Published on February 25, 2009
THE LIBONI AMPHORA COLLECTION Roman maritime trade and the changing socio-economic system of the Pontine region Part 1: text Name: H.G. Pape Student number: 1332961 E-mail: email@example.com Date: May 2008 Research master Art History & Archaeology Tutor: prof. dr. P.A.J. Attema Second reader: dr. W.M. Jongman
“Quid te, Tucca, iuvat vetulo miscere Falerno In Vaticanis condita musta cadis? Quid tantum fecere boni tibi pessima vina? Aut quid fecerunt optima vina mali? De nobis facile est, scelus est iugulare Falernum Et dare Campano toxica saeva mero. Convivae meruere tui fortasse perire: Amphora non meruit tam pretiosa mori.” - M. Valerius Martialis, Epigr. XVIII Dist. - • “Inside the museums, infinity goes up on trial. Voices echo, this is what salvation must be like after a while.” - Bob Dylan, ‘Visions of Johanna’ - • “Caecubum et prelo domitam Caleno tu bibes uvam; mea nec Falernae temperant vites neque Formiani pocula colles.” - Q. Horatius Flaccus, Ode 1.20 - -1-
CONTENTS PART 1 Contents 2 Preface 5 Introduction 6 Prologue 6 Archaeological research in the Pontine region 7 The LAC and the integration of this thesis 9 Goals and structure of this thesis 9 1. Amphora studies and amphorae 11 1.1. Amphora studies 11 1.1.1. The use of amphora studies 11 1.1.2. Amphora studies: 1899 to 1970 12 1.1.3. Amphora studies: 1970 to present 13 1.2. Amphorae: theoretical aspects 14 1.2.1. Etymology and nomenclature 14 1.2.2. The problem of definition: morphological and functional criteria 15 1.2.3. The definition of amphora used in this thesis 17 1.3. Amphorae: technical aspects 19 1.3.1. Primary uses of amphorae: wine 19 1.3.2. Primary uses of amphorae: olive-oil 20 1.3.3. Primary uses of amphorae: fish sauce 20 1.3.4. Primary uses of amphorae: other commodities 22 1.3.5. Secondary uses of amphorae 23 1.3.6. Production of amphorae 24 1.3.7. Matters of epigraphy: stamps and tituli picti 26 1.4. Amphorae: historical aspects 27 1.4.1. Origins in the East and the Phoenician/Punic amphorae 27 1.4.2. Ancient Greek amphorae 28 1.4.3. The rise of the Italic tradition 29 1.4.4. The Roman era: Italian amphorae 31 1.4.5. The Roman era: Hispanic amphorae 33 1.4.6. The Roman era: Gallic amphorae 35 1.4.7. The Roman era: African amphorae 37 1.4.8. The Roman era: eastern Mediterranean amphorae 40 -2-
1.4.9 Amphorae in post-Antiquity 41 2. Roman maritime trade 43 2.1. Exchange mechanisms: three modes of trade 43 2.1.1. Reciprocity 43 2.1.2. Redistribution 44 2.1.3. Free market trading 44 2.2. Technical and logistical aspects of Roman trade 45 2.2.1. Ships 45 2.2.2. Ports 47 2.2.3. Trade routes 49 2.3. Organization of Roman seaborne trade 50 2.3.1. Maritime trade organization in the Republican era 50 2.3.2. Maritime trade organization in the Imperial era 50 2.4. The debate on the ancient economy 52 2.4.1. The modernist view 52 2.4.2. The primitivist view 54 2.4.3. The balanced view 56 3. The Pontine region 60 3.1. Categorization of the Pontine region 60 3.1.1. Geographical categorization 60 3.1.2. Geomorphological categorization 61 3.1.3. Socio-economic categorization and this thesis 61 3.2. Chronology of the Pontine region 62 3.2.1. Protohistory 62 3.2.2. The Archaic and post-Archaic period 64 3.2.3. The Roman period: the Republic 65 3.2.4. The Roman period: the Empire 67 3.3. Coastal area, hinterland and the socio-economic system 69 4. The Liboni Amphora Collection 72 4.1. Research history and methodology of the LAC 72 4.1.1. LAC research history 72 4.1.2. Origins and composition of the Liboni collection 73 4.1.3. Photographing and drawing the LAC 74 4.1.4. Describing the LAC 75 4.2. LAC 2006-2007 results 77 4.2.1. LAC summary table 78 4.2.2. LAC statistical composition chart 83 4.2.3. LAC date range chart 83 -3-
4.2.4. LAC contents charts 83 5. Interpretations 87 5.1. Observations 87 5.1.1. Amphora types and number of amphorae 87 5.1.2. Dating 88 5.1.3. Provenance 88 5.1.4. Distribution 90 5.1.5. Contents 90 5.2. Deductions 91 5.2.1. Comparing the LAC with the GIA Nettuno survey data 91 5.2.2. Comparing the LAC with the amphorae in the museum of Anzio 93 5.2.3. Issues of chronology 94 5.2.4. Ancient origins and destinations of the LAC amphorae: land-based finds 95 5.2.5. Ancient origins and destinations of the LAC amphorae: seaborne finds 96 5.3. The LAC study and beyond: law, trade and wine in Roman Latium 98 5.3.1. The lex Claudia and elite entrepreneurs 98 5.3.2. Amphorae, Astura and the Pontine wine trade 101 6. Conclusions 103 6.1. Summary 103 6.2. Future study 104 Bibliography 106 Literature 106 Websites 108 -4-
PREFACE A thesis is never created by one person alone. Of course I have performed the greater part of the research and writing, but I could not have done so were it not for a good deal of people to assist me. First and foremost I would like to thank my tutor, prof. dr. P.A.J. Attema, for the opportunity to finish the study of the Liboni Amphora Collection and transform it into a proper thesis. Our discussions during status update meetings often gave me new angles for interpreting the LAC amphorae. Had this research ended in the summer of 2006 it would surely have been a missed opportunity. I essentially owe the continuance of the LAC study to drs. G.W. Tol. He was the one that inventoried the subterranean corridors of Forte Sangallo, thereby discovering many more amphora fragments for me to catalogue. Gijs was