Scientific Information Agency
02 July 2021

Olbian Painted Ceramics of Hellenistic period: Source to the Studying and History of the Discussion

Antiquities of Lukomorie
Olbian Painted Ceramics of Hellenistic period: Source to the Studying and History of the Discussion

Olbian imported ceramics are represented by separate groups of painted tableware. They are represented by jugs of various shapes with floral ornament or horizontal stripes mainly in the middle part of the body with red or brown paint. This ornament was applied to a light engobe or just on the fired vessel. The topic of the painted ceramics from the ancient centers of the Northern Black Sea region was raised in the early XX century (E. fon Shtern) and has been repeatedly covered in the historiography, where its origin was the most actual question. T.M.Knipovich in her paper on the history of painting ceramics stressed out the existence of a local tradition to paint vessels in the colonies of the Northern Black Sea region. In particular, she used materials from Olbia and Bosporus Kingdom, but, unfortunately, she was not aware of the local Hellenistic ceramic products of Tauric Chersonesos. According to T.M.Knipovich, it was а significant influence of the archaic era and such art tradition was associated with Alexandria. The  thesis  about  the  local  Olbian  painted  ceramics  was  developed  in  the  papers  of K.I.Zaitseva. During the verification of the Olbian artefacts, she analyzed a group of local, on her opinion, pottery with floral ornaments of Hellenistic times. K.I.Zaitseva delved into the research of T.M.Knipovich and attributed the most of the Hellenistic painted pottery as Olbian production. But she also payed attention to the different colour of the clay mass and admixtures. Such painting ceramics are separated into typological group, which belongs to the imitation of Hadra style. The origins of this ornamental tradition should be sought in the Eastern Mediterranean, where it was popular at Hellenistic time. Such type of painted ceramics also well known in Histria, Tomis and other centres on the Northwestern Black Sea region and attributed to local production. This type of ornamented vessels from Olbia belongs to the imported finds, but such type of jugs was no popular there. Its visual analysis allows us to say that such ceramics were made in Tauric Chersonesos. Thus, the presence of painted pottery in the Hellenistic materials of Olbia show that Tauric Chersonesos realized active relations with the Lower Bug poleis from the middle of the 4th to the middle of the 3rd centuries BCE. The study of this category of material allowed to expand the information about interpoleis contacts in the Northern Black Sea region during the Hellenistic period.

Source: Kotenko V. (2021) Olbian Painted Ceramics of Hellenistic period: Source to the Studying and History of the Discussion. Antiquities of Lukomorie. №1(4): 5-13

Source web-site:

Number of views: 1561