T Syracuse 42 Veii
6 Athens, Peiraios Korinth and
10 Delphi
30 Mozia 25 Pithekoussai Jalysos, Vroulia) 33 Sikyon 38 Taras 43 Vetulonia
1] Elcusis
and Phaleron
26 34 39 Tarquirnia 44 Vulci
Pontecagnano 29 Samos Smyrna
Kyme 21 Mylai
V Brindisi
Amphissa 12 Ephesos 16
Populonia 30 Satricum Sounion JO Thebes
27 35 Zankle
13 Fortersa ] 7 Locri
8 Caere
Argive Heraion
4 45

31 Selinous 3b Sparta 41 Thera
18 Megara Hyblaia Nola
9 Delos
5 Argers 14 Gela

Figure 4.1 The distribution of Korinthian pottery in the first half of the seventh century BC.
earlier later

115 from sanctuaries 51 from
36 from
146 from
30 from cemeteries in
52 from
29 from Italian cemeteries in
native Greece
55 from Aegean
26 from Aegean

63 from Italian

204 from colonial cemeteries
314 from colonial cemeteries

Figure 4.2 The main types of provenance of Korinthian pottery of the seventh century BC.
Art and the Greek City State 172

The life-cycle of the Korinthian aryballos leads out through its consumption in the
hands of trader or colonist to its deposition. The assemblage that I have been
sketching can be extended with further textures and associations, but a detailed study
of the cemeteries and sanctuaries of the eighth and seventh centuries would require
another book. However, it is also clear that broader conclusions are quite in order,
for a consistent picture emerges.

Perfume and the body

I drenched myself with unguents, sweet scents
and myrrh; for there was a merchant or so at hand.
Semonides West 16

there chests
stood, in which garments as fragrant as incense lay stored.
Odyssey 21.51-2
The majority of the Korinthian pot shapes are accepted as accoutrement to drinking
wine (cups and jugs), or they are small closed shapes which contained perfume.
Aryballoi are the most numerous and conspicuous pots in terms of the figured
decoration. I have no need to further elaborate the connotations and associations of
cups and ewers: they fit easily into the ideological field I have been exploring. The
drinking of wine may be easily related to the ideologies of that institution which I
have already discussed, the symposion, the male drinking group, which comes to be
such a significant feature in later Attic iconography (Lissarague 1990). Wine came to
be a defining element of masculine society (Murray 1990). Here however, I wish to
expand upon the place of perfume, sketch out its cultural space,
Were these aryballoi really perfume containers? Ancient Korinth was famed for its
perfume, as has already been mentioned. Pliny (Natural History 13.5), writing much
later of course, remarks that Korinthian perfume had long been popular. Plutarch
(Timoleon 14.3) records Dionysios of Syracuse in exile, wandering the perfume
boutiques of Korinth. But this is circumstantial evidence. Some earlier aryballoi are
quite delicate and might therefore be supposed to be unsuitable for carrying expen-
sive oil. Payne, in contrast, commented (1931: 4) that the early aryballoi are so
delicate as to make them suitable only for perfume, However, most are very robust, as
is shown by their preservation.
Payne noted that an aryballos from Akrai in Sicily (Payne 1931: 288, Cat. No.
486) smelled of scent when opened! Here we are getting closer. Biers, Searles,
Gerhardt and Braniff have conducted analyses of residues in plastic or figure vases
produced in Korinth in the seventh and sixth centuries BC - small closed containers
Consumption: perfume and violence in a Sicilian cemetery 173

Figure 4.3 The face of the perfumed panther. An aryballos from the Argive Heraion.

which may well be suspected of carrying perfume (Biers et al. 1995; Biers et al. 1988).
Gas chromatography and mass spectometry revealed traces of camphor and various
components of fats and oils perhaps related to perfume. There was docosane, a
hydrocarbon found in plant material such as maize tassels and flowers, and the
oleoresin of an evergreen tree was detected in two vases. Several ancient authors,
including Pliny (Natural History 12.62), say such a substance was used in perfumery.
In a poster session at the 96th meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America,
Atlanta, Georgia 1994, Biers, Gerhardt and Braniff claimed, on the basis of analysis
of the organic residues of twenty-four vases, that the contained perfume was pungent
rather than floral and perhaps had insecticidal properties.
So let us assume that these vessels were perfume jars (Cook 1966: 232-3; Payne
There is quite a lot of evidence relating to perfume in the ancient world (Faure
1987). Forbes (1965: 34) lists the ingredients for twenty-eight ancient perfumes.
After Dioscorides of the first century AD, Shelmerdine (1985: 11-16) gives account
of processes of manufacture. Astringent plants were heated in oil to provide a base.
Stronger aromatics were then added and strained repeatedly. Another method, later
termed enfleurage, used animal fats to extract oils or essences (Dioscorides 2.76)
(perhaps those animal fats found in the organic residues are traces of this (Biers et al.
A Bronze Age perfume industry and traffic in the Aegean is very well attested
(Bunimovitz 1987; Shelmerdine 1985). There is considerable textual evidence for
Art and the Greek City State 174

movement of resins and perfumed oils (Knapp 1991: 32-47), Haldane (1990: 57-8)
reports remains of coriander seeds, flower parts, pomegranate skin and safflower
seeds in the Ulun Burun shipwreck (Turkey) of the late fourteenth century BC and
suggests that the coriander and pomegranate could be used in preparation of the
astringent oil base for perfume.
The associations of sweet smells in early poetry have been outlined by Lilja (1972):
gods, religious uses, eros, stored clothes, symposia, anointed corpses. The gender
contrast with Korinthian pottery is interesting: most references to perfume in ancient
poetry are in association with women, not men (ibid.: esp. 63-4). Archaic perfume
thus belongs perhaps with gender redefinitions in a field of ideological negotiation.
Lilja (ibid.; Chapter 4) could find no distinction between unguents and other
manufactured perfumed substances: ancient perfume was associated with olive oil.
Working from a wide range of ancient literary sources and in classic structuralist
manner, Detienne (1977, 1979: Chapter 2) has interpreted the cultural field of
ancient perfume as culinary; gendered, economic and physical or physiological,
relating also to animals and sex (seduction and the perfume of the panther, already
mentioned above (seep. 100)}. Perfumes were associated with spices (through their
scent, strange and exotic origins). They had culinary associations as scents and
perfumes were sometimes conceived as the food of the gods; there was a hierarchy of
foods from perfumes to the raw anthropophagy of lower orders. Perfumes were
aphrodisiacs, instilling the drying heat of passion, and thus can be associated with
conceptions of gender, because woman was conceived as hotter and more moist than
the male (in order to resist the drying effect of passion's heat). Mason has supported
these references to gender in an interpretation of Hesiod's presentation of the birth of
woman and sacrifice. Pandora, 'gift' from Zeus to men, was like fire (Mason 1987:
153-4), and the circumstances of her arrival in the world of mortality brought death,
sacrifice, the need for sexual reproduction and agriculture (previously men were
closer to divinity in the lack of these). Agriculture and sexual reproduction were
linked in mythical origin: the need to plough a furrow went with the need to sow seed
in the woman (see also DuBois 1988). Foods and basic needs changed in Hesiod's
mythical origin of sex and gender. The connections go further. Hesiod's misogyny
has woman as a combination of active and passive: lack of industry and lust for sex.
This is that contrast between the absent female in Korinthian ceramic design, and
the presence of dangerous warrior women and other monsters.
The space of perfume is thus a complex one. Although based upon olive oil, it is
treated and transformed. Thus it is outside of agriculture and associated foods,
belonging with divinity, and with a culinary code which distinguishes gods from men
from lower and animal orders. As hot aphrodisiac it is sexually charged, coming
between male and female. Perfumed oil is also of the body, and I have described how
Korinthian design can be interpreted as a locus for definitions of the body. Applied to
the skin, it cleans and enhances. Perfumed oil belongs with a concern with the body,
its appearance and personal condition.
This is all particularly appropriate to its consumption in cemeteries and sanctua-
ries: gift to gods, perfumed oil for the body of the dead. Appropriate also for voyaging
Consumption: perfume and violence in a Sicilian cemetery 175

outside the polis of agriculture and marriage, in the time and space of the marginal
adult male, the trading time outside the agricultural cycle, in search of wealth and
personal sovereignty.