also very helpful along the way, assisting and tutoring in drawing and describing during both summers in Nettuno, as well as being a good laugh during those campaigns. My thanks also to drs. T.C.A. de Haas, who introduced me to the world of amphorae and set me on the road to specialization. The catalogue at the back of this thesis would not have been as precise without Tymon’s own reviewing and finetuning. His discovery of the USAP online database likewise brought the catalogue to new heights. His advice in drawing and describing the LAC has also been greatly appreciated. I want to express my sincere gratitude towards those intrepid men that keep the GIA drawing office alive: S.E. Boersma, S. Tiebackx and E. Bolhuis. The fact that I could use digitized versions of my drawings is a result of the hard work put in by Siebe and Sander for the Nettuno publication. I especially want to thank Siebe for digitizing both the majority of 2006 material, as well as my selection of that of 2007. The latter was entirely out of free will, at the coat of a mere apple pie. Erwin brought me up to speed with CorelDraw and kept me company during the couple of days I endured the drawing office for work on the Nettuno publication. I’ll be back whenever you guys need me there, in exchange for food and payment of course. Last but certainly not least I wish to thank M. Boonstra, my partner. Margriet has been instrumental in keeping me sane during this research, as well as inspired at those times I failed to see the point of it all. Taking Munsell colors and precise measurements at the rushed end of the 2006 campaign have also been a snap because of her. She is furthermore responsible for sorting out the hundreds of photographs I made of the LAC amphorae, as well as proofreading all my texts. Final honorable mentions go to the following people: dr. W.M. Jongman of the University of Groningen, for assessing this thesis in the capacity of second reader; dr. S. Voutsaki of the GIA, for furthering my interest in archaeological theory and the ancient economy; A. Berends, for assisting me in drawing and describing in 2006; prof. dr. J. Remesal Rodríguez of the Univeristy of Barcelona, for admitting me to the CEIPAC online amphora epigraphy database and rerouting the case of the MNK stamp to the expert; F. Laubenheimer, Directrice de Recherche at the CNRS, for studying the MNK stamp and surprising me with her own surprise; H. Bultema, for proofreading my first theoretical chapter and taking my mind of amphorae when I needed it. And of course direttore A. Liboni, for admitting me into the bowels of Forte Sangallo and magically producing ever more amphora fragments on those shelves. Thank you all, Harry Pape Winschoten, May 2008 -5-
INTRODUCTION PROLOGUE One might say it is easier to found an empire than to maintain it. An empire, defined here as a supranational body of political, socio-economic and military stability, is by nature a cumbersome and sluggish concept. As an empire grows, oversight decreases and with it control of the territories and populace it encompasses. Most of these issues are of political or military nature and can be resolved with correct application of those institutions’ power, but just as important is sustaining the empire’s socio-economic network by production, trade and (re)distribution. The old Roman credo of ‘bread and games’ is after all only part games: the bread has to come from somewhere as well. To feed the people of the Roman Empire and the preceding Republic, agriculture and contributing industries used a significant part of its labor potential. Raw resources had to be gathered, then processed into foodstuffs and finally transported to their destination. The essentials of the Roman way of life, wine and olive oil, constituted a major part of the end-products, together with fish derivates and fruit. The most efficient way to haul these goods in bulk quantities over long distances was overseas by ship, in dedicated containers. The singular most important earthenware vessel used for storing and transporting (semi-)liquid commodities overseas in Antiquity was the amphora. Amphorae came in all shapes and sizes and have become a mainstay of archaeological study by virtue of the information they can provide about production, trade and other socio-economic aspects of ancient civilization. Amphorae studies are part of an expanding field of research since the 1970s and their possibilities are still far from exhausted.1 The beating heart of the Roman world was of course Rome itself, with its renowned port Ostia as a major point of import, export and distribution. Ostia was however by no means the only harbor where ships from all provinces under Roman control moored to unload their amphorae; dozens of harbors, both small and large, lined the Latial coast and beyond. These sites are often overshadowed by the fame of Ostia or their existence has not yet been proved archaeologically, but they were important in their own right as locations of trade and (re)distribution on a more regional scale. Maritime trade strengthened the structure of both the Roman Republic and Empire; it is what kept the system going. And the amphorae were at the heart of it all. 1 Peacock & Williams 1991, 3 -6-
ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH IN THE PONTINE REGION This thesis is not entirely a stand-alone product. Its conception is linked to several successive long-term regional survey and excavation projects in Italy, encompassing the Agro Pontino and southern Latial coastal area: the Pontine Region Project (PRP), Regional Pathways to Complexity (RPC), the Astura Project and the Carta Archeologica del Comune di Nettuno. These projects are all initiatives of the Groningen Institute of Archaeology (GIA), which is part of the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (University of Groningen, RuG). Before the GIA started to do more specific research in the Pontine region, this area was already under study by other archaeologists. This tradition started as early as the 19th century with topographical studies aimed at understanding the fortified sites with polygonal wall structures. One of these sites, Norba (near present-day Norma, in the Monti Lepini), was host to the first systematic excavation in the area at the start of the 20th century, followed by small topographical studies in the immediate surroundings at the sites Serrone di Bove and Caracupa Valvisciolo. During this century several sites in the Agro Pontino were also researched within the framework of the Forma Italiae project, which goal was to map all remaining archaeology in Italy on a scale of 1:25000. From the 1970s onward a slew of regional studies has been publicized by researchers as Brandizzi Vitucci (1968, 1998) and Quilici & Quilici-Gigli (1987, 1998).2 In 1977 the universities of Groningen and Amsterdam (RuG, UvA) started excavations at the site of Satricum (present-day Borgo Le Ferriere), which lies approximately 10 kilometers upstream along the Astura river. Here work was done at the acropolis (boasting a multi-period temple for Mater Matuta, under study since the 19th century), the settlement and two necropoleis (one of the Latini, one of the Volsci3). These Dutch excavations are among the most famous in the region and have been recorded in detail by the researchers involved (Maaskant-Kleibrink et al. 1978 & 1992, Gnade 1992, Bouma 1996). The UvA also initiated the first systematic surveys in the Agro Pontino, combined with palynological research (Voorrips et al. 1991). In 1987 the RuG started the Pontine Region Project (PRP): a survey project aimed primarily at studying the changes and developments in the Agro Pontino in the 1st millennium BC, with an emphasis on the impact made by Roman colonization on the protohistorical landscape. This project effectively runs to this day. In 1997 the RuG and VU University Amsterdam joined forces to initiate Regional Pathways to Complexity (RPC), which encompasses the study of three regions in Italy from the Late Bronze Age to the Roman era. Emphasis lay on centralization, urbanization and colonization. GIA 2 Tol 2005, 1; Attema et al. 2005, 10-11 3 M. La Rosa, pers. comm. 2007 -7-
surveys were done in the three major geophysical units of the Pontine region; the Colli Albani (Lanuvium area), Monti Lepini (Doganella di Ninfa area) and Agro Pontino (Fogliano area). The Astura Project of the GIA began in 2001 and focused specifically on the coastal area between Nettuno and Torre Astura. A trio of sites along the coastline was studied: a kiln site (P11), a Late Bronze Age site (P13) and an amphora section hinting at local amphora production near the villa known as Le Grottacce (P15). After excavations and section sampling of these sites a survey was performed in the valley of the Astura river in 2003, which partly marks the eastern boundary of the comune. The resulting exhibition and presentation aroused the attention of the Assessorato alla Cultura del Comune di Nettuno in such a fashion that, in reaction to the recently flared up ‘cultural consciousness’ in the region, the idea came to archaeologically map the entire comune. This marked the inception of the Carta Archeologica del Comune di Nettuno, a joint venture of the GIA and several Latial institutions concerned with the region’s archaeology, aimed towards mapping the archaeological remains in the comune and gaining a better understanding of the socio-economic development and Roman colonization in this region from the Archaic period onward.4 The Carta Archeologica is the most recent GIA undertaking in the Pontine region, and this thesis is a direct and integral sidestep of the research performed within that framework. The main sources for the Carta Archeologica are the so-called ‘Liboni Collection’ and material found during GIA surveys. The Liboni Collection is named after Arnaldo Liboni, caretaker of the Antiquario di Nettuno (the local museum, housed in Forte Sangallo) and in his spare time collector of archaeological material. By his efforts a fair amount of material from the comune has found its way into the museum, but the majority is still in crates stacked in the subterranean corridors of the fort. The finds that constitute the Liboni Collection have been drawn and described the last few years by several GIA postgraduates and students during the summer campaigns of the RuG in Nettuno, in order to create part of the dataset for the Carta Archeologica. Material found during these campaigns by surveying in (and sometimes a little outside) the comune were also drawn and described. The preliminary results of this material, coupled with the mapping of known and new sites in the comune, can be found in the thesis of G.W. Tol.5 GIA research in the Pontine region is at the time of writing, now 2008, drawing to a close. G.W. Tol is currently working on his PhD thesis, encompassing among others excavations at the Astura river. It is thought that these undertakings will once more increase our knowledge about this important area of Roman history. 4 Tol 2005, 1-4 5 Tol 2005 -8-
