The Temporary Exhibition of the Mechanism and the Antikythera shipwreck...>>

The Lagynoi of the Antikythera Shipwreck

Material: Clay
Provenance: Antikythera shipwreck
Date: 1st c. BC
Exhibition Place:Temporary Exhibitions Wing, Room II

The 47 lagynoi rietrieved from the Antikythera wreck during the years 1900-1901 and 1976, formed one of the most numerus group of vases and one of the most popular vases of the Hellenistic period. Were used for transporting wine or for serving wine at the table.

Most of these, belong to type with bi-conical body and to type with flat schoulder and conical body, while lagynoi with a round body are missing eitirely. The most numerous group includes unglazed lagynoi, with large dimensions (h. 0,28-0,34 m.). The high neck is tubular, the base conical or in other cases, ring form and the handle, which is always vertical, extends from the shoulder to a little below the rim of the vase. Large unglazed lagynoi, utilitarian vases also known on Cyprus and Rhodes from the second quarter of the 3rd c. BC, were widespread in the 2nd and the first half of the 1st c.BC in many regions of the eastern Mediterranean.

The white-ground lagynoi from the shipwreck (9 examples) belong to type with bi-conical body have large dimensions (h. 0,28-0,30 m.) and present the same morphological characteristics as the unglazed ones. They were widely disseminated along the coasts of Asia Minor, in Cyprus, in Egypt, in Israel, in the Aegean islands and especially on Delos, in Athens and in the Peloponnese.

The third category, more simplified and with very few examples, has horizontal bands of unequal thickness set mainly on the edge of the shoulder, slightly above the base, thus emphasizing the articulations of the vase. These bands were set either directly on the clay or on a white slip. The chief characteristics of this catecory is its more careless construction, such lagynoi were probably cheaper substitutes for the category of decorated white-ground lagynoi.

Two lagynoi which have small dimensions belongs to a special category. The first one has a bi-conical flattened body, curved shoulder, and twisted handle and the other bi-conical body with ring handles on its shoulder and relief decoration. Vases of similar type and technique, include the lagynoi from Amorgos, Nisyros and Delos, from the 2nd c. BC.

The 47 lagynoi in the ship's cargo formed a homogeneous group with similar morphological characteristics, which on the basis of parallels may be dated from the 2nd to the mid 1st c. BC., though it is not possible to determine a specific production centre beyond that of the greater eastern Aegean area. These vases probably formed a part of the ship's cargo for transporting wine.

Βιβλιογραφία: G. Leroux, . Recherches sur la ceramique et l'art ornamental hellenistique, Paris 1913. S. Rotroff, Hellenistic Pottery. Athenian and Imported Wheelmade Table Ware and Related Material. Agora XXIX, Princeton 1997. E. Vivliodetis, The Lagynoi, in N. Kaltsas - E. Vlachogianni - P. Bouyia (eds),The Antikythera Shipwreck: The Ship, The Treasures, The Mechanism, Exhibition Catalogue, National Archaeological Museum, April 2012 - April 2013, Athens 2012, 152-163 (Ε. Vivliodetis).

Position in the museum