Cemeteries and sanctuaries: the shape of consumption
Export to cemeteries and sanctuaries: the numbers of pots found in other contexts
(domestic, for example) are so low (for full details see Shanks 1992e: Appendix 1)
that I have added them to the regional counts for cemeteries in Figure 4.4 or the
published details of provenance and context are uncertain and I have simply ex-
cluded these pots from interpretation of consumption patterns.
I make reminder again that Korinthian pottery is an object of discourse. The
dominance of cemeteries and sanctuaries may, of course, be an illusion, the product
of research priorities and preferences of classical archaeology, product also of differ-
ential preservation. Fieldwork over the last century and a half has concentrated upon
public buildings in settlement centres, temples included, and upon the great sanctua-
ries. Cemeteries have attracted attention because they are likely to yield a good return
of artifacts for effort invested, an important consideration for artifact and museum-
centred interests. Korinthian pottery has been found at settlement sites (for example,
Megara Hyblaia: Vallet and Villard 1964. But even if Korinthian pottery was con-
sumed in domestic contexts too, this does not alter the fact that major modes of
consumption were as grave goods and as offerings in religious contexts away from
Korinth. It seems very reasonable to continue interpretation based upon this fact.

Cemeteries and sanctuaries in early archaic Greece
Snodgrass, in his analysis of the emergence of the polis (1980a: esp. 52-65), has
emphasised the importance of religious developments, the growth of communal
sanctuaries in which was invested considerable wealth, a shift of attention away from
the individual grave. Simply in terms of quantities of goods, the sanctuaries were a
major part of the archaic economy. He has also noted {ibid.: 105) a shift from
dedicated tripods to weapons, after about 675. Tripods were replaced somewhat by
oriental cauldrons but he connects the rise in dedicated weaponry with hoplites and
their possible place in the city state. As well as a focus for dedication, some sanctua-
ries were the site for games and contests. Of course, Olympia is infamous.
Morgan (1993: 26-7) has outlined what she sees as the gradual accretion of
sanctuary and religious functions to the state. The formalisation of athletics, contest
and funerals represented a taming or curtailment of elite spheres of activity. The
transfer of arms and armour from graves to sanctuaries represents an ideological
statement of the place of military force in the state.
The material ambience of some sanctuaries is markedly cosmopolitan with dedica-
tions of many local styles and forms (Snodgrass 1980a: 52-65 for a summary). This
was the case at Perachora for example (see p. 187), as also at the Samian Heraion
where has been found a diversity of goods, especially from the east, which came in
quantity after the eighth century (Kilian-Dirlmeier 1985: esp. 236-40; Strom 1992
on eastern goods in Greek sanctuaries generally).
Art and the Greek City State 176

For De Polignac {1984, 1994) sanctuaries were rallying points, locales for the
exchange of hospitality and alliances, like fairs (Gernet 1968). Games and dedication
particularly made of them theatres of ostentation (De Polignac 1994: 17), with
individual and inter-state rivalry a function of the loose clan structure I have de-
scribed above (ibid,; 13). The import of goods, including eastern exotica, is a
prominent feature of the mobility represented by sanctuaries, meeting points for
local populations and those travelling from further afield. Morgan mentions the
likelihood of itinerant craftsmen (1990: 37). Local populations, Greeks and foreig-
ners, sacred and profane goods and activities: 1 have already mentioned in Chapter
Two the marginality which may be associated with sanctuaries - they were connect-
ive locales for the meeting of different worlds. This may also be seen in the siting of
the pan-Hellenic sanctuaries (Delphi, Olympia, Isthmia and Nemea) in marginal,
inter-state areas (Morgan 1993: 31).
The sanctuaries received gifts and pillage, but not all artifacts found in the
sanctuaries are votive. There is considerable evidence for sacrifice and burning,
cooking and eating from early times onwards. At early Isthmia 'the material record
indicates that drinking and dining were the principal activities , . . emphasis seems to
have been placed on communal dining rather than on the display of wealth, and no
investment was made in building' (Morgan 1994: 113; see Gebhard and Hemans
1992: 13-15). Consensus is that communal dining was a significant part of cult
activity (Bergquist 1990; Kron 1988; Tomlinson 1980, 1990).
With respect to mediation and travel between worlds, consider also that in the
famous rich warrior grave (45) at Argos, dated to about 710 BC, were found, with the
weaponry and armour, twelve iron cooking spits and two firedogs in the shape of
warships (Courbin 1957: 370-85). Other similar firedogs are known from four
warrior graves in Crete and Cyprus (Coldstream 1977: 146). Mason, in discussing
Hesiod's cosmogony and account of the origins of sacrifice (1983), isolates a culinary
semantic field (separating mortals and immortals via operations performed upon
grain and meat, particularly in sacrificial rites) and connects it with gender and
economic distinctions. The fire, smoke and aroma of sacrifice draw perfume too into
the culinary field. Eating and cuisine may be connected with persona! identity- what
it is to be a person.

Design and provenance
When compared with the overall pattern of consumption, as represented by Figure
4.2, the consumption of figured Korinthian pots (those with figured work covering
more than one third of the surface), as represented in Figure 4.4, reveals an interest-
ing regional variation: more figured pots were going to sites in Greece and the Aegean
than to colonies and sites in Italy and the West. So, whereas 64 per cent of all earlier
production ended up in the cemeteries of Italy, only 43 per cent of figured wares went
the same way. These figures are 54 and 39 per cent for later pots, 59 and 40 per cent
for all pots. The relative proportion of figured pottery which went to the cemeteries
and sanctuaries of the mainland and Aegean is larger, by corollary: for example, 25
per cent of total production ended in sanctuaries (mostly Greece and Delos in the
Consumption: perfume and violence in a Sicilian cemetery 177