THE LAC AND THE INTEGRATION OF THIS THESIS Beside the material in Forte Sangallo’s magazzino, a part of the Liboni Collection was hidden behind a closed door in the fort’s central building. Here a collection of over fifty intact amphorae was stored. The assignment I was given in the summer of 2006 by prof. dr. P.A.J. Attema, head of the Classical department of the GIA and initiator of most GIA projects in the Pontine region, was primarily to fashion a catalogue of the complete amphorae kept in the storeroom as part of my Research Master. In the course of four weeks I photographed, drew and described all amphorae in the storeroom, as well as a lot of fragments found on the shelves of the magazzino and in the display cases of the museum. At the end of the campaign it was obvious that there were many more amphora fragments in the magazzino, but there was no time left to process them all. The amphorae I studied and catalogued in the summer of 2006 were from that moment on known as the Liboni Amphora Collection (LAC). The resulting report about the LAC was mostly technical, as the catalogue had been the focal point and the amount of time remaining before the deadline back home was insufficient to go into much depth with context and interpretation. Therefore the report was somewhat lacking in that respect, which is a shame of course for a collection with that much potential. In the beginning of 2007 it became clear that the LAC held much more promise and I decided to pick up the research where I left off and expand it into the thesis that lies before you now. All remaining amphorae (fragments) in Forte Sangallo were processed in the summer of 2007, and the interpretations that had been left wanting in 2006 were fully addressed. This thesis meshes with the existing GIA projects currently underway in the Agro Pontino (the PhD research of GIA postgraduates G.W. Tol and T.C.A. de Haas, the Carta Archeologica del Comune di Nettuno) in that the results will hopefully provide even more insight into the regional socio-economic network of the southern Latial coastal zone and its hinterland. GOALS AND STRUCTURE OF THIS THESIS Aside from supporting and expanding on current GIA knowledge of the Pontine region, this thesis also aims to contribute to the larger debate about maritime trade during the Roman period by focusing on the regional socio-economic system of the Pontine region between the present-day city of Anzio and the historical site of Torre Astura. This will be done principally by means of an extensive amphora study, for which the Liboni Amphora Collection (LAC) will be the primary source of information. This collection is located in the museum of the present-day city of Nettuno (RM, Lazio, Italia) and has been -9-
studied by the author in the span of two consecutive summers (2006-2007). Furthermore the results of surveys and excavations in the aforementioned region performed by the Groningen Institute of Archaeology will be used to provide a diachronic insight into the history of the Pontine region and the southern Latial coastal zone; the backdrop against which the amphorae will be studied and utilized to increase our knowledge and understanding of the larger scope of Republican and Imperial maritime trade. Chapter I gives a concise introduction to amphorae and their study, followed by Chapter 2 which provides a general explanation and outline of Roman maritime trade: organization, ports, transported goods, ships and trade routes. Chapter 3 then relates the layout and (archaeological) history of the Pontine region, together with information about settlements and ports in the region, amphora production centers, maritime villae and their hinterland. Chapter 4 constitutes the core of my own research; the Liboni Amphora Collection (LAC) with an explanation of the methodology used to create the concordant catalogue, as well as the results in table and chart form. In Chapter 5 then I give an in- depth analysis and interpretation of the acquired results from the two-year LAC study, together with a correlation to the information gleaned about the regional socio-economic system. Chapter 6 ultimately tries to answer the main question posed in this thesis: what can the LAC amphorae, combined with the regional survey and excavation data, tell us about the socio-economic network of the Pontine region during the Roman period from a maritime point of view? - 10 -
