The Ancient Library
 

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On this page: Vases (continued)

678

VASES.

century beibre were rifled of their contents, which became known in Rome as nSkro-kdrinthld (Strabo, 382). Vasea were doubt­less originally made for the use of the living ; but in process of time it became customary to place the more orna­mental varieties in the sepulchres of the dead, and the custom led to the manufacture of ornamental vases for this special pur­pose (fig. 17). An exception to the rule is furnished by the Greek city of Naucratis, founded in the Delta of Egypt, apparently in the 7th century b.c., where a large number of fragments of pottery have been found in heaps near the ruins of the temples of Apollo and Aphrodite. Many of the fragments bear incised inscriptions recording the dedication of the vases to those deities (British Museum Guide, 1890, p. 188). The vases in everyday use, as op­posed to those found in tombs, were much plainer: those represented in vase-paintings are almost al­ways coloured black, with­out any paintings. Among

the more interesting ex­ceptions is a beautiful

pyxis, or perfume-box, in

the British Museum (Vase

Room III, E 770), repre­senting a lady's toilet,

with several painted vases

set about the i-oom as

ornaments, and filled, like

jardinieres, with flowers

or olive-branches (Encyc.

Brit., xix, p. 614, fig. 31;

cp. Birch, I.e., p. 354). The subjects are mainly

mythological, but are also

frequently taken from real

life, and include religious

rites, athletic contests,

dances and marriages,

funerals, and scenes from the drama. Among

the few historical subjects are Croesus on

his funeral pyre (Duruy, Hist, des Grecs, i

680), Arcesilas of Gyrene (fig. 6), and Darius

preparing to invade Greece (a large vase ip the Naples Museum).

For a long time almost all the vases dis­covered were found in Etruria and in South

Italy and Sicily. Most of those discovered in Etruria, although popularly known as Etruscan vases, are really of Greek manu­facture. The finest of those found in Italy

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