Aegean), but 38 per cent of the figured ware was for the same places. Phi-squared
values indicate that this association between figured friezes and site is not a strong
one, but it is consistent. It is possible to say that the people of the colonies of Italy,
non-Greeks too, who deposited Korinthian pots in graves, were not so inclined
towards the figured pots, were more conservative in terms of ceramic style.
Simple inspection of the figured designs from the main sites seems to indicate that
some themes or subjects may be associated particularly with one site or type of site.
Earlier pots with scenes containing people occur exclusively in Greece and the
islands, and mainly in cemeteries.
There are no earlier pots with birds from the mainland and island cemeteries.
Pots with geometric and floral ornament occur mainly in sanctuaries.
The distribution of particular motifs according to site type and region is shown in
Figures 4.5 and 4.6. The points just made are clearer in these figures. However, there
is otherwise a great deal of similarity from region to region and site type to site type.
The slight deviations from what would be expected if all the regions and site types
used the same pots, favouring the same kinds of design, are clear and as mentioned:
they are to do with the occurrence of people and the geometric or floral in the scenes.
Overall, the figures upon Korinthian pots say little about where they were consumed
or ended up. (Discussion and statistics: Shanks 1992a: 184-5 and Appendix 2,
Tables 6.6 and 6.7.)
The lack of images of people upon the pots in the colony cemeteries explains the
appearance of relative conservatism I have just noted as may perhaps the lack of birds
on pots from Greek and island cemeteries. Scenes involving people are the most
explicit rendering of the visual ideology I am interpreting. Birds are the main
figurative element of late Geometric style, and a stylistically forward-looking prefer-
ence may have wished to avoid their use. The high number for geometric or floral
ornament in the sanctuaries is almost entirely explained by a series of plates or dishes
from Perachora and Aetos.
So the conclusion seems reasonable that there are no obvious and significantly
different preferences for particular design elements, apart from a relative conserva-
tism in the west regarding earlier peopled scenes. There is indeed a remarkable
homogeneity in the distribution of figured frieze components and types.
The question of the relation between source, trader and destination is raised by an
interesting observation. Many Korinthian pots are found in the same context (grave
or votive or sanctuary deposit) as other pots which are exactly the same, and these
pots are often the only examples of that particular design. There are forty-two such
earlier pots and sixty-two later: 7 per cent and 11 per cent of earlier and later pots
with a provenance. To express this more effectively, given the immense variability of
Korinthian design described above, if two or more pots are exactly the same, there is
a one in seven to one in six chance (or higher) that they will be from exactly the same
site and context. (These figures are perhaps more significant given the poor quality of
archaeological samples and that 42 per cent of the sample pots have no reliably
recorded provenance.) This suggests that Korinthian pots were taken straight from
earlier later

18 from sanctuaries
43 from

30 From
cemeteries in
Greece and the

24 from colonial and
41 from colonial and Italian
Italian native cemeteries
native cemeteries

Figure 4.4 Figured Korinthian pots and their provenances.
Mainland Greece Colonial and Italian
and Aegean cemeteries cemeteries

Figure 4.5 Components of the earlier Korinihian friezes and their provenances.
Consumption: perfume and violence in a Sicilian cemetery

potter to consumer, and that there was little circulation or use of the pots outside
their offering as grave or sacred gift. The remarkable homogeneity just noted could
be interpreted in support of this, that the pots were acquired for their use as grave
good, votive offering or some other use in a sanctuary.

The consumption of Korinthian pottery at some particular sites
This is a general picture. But what of particular sites? There are sufficient numbers of
pots in the sample from several individual sites to enable a quantitative comparison
of different designs. The sites are Korinth itself, the sanctuaries of Perachora and
Aetos on Ithaka, the Attic cemetery at Phaleron, and cemeteries at Pithekoussai,
Syracuse (Fusco) and Kyme. These are well-enough published to enable reliable
judgement about the context of deposition. Figures 4.7 and 4.8 present the data.
The general impression of a relative conservatism in the cemeteries of Italy
regarding figured frieze pots is not apparent when all different types of pot design are
considered. For the earlier period the proportion of plain linear decoration (follow-
ing an old Geometric canon) at Perachora is high, while the new figured friezes
appear quite popular at the Korinthian colony of Syracuse. Dog-frieze pots feature
much higher in later colony cemeteries than in the sanctuaries - proportionately
twice as many. The decorated plates from Perachora and Aetos are again evident in
the proportion of pots with geometric or floral ornament. Aetos also appears both
earlier and later to have used relatively more different non-figurative designs, in
marked contrast with the other sanctuary, Perachora; this may be an effect of the
small sample size. Later sites are otherwise consistent in terms of the relative
variability of design represented by the number of non-figurative design elements.
The most distinctive observation to be made of the Korinthian pots found in these
sites is the marked contrast between Korinth and all the other sites (due to the
presence of pots with simple and all-over black surface, with little or no decoration).
I am not eager to push hard the data in the absence of major and obvious
differences and with relatively small sample sizes. There are indeed local differences
such as those I have just listed, but the overall picture is:
a preponderance in all sites of linear pots with little extra decoration;
a large increase in the number of dog-frieze pots in the colony cemeteries;
a general rise in all sites in the presence of figured pots;
a difference between the pots consumed at Korinth and those elsewhere.
These are all genera! points which have already been made about the development
and changes in the design of Korinthian pot design. There may well be a degree of
conservatism in the use of Korinthian pots in colony cemeteries: in addition to the
point made earlier, I add that dog-frieze pots are a restrained reference to the themes
I have interpreted. But overall there is a clear picture. Design and composition give
little clue to the provenance of different pots and designs; there is a marked homo-
geneity or consistency in the pattern of consumption. Apart from at Korinth itself.
It would be interesting to consider not just surface decoration but also the forms
used at different sites. However, the different types of pot have not been consistently


Figure 4.7 Types of earlier design from different sites.

Figure 4.8 Types of later design from different sites.
Art and the Greek City State 184

published. Often only representative pot shapes and designs have been recorded,
with little statistical information given about those omitted. This applies particularly
to pots decorated more simply and linearly. It therefore makes conclusion about the
character of Korinthian design according to site difficult and unreliable. This is
another reason why I am not happy with extracting too fine detail from the data just
I have so far been able to make some comments about general consumption, and
there are no new lines I might follow, no major additions to that cultural assem-
blage which is Korinthian design, though the picture has clarified. That the pro-
duction of Korinthian pottery at this time in the early state was dominated by
export, and the character of home consumption was different has been recognised
before. Johansen's synoptic work (1923) and Payne's on Korinthian pottery gen-
erally (1931) were much concerned with provenance but simply in terms of estab-
lishing for certain the source of the style of pottery known from so many sites in
Greece and the west. That some types of Korinthian pottery (geometric Thapsos
and protokorinthian) were for the 'export' trade has been argued for example by
Roebuck, (1972: 117-21) and Coldstream (1977: esp. 186-7; 242). Salmon
(1984: 110-11, n. 64) makes a distinction between pots which accompanied Ko-
rinthians for purposes which could not be served at home (such as dedication), and
a true 'export' market or purpose. His point is that the distribution of types prob-
ably depends upon the nature of the sites that have been excavated in the west and
in the Korinthia: 'the shapes which Roebuck claims were made for export were
especially suitable for dedication (Thapsos cups and protokorinthian cups and
aryballoi), whether in sanctuaries or in graves: that will explain why they are found
only rarely at home' (ibid,: n. 64). But what makes a pot 'especially suitable for
dedication'? This is the key question. And how can pots carried by Korinthians be
distinguished from pots carried by others? Is it a worthwhile distinction at all, a
valid archaeological question? I will consider this question of 'export' in Chapter
Five. Here I observe that the quantitative analysis reported above indicates that
particular types of pot do not seem to have been designed for particular places or
for particular forms of use or consumption, other than Korinth itself. But this is a
substantive rather than quantitative observation in the sense that it is not just that
most pots happened to end up abroad, but that Korinthian design included internal
reference (in what I have termed its cultural assemblage) to travel, mobility and the
mediation of marginal states and spaces.
Korinthian pots travelled to sanctuaries and cemeteries. What was the character of
these types of site and how were the pots used with other artifacts? I will now move in
and discuss some particular sites.


Phaleron The cemetery at Phaleron (Pelekides 1916; Young 1942), used
from the late eighth century, was perhaps the poorest in Attika, in terms of things
buried with the bodies. Many of the burials had no grave goods at all. For the
Consumption: perfume and violence in a Sicilian cemetery 185

eighty-seven excavated graves there were six methods of interment, with burial in
urns reserved for small children. Many of the graves cannot be dated with any
certainty, because of the lack of grave goods. Young (1942: 24) found that mainly the
child burials contained articles with chronological (therefore stylistic) significance.
Most of the offerings are small even miniature and, in comparison with large
mortuary ceramics elsewhere, of poor quality (see summary comment in Coldstream
1977: esp. 117). There is a mixture of local Attic pots and Korinthian, the former
often apparently under influence from the latter. The forms ate mixed open cups in
fine fabric, some aryballoi, oinochoai, and some pots in coarse fabric.