1. AMPHORA STUDIES AND AMPHORAE In this chapter the various aspects of amphorae and the history of their study are discussed. The amphora was the number-one form of trade-packaging in the Roman world. While grain was arguably the most essential subsistence product in those days, several other commodities that virtually defined the Roman way of living were transported in bulk across the Mediterranean. Wine, olive oil and fish derivates traveled across the seas in ships laden with amphorae, along with a fair number of less encountered products. Amphorae are the most common type of pottery encountered in the Roman Mediterranean, attesting to the scale of trade and transport during those times. 1.1. AMPHORA STUDIES 1.1.1. The use of amphora studies The study of amphorae is nowadays a solid part of the debate concerning the ancient economy, for these vessels offer an amazing wealth of potential information. Being the premier mode of trade packaging in the ancient world, amphorae bear direct material witness to the movement of several commodities that were essential to the people of Antiquity. This is especially the case in Roman times, when the scale of maritime trade reached heights not seen before. The full appreciation of amphorae is a relatively recent development though, as these vessels have often been neglected or even dismissed by scholars and laymen alike in favor of ‘prettier’ fine ware like terra sigillata or items of gold and bronze. By studying amphorae one can learn about several aspects of the ancient economy. First and foremost the products in which a region traded can be deduced by noting the amphora types present, as certain types are associated with certain products. This association is made possible because of the study of painted inscriptions found on amphorae, which often relate the contents of the containers. This has led to a continually growing list of amphora forms correlated with their principal contents. The epigraphic evidence on amphorae, being generally painted inscriptions (tituli picti) and stamps, give even more information than that however. This is discussed elsewhere in this thesis in more detail (see 1.3.7), and it suffices to say here that the study of that epigraphy can shed light upon several aspects connected to the shipping of the amphora in question as well as the rest of the cargo (port from where the amphora was shipped, nature and weight of contents, names of ship or port personnel, etc.). Finally the fabric of amphorae deserves special mention. Though often overshadowed by the typological study of the vessel, fabric can give an indication of, or sometimes even pinpoint the location - 11 -
where the amphora was made. This can be very important when the study of the form itself is inconclusive as to the origin of the vessel, whether because the fragment is non-characteristic or because of a hitherto unknown type. There are several very distinct fabrics that were used for certain amphorae, presenting a first anchor line when finding amphorae fragments in the field. Using amphorae as dating evidence is more difficult than it would seem at first glance. As M.H. Callender demonstrated (see 1.3.5), many amphorae tended to have quite a long life in use after the primary commodity was consumed or used up. Also the very nature of amphorae as vessels with purely practical use (barring decorative Greek vessels) resulted in a relatively slow typological change of forms, as the look of an amphora was subservient to its function. This change however is not as virtually non- existent as Callender seemingly believed; a view which has been countered by specialists since Callender’s work in 1965. Small changes over time in e.g. rim form can be observed with several forms, such as the famous olive oil container Dressel 20.6 1.1.2. Amphora studies: 1899 to 1970 Heinrich Dressel was most probably the first scholar to acknowledge the importance of amphorae and to make a systematic study of these vessels. The painted inscriptions on amphorae drew his attention, and in 1899 he published his research in the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, together with Schoene and Mau, who also published their epigraphic studies in those volumes. The location of Dressel’s study was Rome, and more specifically Monte Testaccio: an artificial hill in Rome’s former dockland consisting entirely of discarded amphora fragments. Dressel nearly lost his eyesight in reading all the text present on that veritable mountain of knowledge, and it resulted in the first typology of amphorae. While his scheme was clarified and improved upon in subsequent years, it has never been completely surpassed or made obsolete, which is a clear testament to Dressel’s prowess as a dedicated scholar. His name thus lives on in the classification of numerous amphorae, such as the ubiquitous Dressel 1 and 20. While this was a prodigious start of a promising field of research, amphorae were mostly neglected until the 1950s. The revival was the result of increasing interest in marine archaeology, as amphorae are the primary material of the underwater archaeologist. A number of amphora-laden wrecks were discovered in these years, prompting scholars such as Lamboglia (1950) and Benoit (1956) to reappraise the study of amphorae. Another impulse for renewed study was the interest in amphorae in Britain and other parts of northwestern Europe. M.H. Callender produced a comprehensive study and catalogue of amphorae stamps in this period, which is unfortunately inherently flawed by its publication date fifteen years later in 1965. This meant one and a half decade of amphora research was not taken into account, resulting in views that were mostly outdated at publication and in a lack of stamps found 6 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 2-19 - 12 -