Pithekoussai Settlement and the associated cemetery of this Euboean estab-
lishment date from the middle of the eighth century (Buchner and Ridgway 1993;
Ridgway 1992b for bibliography). There was a variety of mortuary practices.
Children and people aged up to eighteen to twenty were buried in coffins in trenches
with grave goods; infants were given enchytrismos burial (in amphorae and other large
containers). Cremations of adults of either sex were made upon a pyre with or
without grave goods and then the remains were taken to the place of burial and
sometimes covered with a tumulus (as were some inhumations), sometimes with
further grave goods. Some adults of either sex also received inhumations in trench
graves without grave goods. Two-thirds of the excavated burials are pre-adult.
Grave goods are mainly pottery, imported and local, and personal ornaments in
metal. Rhodian pottery is of the characteristic Kreis- und Wellenband style of globular
aryballoi - the pots claimed to be of Phoenician manufacture by Coldstream (1969).
There are Levantine aryballoi and one north Syrian protome variety too (Ridgway
1992b: Fig. 12, from grave 215-4). Korinthian aryballoi are numerous. There are
local copies, such as those found at Kyme (see Neeft's groupings (1987)). There is
the same variety of imported lekythoi, including also Argive monochrome. Oinochoai
are local and Korinthian. Cups include Thapsos skyphoi and those Korinthian kotylai
with very thin walls (metal skeuomorphs?). The amphorae used in the enchytrismos
rite are mostly local coarse ware, but looking like Near Eastern types; one in ten are
Korinthian, Euboean, Chiot and Phoenician imports. Though a Euboean founda-
tion, Euboean pottery is relatively rare.
The excavations have recovered the largest collection of paste scarabs of Egyptian
type found in a Greek cemetery (Holbl 1979: Vo. 2, 177f, Nos. 740-856). The red
and green serpentine scaraboids of North Syrian or Cilician types (the Lyre-Player
group) are prominent and are also found all over the contemporary Greek world (for
analogous types in Rhodes and Cyprus see Bosticco 1957: 228). Most occur with
babies and children. Some are local imitations (Holbl 1979: Vol. 1, 215f).
The personal ornaments include bronze fibulae conforming to the Villanovan
sequence; arm bands and pendants are also closely related to Italian types. There is
some patterning to deposition of metal grave goods: silver personal ornaments tend
to appear in adult cremations; bronze appear in child inhumations. More generally,
in all this variety arrangement of graves in family plots seems evident (Ridgway
1992b: 52-4) with also clear distinction of age grades by rite. No graves exceptionally
Art and the Greek City State 186

rich in goods have been found as yet to prompt the usual archaeological interpreta-
tions of social hierarchy.
The cemetery's material culture is in marked contrast with the dump of material
excavated on the acropolis (its origins are uncertain). There aryballoi are virtually
absent while kraters are common. Thin-walled kotylai are much rarer and there is a
range of shapes for dining and drinking, though the imported pieces are drinking

Kyme Across the bay of Naples from Pithekoussai, the colony of Kyme was
settled sometime in the second half of the eighth century (Monumenti Antichi Vol. 22,
1913). The nineteenth-century excavations of the cemetery yielded a considerable
amount of pottery which can be found in many museums, but little was systemati-
cally recorded. There seems to have been a distinction between adult cremation in
stone-covered bronze cauldrons and child inhumation. One notable cauldron is of a
North Syrian type with bull's head protomes (Amandry 1956: 242-3, PI. 28), Its
profile looks similar to cauldrons at Eretria. Local pottery sometimes closely imitated
the main imported type, Korinthian. There are some oil containers from Euboea and
Rhodes. As at Pithekoussai oriental scarabs occur only in inhumation graves, pre-
sumed to be of children. Metal offerings were also made of fibulae, beads, bracelets
and rings, many of silver.
The rich graves did not contain pottery. Consider tomb 104 of the Fondo Artiaco
plot. This is a cist tomb. Cremated ashes with jewellery were placed in a silver box
inside two cauldrons which contained also purple linen cloth. The box was covered
by an Etruscan bronze shield accompanied by two bronze cauldrons one inside the
other upon a conical stand. One cauldron with lotus handles is reminiscent of a
Cypriot type from two centuries earlier. Other grave goods included horse bits,
ironmongery, bronze spearheads, a carp's-tongue sword of Italian type, two more
silver vessels, a Phoenician piriform jug, a kotyle of Korinthian shape, an oversized
electrum fibula of Villanovan style, and an Etruscan orientalising silver fibula.
Coldstream's discussion of the grave (1994: 55) is an ethnic speculation about the
relative involvement of Italians, Greeks and Phoenicians, familiar in traditional
archaeology's culture history. He pits Strom's supposition of locals being predomi-
nant (Strom 1971: 147) against Buchner's Greek colonists (Buchner 1979).

Syracuse (Fusco) In the 730s some Korinthians founded Syracuse (Hen-
cken 1958; Orsi 1893, 1895), the site taken from local Sicels. Burial was similar to
that of Korinth. Inhumation in rectangular graves, rock-cut or sarcophagi, was the
usual practice in the earliest and main colonial cemetery of Fusco. Bronze pins were
offered, necklaces, rings, fibulae, and a horse figurine has been found. There were
also bronze bowls and cauldrons. Hencken (1958) has plotted many connections or
similarities between the metalwork offerings and examples across Greece, Italy and
Western Europe. There were scarabs and other orientalia too, but not as many as at
Pithekoussai. Imported pottery was mostly Korinthian - aryballoi, cups and
oinochoai. Again there were local copies of perhaps Argive and Korinthian style.
Consumption: perfume and violence in a Sicilian cemetery 187


Perachora The development of the sanctuary of Hera Akraia across the gulf
from Korinth can be traced from the beginning of the eighth century at the latest
(Dunbabin et al. 1962; Payne 1940; Salmon 1972; Tomlinson 1977,1990, 1992).
In the eighth century there was an apsidal temple by the harbour and a 'sacred
pool' associated with dining (Tomlinson 1994: esp. 334-5). A second temple by the
seventh century is postulated, though there is no direct evidence. A rectangular
building on an upper terrace has been identified as a diningroom by Tomlinson
(1977: esp. 197) and given a seventh-century date (Tomlinson 1992: 333, after
Immerwahr 1990: 16). A polygonal terrace wall of approximately the same date
attests to site development. There was also the trace of a building near the 'sacred
Remains of the sanctuary's goods show that it was especially flourishing in the
seventh and sixth centuries and was indeed one of the major Greek sanctuaries at this
time, with finds exceeding those of Delphi. Artifacts excavated include pottery,
mainly Korinthian, koulouria (ring-shaped ceramic cakes), known also from Kerkyra
and later Solygeia in the Korinthia, jewellery (including thin sheet gold), pins,
figurines and ivory seals bearing figurative designs. There are over 900 objects in
Egyptian style, mostly scarabs. Of the eighth to seventh century bronzes 80 per cent
are of eastern origin (74 per cent Phoenician and 6 per cent from Greek Ionia)
(Kilian-Dirlmeier 1985: 215-54). There is no evidence of tripod or armour
Interesting finds were remains of ceramic models of houses or temples (Fager-
strom 19S8: 155-7; Payne 1940: 34-51, PI. 9). Others have been found at another
sanctuary closely associated with Korinthian goods, Aetos (Robertson 1948: 101-2,
PI. 45a-g). These models may represent an interest in (new?) architectural designs.
For Morgan (1994: 129-35) they symbolise trade (the sanctuaries' site and cosmo-
politan material culture), household and territory (again the site within the Korin-
thian chora), an association between the oikos and marriage links (the mediatory role
of sanctuaries) {ibid.: 133).

Aetos Out west, via the Korinthian Gulf, from around 800 BC dedications
were made on the island of Ithaka at Aetos (Benton 1953; Robertson 1948). No
temple or religious building has been confirmed and the name of any deity is
unknown. This has led Morgan (1988: 315-16) to doubt that Aetos was simply a
sanctuary, more a 'central place' with some cult functions; but it remains accepted as
such. Finds came from three terraces upon which votives seem to have been dumped.
As well as Korinthian and local pottery, there are beads, ornaments, amulets in the
form of miniature bronze vessels, scaraboid seals from Asia Minor, ivory seals and
hammered bronze horse figurines.

Genera! points about the consumption of Korinthian pottery in sanctuaries and cemeteries
I have indicated that a detailed contextual interpretation of the consumption of
Art and the Greek City State 188

Korinthian artifacts is out of the question on the grounds that it would require
another volume. It is also the case that variability of publication is a problem, as are
the poor stratigraphical contexts of the excavated sanctuaries (most material is
recovered from indiscriminate dumping). Even large samples from cemetery sites
such as Pithekoussai are clearly skewed. It is nevertheless quite possible to make
some pertinent points.
I begin with three truisms of theory.
Burial practices are more about the living than the dead; they are the social
practices of members of society.
Mortuary practices, at the junction between active living members of society and
the dead, frequently take the form of a rite of passage, or part of such a rite,
between two or more social states or conditions.
These two points are the basis of most anthropological and archaeological investiga-
tion of mortuary practices (see, for example, Huntingdon and Metcalf 1979; archae-
ological discussion in Chapman and Randsborg 1981; Shanks and Tilley 1987: esp,
42-5; see also Morris 1987).
Objects dedicated to divinity at a sanctuary, votive offerings, objects placed with
the dead are all gifts. Reference is also made to value in every case of dedication
or offering. The giver or receiver may value and desire the gift. The gift may nor
be valued by the giver - those pots given to the dead may be cheap and
worthless, but nonetheless reference is made to value if only in that the act of
giving is considered appropriate and right. This notion of the value of a sacred or
grave gift may be an abstract one of 'wealth' or 'expense': hence our common-
sense notions of 'rich' and 'poor' sites and graves. Abstract value (for example
that of a commodity) is detached from the object itself. But another sense of
value is that of the gift. Here the value of an object is that it is inalienable in the
sense that it is not separated from people and social relations, but people and
things may interpenetrate, with people implicated in the things they give, and
objects taking on the attributes of people. To give something may well be to give
a part of oneself.

I suspect that it is because of a dichotomy between these two notions (abstract
commodity object and gift implicated in the social) that much analysis of mortuary
practices in archaeology holds a premise that the mortuary domain represents
society, and often pragmatically uses grave goods as some sort of index of abstract
wealth and therefore social rank or status (for example Whitley 1991). The subtlety
of people's treatment of the dead and consequent difficulty of interpretation, anthro-
pological or archaeological (see the classic cautionary tale of Ucko 1969), is ignored
in a methodological imperative to find 'society' via a dichotomous conception of the
object or artifact (for a discussion of such mortuary analyses of Morris and Whitley in
Dark Age and Archaic Attika see Shanks 1992d). My treatment here of Korinthian
pottery and its cultural assemblage of production, travel and consumption is an
attempt to relocate artifacts in an indeterminate space (created in a particular inter-
Consumption: perfume and violence in a Sicilian cemetery

pretive encounter) which is beyond radical distinctions between commodity and gift,
the economic and social. I refer back to my discussion of the character of an artifact
(its ontology) in Chapter One.
And now to the points which emerge from considering the consumption of
Korinthian pottery in these cemeteries and sanctuaries.

There is, through the eighth and seventh centuries, (often increasing) 'wealth' and
energy invested in cemeteries and sanctuaries.
The material invested in cemeteries and sanctuaries is usually a cosmopolitan mix
of local products, artifacts from the east Greek world, some Greek places such as
Korinth, Euboea, Argos and Rhodes, and includes also goods from or references
to beyond this milieu - orientalism and the east.
This represents a reference to mobility, mediation and travel, whether of goods or
people, in relation to cemetery and sanctuary, death and divinity.
Many goods here are special or exotic in some way: imports, brought from afar.
The cauldrons recall the discussion I presented of the special character of
tripods and bowls; here they are connected directly with the body. The local
copies of imported ceramics implies that the imports were of stylistic value in
some way.
These sites of consumption can be interpreted as making persistent reference to
social, cultural and conceptual edges: the colonies are at the edges of the Greek
(next to the non-Greek world), importing also and making reference to eastern,
non-Greek articles; death is at the junction of life and death, society and nature
(hence the rites of passage); sanctuaries mediate mortality and divinity.
The person or social individual is consistently implicated in this consumption of
Korinthian pottery. Here it is important to note that the individual is not
automatically referenced in mortuary practices; there is no cross-cultural regu-
larity which has the social individual or person referred to in the treatment of the
dead. (I assume that there is no need to support this point here: consider
collective burial and see the arguments about the individual in Shanks and Tilley
1987; Chapter 3). There is the notion of the gift forming a link between giver
and receiver; most of the articles given are small, or miniature (the scrutiny of
inspection rather than public view), and pertain perhaps to the person - perfume
for massaging or anointing the body, pins, rings, amulets and (personal?) seals
for adorning the body. And the different treatment of adult and younger dead
implies a distinction between the adult full member of society and those who
have not yet become so, have not yet become a social person or individual.
There is remarkable consistency, a koine, across different sites with respect to these
listed characteristics. My presentation should be enough to establish that this is
not a function of the coarseness of the archaeological sample.

The gift and identity through self-alienation
One interpretation of the consumption of goods in these places is that external
relations and stylistic origins (the exotic goods, imports from Greece and mother-
An and the Greek City State

cities of distinctive and non-local style) are being used to construct a self-image of a
society or community as an entity in relation to some 'other'. Arafat and Morgan
(1989: 335) write of a 'Mayflower complex' wherein elite status in colonial commu-
nities was maintained by stylistic reference back to pre-colonial origins (also Morgan
1993: 20). They rightly point to long-lasting local demand and local copies of
imported items (often almost indistinguishable from Korinthian). But there is no
need to invoke differences of class or rank. I could find no immediate correlation
between pot deposition and anything which Arafat and Morgan might interpret as
representing ranked society, although in the absence of detailed quantitative analyses
and with limited data.
In these particular arenas of consumption, people are perhaps bringing themselves
to encounter the edges of their local and immediate social experience, and in so doing
this local social existence is given identity and form. In using pots from Greece, both
traditional and innovative in style, in referencing a wider international milieu with
which the community exchanges, in using these goods in confrontation with death
and divinity, the ultimate 'other', society constructs itself. In the colonies, this
self-construction of identity is in the face of other people who are non-Greek, With
death and the sacred belong those origins and exchanges which mark the beginnings
and edges of the community which is burying or making the offering. Such a process
would, of course, be particularly appropriate in situations such as new colonies or
societies undergoing change, where identity was under re-evaluation or doubt.
The relative, but slight, conservatism of the colonies regarding peopled scenes,
and later conservative preference for dog friezes may be explained by the use of goods
to construct identity. Pots which make reference to Greek stylistic origins and are less
stylistically innovatory may be more attractive in these new communities than those
which stretched stylistic taste in a way that was perceived excessive, yet the interplay
of tradition and innovation is fundamental to the significance of this style.
This son of process of cultural construction is very familiar in anthropological
accounts of how society is constituted in and through exchange. A community may
assert its own internal viability through the idea of it being positively valued by others
who come with their goods. But external relations (so important to self identity) may
be manipulated by certain groups to the detriment of others: some people may have a
monopoly on these important relations with the 'other' and thereby is established a
social hierarchy. It is not far to that other process, 'prestige-goods' economy, to
which so much reference has been made in social archaeology. Here social elites
carefully control access to foreign goods which are the means of display of status,
wealth and power: people and certain articles are reciprocally the agents of each
other's value and estimation.
But the assemblage of goods and practices in these cemeteries and sanctuaries
indicates that there is a great deal more going on. I think of the literature (from
Malinowski 1922 to Leach and Leach 1983 and Strathern 1988) surrounding one of
the classic cases of exchange network, the Kula ring in the Melanesian archipelago,
and the difficulty of explanation in simple terms. The inadequacy of separating
economic, ritual and political factors is clear and is discussed in Chapter Five. Here
Consumption: perfume and violence in a Sicilian cemetery 191