during that hiatus in time. However, while some of Callender’s views on typology and chronology are thus outdated, a substantial part of his theoretical framework still applies now, as does his catalogue of stamps. Two other important names in this period are Tchernia and Zevi, whose articles on amphorae began to appear in the late 1960s. Besides criticizing Callender’s work and a reappraisal of that of Dressel (by Zevi), they initiated new research as well. André Tchernia became an expert on Roman wine and their correspondent amphorae. 1.1.3. Amphora studies: 1970 to present The 1970s proved to be an enormous boost to the study of amphorae in a multitude of countries. Tchernia and Zevi continued with their research and publications, while other scholars joined in mostly as a result of two conferences at the French School in Rome that had piqued or increased many a scholar’s interest in amphorae: Beltrán published his research and typology of Hispanic amphorae; Kuzmanov, Zemer and Kapitän focused on late eastern and Aegean vessels; Laubenheimer tackled amphorae from Gaul; Will studied Greco-Italic amphorae; Ponsich those of the Iberian Peninsula; in Italy meanwhile Panella, Manacorda and Carandini concentrated on Ostia and Pompeii, refining amphora typologies as they went; and the list goes on. Breakthroughs were made in petrological, chemical and quantitative analysis as well, rounding out or increasing the array of usable scientific methods. Clearly the amount of research on amphorae in the 1970s and the subsequent publications thereof consolidated the position of amphora studies in archaeology. The trend was set and the 1980s only saw more research being done and published. A memorable work saw the light in 1984, in the form of Simon Keay’s extensive treatise on Hispanic and African amphorae. Particularly important is his exhaustive list and typology of late Roman African cylindrical vessels. The typology of these so-called Keay types is still used today and Keay’s work remains the ubiquitous source for those that specialize in African amphorae. Perhaps the most influential publication of that decade however was Amphorae and the Roman economy: an introductory guide by Peacock & Williams. By compiling amphora data from the multitude of articles that had almost exponentially grown since the 1970s, adding new insights and producing a fairly easy to use guide to recognize the most common Roman amphorae, the first standard work for amphora studies was born in 1986. To this day it remains the foremost basic resource for anyone that is interested in amphorae, being the starting point for this thesis as well. From the 1990s to the time of writing this thesis (2007-2008) almost another two decades have passed. Discoveries both underwater and on dry land have continued to be made, and two more standard works have been published in 1991 and 1997 that complement that of Peacock & Williams: - 13 -
Amphores: comment les identifier? by Sciallano and Sibella, and Anfore antiche: conoscerle e identificarle by Caravale & Toffoletti. Both feature improved guides for recognizing amphorae, adding new forms to the list of Peacock & Williams but also excluding some of them. Anfore antiche more or less supersedes the work by Sciallano & Sibella (which I therefore have hardly used) as it contains extra amphorae and uses a more user-friendly reference table. It is also even more of a handbook for use in the field and contains less historical and theoretical background than Amphorae and the Roman economy. All these works should thus best be used in conjunction with each other to compensate, as has been done in this thesis. Together they form a solid core for every amphora study.7 The most recent compilation of amphora research makes full use of the possibilities of the Internet. As of 2005, the University of Southampton hosts a database of Roman amphorae (hereafter USAP 2005) under the supervision of Keay and Williams.8 This database lists every Roman amphora currently known, complete with petrological details, zoomable pictures/drawings and an integral multi- stage search function that enables quick identification of most amphora types. Its major downside is the exclusion of non-Roman era amphorae (e.g. Ancient Greek, Etruscan, etc.), but again it yields impressive results when used together with the aforementioned literature. For the Roman amphorae the USAP 2005 database is the most recent source of information and is therefore the primary contributor of confronti in the catalogue of this thesis. 1.2. AMPHORAE: THEORETICAL ASPECTS 1.2.1. Etymology and nomenclature The Latin word amphora comes from ancient Greek amphoreus (αµφορέας), and is a compound word combining amphi- (on both sides) and phoreus (carrier), from pherein (to carry).9 These words thus convey the essence of the concept amphora with both a morphological characteristic (double-handled) and a functional one (carrier), but an actual definition based on a set of those characteristics is far more difficult as is discussed in 1.2.2. The word amphora was also used to denominate the chief Roman liquid measurement from the 1st century BC onward. As such an amphora equaled a little less than 26 liters according to Hayes.10 This volume was also known as a quadrantal and could be further subdivided in two urnae, eight congii, 48 sextarii and 96 heminae. These measurements were mostly used to indicate the yield of a vineyard, as 7 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 2-4 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, 14-15 ; Paterson 1982, pp. 146-157 8 University of Southampton Amphora Project 2005 9 Hayes 1997, pp. 96, endnote 13 10 Id., endnote 14 - 14 -
examples from ancient literature show. The amphora was also used as a measure of length and of a ship’s tonnage. The use of the word amphora as a measurement this way indicates an ‘ideal’ amphora in a theoretical sense,11 and thus should not be equated with any real-life vessel (although one of the older types might have had that particular capacity). Callender comments upon the word cadus (pl. cadii), which in ancient literature is used in the same way as the word amphora in the sense of a vessel for storage and transport of liquid goods. Callender argues that both words were probably interchangeable in Roman times and designated vessels of roughly the same size and appearance, as shown by his citations of Pliny, Columella and Martial. He further speculates that the larger amphorae were perhaps first known as cadi (equaling 3 urnae rather than 2), but that the distinction faded with the increasing variation of size and capacity through time.12 1.2.2. The problem of definition: morphological and functional criteria Unlike other more obvious pottery classes like cups and plates, there is no universal definition of what exactly constitutes an amphora. Although all specialists know some overlap in the way they describe such a vessel, a general consensus remains to be achieved. This issue has plagued the study for years, but the appearance of three standard works13 in the last two decades has brought some alleviation. Peacock & Williams quote Virginia Grace (1961), who mentions a few distinguishing morphological criteria for these transport containers: “[…] a mouth narrow enough to be corked, two opposite vertical handles and at the bottom usually a tip or knob which serves as a third handle, below the weight, needed when one inverts a heavy vessel to pour from it. A flat base big enough for the jar to stand on would give no purchase for lifting.”14 Caravale & Toffoletti repeat these morphological and functional characteristics and add a tapering body, an elongated neck and walls thick enough as to prevent rupture.15 These criteria have been acknowledged by most scholars working with amphorae up until now and with them all of the ‘traditional’ amphorae (such as Dressel 1) are covered. A great number of what most specialists call amphorae fall outside of this traditional class. The body of an amphora can actually differ wildly from the classical tapering form, as demonstrated by the multitude of cylindrical, bulbous, tapering, piriform (pear-shaped) and even bag-like vessels. The elongated neck mentioned by Carevale & Toffoletti is another such matter. While the major part of known vessels displays such a distinct neck, making it again a characteristic of ‘traditional’ amphorae 11 Callender 1965, pp. 3 12 Id., pp. 2, footnote 3 13 Peacock & Williams 1991 ; Sciallano & Sibella 1994 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997 14 Grace 1961, quoted in Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 5 15 Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 11 - 15 -
such as Dressel 1, there are enough types without it.16 The boundaries between these morphological denominations can be hazy sometimes and composite forms exist as well. Also, while amphorae with a tip or ‘spike’ are the most common and characteristic, vessels with a flat base (-ring) are by no means an exception (the ancient Greek amphorae all had base-rings). Amphorae with such a base are excluded by Grace’s definition given above though, as are all other shapes of base; a flaw in her set of criteria as observed by Peacock & Williams as well. According to Grace, a spike provided both a third handle for easily lifting the vessel by one person and a way to securely stack it among other amphorae in the hold of a ship, 17 which a flat base did not. I disagree with this view; most flat-bottomed amphorae are smaller and lighter (i.e. have thinner walls) than their spiked cousins, greatly reducing the need for such a third handle, while they retain the tapering form that is required for stacking them. If one follows Grace’s reasoning, several vessels of major importance (that also feature prominently in the Liboni Amphora Collection) could not be called amphorae and would not be taken into account in this thesis. An example of this is the Gauloise 4 (mid 1st to mid 3rd century AD): a relatively small, thin- walled vessel with a flat base-ring. This I would surely call an amphora, for it answers to all other morphological criteria given above but the lack of a spike and having thinner walls than most amphorae. Peacock & Williams quote Widemann et al. (1979), who states Gauloise 4 must have required a protective casing of straw. This practice is actually shown on a relief from Neumagen, Germany. 18 It also had the same function: the transport of liquid commodities (wine). Callender argues that the vessels called amphorae from Antiquity onward vary so much in size, shape and capacity, that the original definition must have become severely debased over time. Thus every two- handled vessel that was reminiscent of the original Greek form and was meant for storage and transport (principally the latter) would most probably have been designated amphora or cadus. He then proceeds to give a tentative remark about amphora morphology: his (of course quite loose) definition does in fact include vessels with a flat base (-ring). He actually does not use the word spike, and instead adds the criterion to “[…] be unable to stand without support when loaded with their commodities.”19 In the corresponding footnote he argues that vessels with small stand-rings could perhaps stand on their own accord when empty, “[…] but which must have had some external means of support when loaded, if only for safety’s sake, when full […].”20 This effectively evades the whole spike vs. flat base issue in a rather elegant manner. 16 Id., pp. 4-5. Nr. 56 is the most eye-catching example without a neck 17 A spike might also have been used to roll an amphorae around its vertical axis (prof. dr. P.A.J. Attema, pers. comm. 2007) 18 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 51 ; Callender 1965, pp. 43 & plate Va/b 19 Callender 1965, pp. 3 20 Id., footnote 2 - 16 -