in the archaic Mediterranean exchange and relationships with an 'other' are under-
standable as processes of self-alienation (the use of exotic goods which have no
intrinsic relation with the giver as gifts to an 'other') and construction of identity.
Miller has discussed (1987: Chapter 4) the work of Munn on Walibiri iconography
and on Gawa canoes in the Kula ring to show the absolute necessity of (material)
culture for the establishment of all human relations, and to discredit the idea that
people's relationships with things (such as in technology, style and exchange) can be
separated from some prior form of social relation (such as the political or religious).
In such an understanding a Korinthian pot is not just the product of art or an article
for exchange or trade. My introduction and use of the concept of cultural assemblage
and general economy, developed and established through encounter with Korinthian
design, has affirmed these points, that these artifacts are to be understood as the
locus of a field of social practices, references and meanings.

Writing the body
Five ceramic pieces:
One and two:

A list of names, incised by a potter.
Graffiti on two sherds from the same pot. Potters' Quarter, Korinth. Earlier.
Jeffery 1990: 130, No. 1; Pl, 18; Lorber 1979: 10-11, No. 2.
A Korinthian alphabet incised above its Euboeic equivalent.
Graffiti on a conical oinochoe from a grave at Kyme. Earlier.
Jeffery 1990; 130, No, 2; Pl. 18,
Lorber 1979: 11-12, No. 5.

A pyxis from Aegina. Later, Various figures, horses and a man, with painted names.
Base marked out like a wheel with an incised name in each quarter.
Jeffery 1990: 131, No. 4, PL 18.
Lorber 1979:7-10, No. 1.
An and the Greek City Slate

Painted nonsense inscription upon the shoulder of an aryballos from Megara Hy-
blaia. Earlier.
Lorberl979: l l , N o . 3 .
Graffiti are a feature of orientalising design. Some of the earliest examples of Greek
writing, a syllabic script of Phoenician origin, appear incised or painted upon pots
(Jeffery 1990). There are names, marks of property (this belongs to so and so),
abecedaria and nonsensical inscriptions, writing for the sake of writing. Another early
use of writing is to mark graves.
I have referred to the crucial distinction between the gift and commodity, drawing
attention to the character of the unalienated artifact, not abstracted from social
relations as is the commodity form, but reflecting and shaping the identities of other
social actors involved in the life-cycle of the artifact. Some anthropologists studying
Melanesian exchange (Strathern 1988) have argued that Melanesians do not con-
ceive of objects and people as independent entities, and that both acquire their
identities from the relationships in which they are involved (for extensive archae-
ological use of this argument see Tilley 1996).
Writing marks a pot with labels of those social actors with whom it is associated.
And more. Painting or inscribing a name fixes an identity and sometimes a relation-
ship. If this is a major use of writing, the very act of writing anything (nonsense or
abecedarium) may signify the same impulse. So these early examples of writing may
be associated with a condition of objectification and not alienation, signifying social
attachment to material forms such as grave goods, dedications to divinity and
grave-markers, the unalienated artifact wrapped in redefinitions of self and identity,

A stylistic repertoire and the translation of interests
The exotic and 'other' - the movement of artifacts - contact with this realm of the
external - death and the divine - the person - identity. These features consistently
recur at the points of consumption of Korinthian artifacts. I suggest that they relate
closely to that series of references I have already interpreted within Korinthian style.
From production to iconography and style, through its transport, and to deposition
as gift to dead or divinity with other personal and transported articles, Korinthian
pottery is one of several material forms which provide a medium for the transient
present to be subsumed beneath larger and transcendent experiences. These are to
do with the personal, death, the divine, animal and bodily form, an expressive
aesthetics, the exotic and 'other worldly', and masculine sovereignty.
Modes of burial and offering, personal goods (from perfume jars to bracelets),
imports and exotics which have travelled far: this is a repertoire of style, a set of goods
and practices which can be drawn upon, which were considered appropriate for
certain social practices. The stylistic repertoire is implicated in powers and identities,
personal and social: lifestyles. This explains why the particulars of the consumption
of Korinthian do not differ widely, even given the immense distribution of these
wares. For the primacy lies not with the particular destination of a pot, so much as
with the stylistic repertoire to which it belongs and which transcends in wider
Consumption: perfume and violence in a Sicilian cemetery 193

Table 4.1. A 'family grave plot' at Pithekoussai

number body goods
gold-plated silver hair rings
adult female
199 cremation
silver-ribbed bracelet
local oinochoe
575 inhumation baby Levantine amphora
enchytrismos bronze ring
bone pendant
inhumation young boy two Lyre-Player seals
local oinochoe
inhumation baby local amphora
577 inhumation adult no grave goods

experiences. One of these experiences is of mobility or the travelling of artifacts (and,
by extension, people). I raise the possibility that the primacy lies not in destination
but in stylistic repertoire, and also the carrier or trader and the experience they
represent. This may be another source of value.
This is all to question the radical differences often drawn between domestic,
mortuary and votive uses of artifacts. Others (for example Tomlinson 1992: esp.
346, 349-50) have similarly questioned the distinction between votive pottery and
that used at sanctuaries, for example for dining, albeit in a sacred context. Patterns of
distribution do not differ widely; in that these apparently separate fields are drawn
together in the cultural work, we might write of the translation of interests effected by
Korinthian design.
Because of the argument I have presented against the independence of the econ-
omic in interpretations of an artifact, and also because of the way Korinthian design
disperses into power, ritual and conceptual realms of death and the animal, I am
unwilling yet to write of Korinthian pottery being 'traded'. The pots clearly travelled;
they incorporate aspatial vector and principle of mobility and mediation. It is to this
that I move in Chapter Five. I can now investigate to what extent travel connects with
this cultural assemblage.
But to end let me consider Ridgway's discussion of some graves at Pithekoussai
(Ridgway 1992b: esp. Chapter 6). Under an historical metanarrative of traders and
colonisers, locals, Greeks and Phoenicians, residents and itinerants, he homes in upon
one grave (575) and its family plot (ibid.: 111f). The amphora used in this enchytrismos
burial bore three Semitic inscriptions. Ridgway connects this with the Lyre-Player seals
and Rhodian aryballoi and speculates on the possible traders, based in the east, sending
their vessel to a compatriot in Pithekoussai. Superimposed upon one of the inscrip-
tions is a roughly drawn triangle interpreted as an all-purpose Semitic symbol known all
over the Mediterranean. Ridgway interprets this as an appropriate action on the part of
a Phoenician resident reusing the amphora in a burial rite.
The 'family group' of grave 575 is listed in Table 4.1.
Art and the Greek City State 194

Ridgway's family is thus held to consist of a mother, two babies, a young boy and a
servant (the adult without grave goods). But what of the father of this archaic nuclear
family? The plot was disturbed in antiquity by two seventh-century cremations: 'their
presence has probably deprived us of a cremation burial that we would have been
able to identify as almost certainly that of an adult male of Levantine origin' (ibid.:
Ridgway infers Levantine residents from other imports and adopts a line of
argument for another family plot (graves 166 and 167 and inhumations beneath)
similar to that just described: mixed goods of imports, local imitations and local
styles, are held to represent immigrants mixing with Greeks and locals-
Style is here held to directly reflect ethnic identities. Quite simply, this is not a valid
archaeological inference (see pp. 206-7 on ethnicity). Another line of argument
which I support would consider that it does not matter whether they were Phoe-
nicians, Levantines, Greeks or locals. Instead the archaeological evidences are of a
discourse of social mobility and identity whose components are the elements of the
stylistic repertoire sketched so far, negotiated within the burial of a family member.
Particular experiences of bereavement are translated through rite and deposition
style and ornament with a constituting interest in identity and belonging. The eastern
pottery vessel appears 'unalienated' as the otherness of body, the vessel's mercantile
trade marks an appropriate reference to the investment in the movement of goods
and in a personal space of amulet seals and bodily adornment. The transitional or
mediatory state is effected in the gesture of the new mark over the three which came
with the amphora. Other nearby burials display different interpretations or workings
with the same themes. In however slight a way the links lead off into the cultural
assemblage which has so engaged me in previous chapters.

Trade and the consumption of travel

I have mapped a route through the contexts and references of Korinthian pottery,
through production and consumption, art and style (Figure 1.4) - a cultural assem-
blage of uses, meanings, lines of dispersal away from what may be conceived as the
artifact in itself. I have yet to fully consider the movement of pots and other goods
away from Korinth, the question of the mode of distribution. Such is the purpose of
this chapter: the matter of 'trade'.
The general trend in archaeological considerations of the movement of goods, a
most visible aspect of the archaeological record, has been more sophisticated anthro-
pological models of forms of exchange and distribution (from the seminal work of
Renfrew 1969,1972,1975; through Ericson and Earle 1982), in the context of those
anthropologies of regional links (world systems and prestige goods) mentioned in the
previous chapter. Nevertheless, simple descriptive accounts of 'trade' allied with a
common-sense understanding of its economic working (traders taking goods from
point of surplus to point of demand) is still evident in many conventional archaeolo-
gies and ancient histories of archaic Greece. Salmon's monograph on Korinth takes
such a line (Salmon 1984: Chapters 7-10).
The rich associations and textures of the cultural assemblage that is Korinthian
design can be interpreted as relating to social and personal identity, building new
experiences into the city state, providing a stylistic repertoire and visual ideology
which goes far beyond the conventional boundaries of the economic, hence my
references to Bataille's concept of general economy. The term 'trade' already seems
too narrow. I will build on this point, arguing that a narrow and economic definition
of trade (as simply the mechanism whereby goods reach their destinations) is
inadequate in accounting for the distribution of Korinthian wares. With respect to
anthropological modelling through archaeological sources, my work on archaic
Korinth suggests that forms of (archaeological) narrative which contrast with those
of cultural and social anthropology may be needed.

Homo economicus and homo politicus: minimalist models of archaic trade

Art and the Greek City State 196

A trend in approaches to the archaic Greek economy which has developed in the
discipline of ancient history has been a more anthropologically sophisticated under-
standing which questions the easy application to early Greece of concepts and models
of economy and trade drawn from study of more modern economic systems of
medieval Europe and after. Theoretical impetus has come from Marxian analysis and
social history, as in the work of Finley (for example 1973) , and from the anthropologi-
cally derived work of Polanyi (1957), Hasebroek (1933) and others. Many issues
crystallised in the long-runningdebate between formalist or modernising accounts of the
ancient economy and those which are described as substantivist or primitivist. Formalist
models use general and formal concepts which are not necessarily related to the
substantive field of reference, to the particular society studied. Primitivist models use
concepts which take account of the character of the particular society studied, that is
pre-modern or 'primitive'; the basic point is that there is no general category of the
'economic', but that it is embedded in wider society and varies according to society
type. I trust that it is clear that my work immediately questions a common-sense or
modernising conception of the economic context of Korinthian pottery. Therefore a
short sketch of a substantivist or primitivist model of the archaic economy (and
particularly with respect to trade) is in order here (I draw on Austin and Vidal-Naquet
1977; Finley 1973; Garnsey et al. 1983; Humphreys 1978).
The picture of the ancient economy presented in a substantivist model is of the
self-sufficiency of relatively small and cellular social and economic units (from farms
to towns), based on agriculture and depending little on inter-regional trade. High
overland transport costs meant that no region could undercut another in the produc-
tion of cheap essentials, and export was dominated by prestige or special items. With
a low status accorded to traders and craftsmen, wealth and status lying in land, and
with little investment in productive techniques or in large-scale production, the
economy was consumption- rather than production-led. Towns were therefore
centres of consumption rather than production, and with wealth and status lying in
the ownership of land, consumption followed the stylistic tastes of landed wealth and
the landed aristocracy.
The production of Korinthian pottery was almost certainly undertaken on a small
and household basis, and I have given estimates of the scale of production and
export. That design works with the tastes and ideologies of what may be termed an
'aristocratic' interest in male sovereignty, though subject to experiment and negoti-
ation, is also clear from my interpretation. I have also shown in Chapter Four the
close link between production and consumption: the notion that there is little
intervening between design and consumption in cemeteries and sanctuaries, because
mode of production and the visual ideology and significances of deposition correlate
so closely. This is to play down the independence of mediating distribution and
Snodgrass (1983) has presented a powerful argument that the scale of archaic
trade was small and cannot be characterised as commerce. He cites the following
evidence which indicates that there was no class of Greek trading ship before the late
sixth century, and that oared warships were the means of distributing goods.
Trade and the consumption of travel 197

Figure 5.1 From archaic ceramic plaques found at Penteskouphia, near Korinth.

Pictures of archaic ships carrying goods for trading are all penteconters indistin-
guishable from war galleys (for example upon the Penteskouphia plaques from
the Korinthia: (Antike Denkmaler 1887: Pl. 8.3a 1898, PI. 29.12), and ships
which are clearly merchant vessels are not found depicted until 525 BC at the
earliest (Morrison and Williams 1968).
Herodotos (1.163) has archaic Phokaians using pentekonters and not a form of
merchant ship for trading.
Miniature ships dedicated at archaic Samos were all war galleys (Kyrieleis 1980:
Related arguments for his minimalist model of archaic trade include the following.
Trade would seem not to involve an independent class of traders. The Berezan
letter (of about 500 BC) would seem to indicate trade operated by wealthy
land-owning shipholders and their dependants or agents. Bravo, in discussion of
the implications of the letter (1975, 1977), has drawn attention to the fact that
the two most common early terms for trader, emporos and phortegos, both imply
collaboration between traders and others. It can also be added that Millett
(1991) traces early Greek credit, which could have been central to the logistics
of early trading ventures, to a devolved form of reciprocal gift-giving between
aristocratic patrons and their clients.
When Herodotos (4.152) has the whole crew of the trading ship of Kolaios of
Samos making a tithe dedication, cooperative enterprise and shared profits are
indicated, not management and control by a merchant.
Hesiod (Works and Days 618-94) generally has trade as a complement to agricul-
ture: a landowner setting off to make some profit from his surplus.
Art and the Greek City State

Snodgrass gives quantitative estimates of the scale of archaic trade in stone and
metals, the two heavy materials shipped in any quantity. It was relatively slight.
Metalworking sites (such as at Pithekoussai, Motya and Bassai) were consistent with
industries dedicated to local needs; the operation of commerce in the field of metals
would seem to have been cut to the minimum by the location of a network of
foundries serving local needs. 'As in so many aspects of the archaic economy, the
practice . . . was to support oneself as far as was feasible from internal resources, of
labour if not of materials' (Snodgrass 1983: 25). He argues that most artifacts would
have travelled with their owners; for example, many exotic imports appear as dedica-
tions in sanctuaries - brought with visitors. As regards marble (which, given the
sources and quarries, must have travelled) and statuary, Snodgrass reckons that the
stone would have been purchased at the quarry by the sculptor, and would have
travelled as their property;'there is no , . . marble trade' (ibid.; 25). He summarises:

If 'trade' is defined in the narrow sense of the purchase and movement of
goods without the knowledge or the identification of a further purchaser, then
it seems that a substantial component of archaic Greek maritime shipments
could not be classified as trade.
(ibid.: 26)

Snodgrass draws substantially on the model of the ancient Greek economy of
Humphreys (1978) to which I refer in the heading for this section (followed also by
Rihll 1993). In Marxian and Weberian tradition she has the economic institutions
and functions of the city state dependent upon the political realm: hence we might
look as much to a homo politicus as well as a homo economicus in understanding the
early polis. The importance of war and the war-band is proposed as Humphreys
traces a complicated interaction between travel and guest-friendships of nobles, war,
raiding, piracy and the development of trade. On analogy with the medieval war-
machine (Duby 1973) trade is to be studied in the context of other forms of the
transfer of goods such as war, raiding, hospitality to strangers and gift-exchange.
These are matters of lifestyle (of aristocracy) within which particular demands and
desires are generated. Lifestyle and wealth depended upon ownership of land,
establishment of the oikos. And war and exchange involved more than the transfer of
goods; they were concerned with the mobility of manpower, soldiers and others
travelling abroad, and slaves acquired and imported. Humphreys (1978: 161-2)
places great emphasis upon slavery, an institution assumed by both Homer and
Hesiod. With land owned inalienably and transmitted by inheritance, there were
inevitably imbalances in the relationship between land and manpower, with some
oikoi having too little land for its members, some oikoi too little manpower to work
their land. Inheritance is important here also as a source of friction and threat to the
oikos: fathers might well quarrel with sons over the division of land and the time this
took place. The interest of inheriting sons was to persuade the old man to give up and
hand over land which could become the basis of their own oikos, after marriage too.
Hesiod {Works and Days 331-2) has quarrels between fathers and sons as wicked
Trade and the consumption of travel 199

crime against the family, and he advises men not to marry before the age of thirty
(ibid.: 695-6). So the availability of labour becomes crucial;
Wherever imported slaves, bought or captured, are used to supply the extra
labour needed on land which the owning family cannot work with its own
manpower, a potential outlet for the surplus labour produced by other
families is blocked. Given the scarcity of agricultural land in Greece, the use
of slaves in farming meant, at least potentially, the need to drain surplus free
labour off the land into emigration or alternative types of occupation.
(Humphreys 1978: 162)
These other occupations were war, seafaring, raiding, colonisation, attendance
perhaps at the sanctuary games - opportunities to establish personal alliances,
display prowess, dispose of and acquire goods. Fighting, travel and seafaring were
the main political outlet for young men who had not yet received their inheritance or
who may have had little or no land to inherit. Travelling and joining a colony was also
a means of acquiring land which had become unavailable at home. Illegitimate and
therefore landless Archilochos led the life of seafarer and mercenary before settling as
hoplite and landowner in the colony of Thasos.
Their separation from the oikos and from marriage, and their association with
younger men and others who were not full land-owners and heads of households,
makes war and travel marginal and ambiguous. They are also complements to
agriculture, rather than alternatives. They fit into the slack agricultural seasons,
would belong to a space in the life-cycle of the male member of a city state between
adolescence and land-ownership. Travel and war were means of acquiring mobile
wealth and slaves to provide status when a land-owner, perhaps even wealth to
purchase land for an oikos. These activities are thus also a means of social mobility -
providing opportunities for the enrichment of lifestyle, for acquiring the expensive
equipment of a hoplite, for acquiring the trappings of a landed aristocracy in the
absence of their inheritance.
It is appropriate here to mention the grave (No. 79), admittedly pre-archaic (sub
Protogeometric II), found in the 1994 excavation season of the Toumba cemetery at
Lefkandi, Euboea (Popham and Lemos 1995). Given the discussion of mobility, war
and exchange, a list of the contents of what the excavators call a 'warrior-trader' will

cremation in a bronze cauldron
stone balance weights
a bronze weighing balance (?)
Syrian cylinder seal (an antique of 1800 BC)
three vases from Cyprus
two bichrome jugs from Phoenicia
bronze krater
remains of monumental standed craters
Art and the Greek City State

Any household might own a small boat, and use it for local trading, cabotage, as
perhaps envisages Hesiod. But both Snodgrass and Humphreys stress the point that
the only ships depicted in archaic times (and therefore used for trade) are those
sea-going war galleys which would have belonged with the wealth and lifestyle of the
In an age when political success depended upon personal resources and
prestige, noblemen travelled abroad to make influential friends, to contract
marriage alliances with leading families in other states, and to gain fame by
winning at the Olympic, Pythian, Nemean or Isthmian games; some voyaged
further afield to visit the wonders of the East (Solon) or to serve eastern
monarchs as mercenary soldiers.
(Humphreys 1978: 166)
So shipping is not so much an 'occupational role' as an aspect of lifestyle, embedded
in reciprocal obligations (rowing for the experience of travel and opportunity of
acquisition; discharging perhaps the obligation to return a gift, to repay a visit).

you've made quite some preparations Telembrotos,
now here's a fabulous Tromilian cheese
which I brought back from Achaia.
Semonides West 22-3

Travel and mobility
Humphreys stresses a priori the need to integrate an understanding of archaic trade
into a holistic view of the circulation of men, women and goods. She considers
archaic Greek trade as part of a much wider context of exchanges between the
Aegean and the world beyond. This regional approach has been followed by Purcell
(1990) whose ideas may be profitably associated with those of Andrew and Susan
Sherratt (Sherratt and Sherratt 1991, 1993). Challenging easy conceptions of trade
and colonisation, Purcell relates the redistribution of local resources, mercenaries,
slaves, demography and the movement of luxury goods by means of a general
concept of mobility. In contrast to the self-sufficient cellular household, Purcell
stresses the extensive regional systems to which communities in the eastern Mediter-
ranean belonged, systems which extended to include key relationships with imperial
powers of the Near East. For Purcell mobility is a function of a varied and broken
ecology and its necessity of interdependence: 'instead of autonomous enterprises and
isolated producers, the object of attention is now whole ecological systems which
exploit varied resources in highly complex and flexible ways, and which maintain
large and ramified social groups' (Purcell 1990: 42). Colonisation, mercenaries and
slavery are operations performed by and upon the resource of manpower; the
relocation of surplus. This is not necessarily a result of population increase and too
many people: 'we do not have to assume significant demographic growth in any
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