This view has much to commend it, as there are quite a few types almost every specialist calls amphorae, which do not even have either a distinct spike or truly flat base. This is obvious at first glance when looking at Carevale & Toffoletti’s Indice Grafico delle Anfore.21 Both Punic and Etruscan amphorae have a variety of rounded, pointed and flattened bases.22 The ultimate irony then befalls the globular Dressel 20 (and its smaller successor Dressel 23 as well): 23 this famous Baetican form, one of the most common and widely distributed of all amphorae, has a diminutive basal knob that neither aided lifting or stacking and was most probably nearly impossible to handle by just one person when filled due to its size and weight. The Dressel 20 thus does not comply with the functional criteria tied in with the tip/knob put forward by Grace and could therefore not be called an amphora.24 While the amphora was surely developed at first to be a container requiring only one person to carry it, 25 the very nature of development is dynamic instead of static; in the course of time larger and otherwise less manageable amphorae came into use, sacrificing ease of handling somewhat for increased capacity. Though Peacock & Williams point to the artificiality of morphological definition, they also acknowledge the problem one encounters if the definition would be based solely on function (so grouping together all containers of liquid goods). After all, amphorae were not the only trade-packaging of liquid commodities available in Antiquity (also storage jars, flagons, etc. served that purpose). Amphorae were also not used solely to transport liquid commodities, adding a new level of complexity to such a purely functional definition. Better would be to define their function as storage and transport of “[…] bulk commodities subject to spoilage […].”26 This would be the primary use of amphorae, as these vessels more often than not displayed what Callender calls ‘secondary use survival’: having a secondary function after its primary function had been fulfilled.27 These secondary uses are discussed in more detail in 1.3.5. 1.2.3. The definition of amphora used in this thesis In the light of the discussion above, I hereby present a definition of amphora based on a combination of morphological and functional criteria, combining and adding to those mentioned in the previous paragraph: 21 Carevale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 4-5 22 Id., respectively nrs. 55-58 and 76-80 23 Id., nrs. 132-133 24 Callender 1965, plate VI. Thick-walled and heavy spike-less amphorae such as Dressel 20 were most probably suspended from a wooden rod carried by two people, as shown on the wall painting from Augst, Switzerland 25 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 21 26 Ibid. 27 Callender 1965, pp. 24, footnote 1 - 17 -
An amphora is an earthenware vessel designed specifically for storing and transporting bulk commodities subject to spoilage. The vessel has to possess: a) a mouth of small enough diameter to be sealed airtight; b) two vertical handles opposite each other to facilitate handling; c) a body designed for storing and viably transporting (liquid) foodstuffs; d) a base rendering the vessel unable to safely stand unsupported when fully loaded (e.g. flat base, ring-base) or at all (e.g. spike, rounded/pointed base), being generally designed to facilitate handling and stacking. Criteria a), b) and c) are based purely on function. The rims and handles encountered on amphorae display a dizzying variation in size and appearance, and could therefore never be used as morphological criteria to define if a vessel is an amphora or not. The same effectively goes for the bodies of amphorae, which is also why I have dismissed having a distinct neck as part of the criterion. Rims, handles and bodies are typologically distinct though and play an integral role in further classifying amphorae in types, as well as aid in dating. Moreover for criterion c), I have specifically kept the thickness of the walls out of the equation, which varies significantly between types and periods. While amphora walls are notably thicker than those of other pottery - something which is in itself quite useful during finds determination in surveys - it is primarily the presence or additions of inclusions that strengthen those walls instead of their thickness (and also further characterize a fragment as belonging to an amphora).28 Most containers were thus strong enough to be stacked in a ship as such, due to a combination of wall thickness and inclusions in the clay. Vessels with generally thinner walls and fewer inclusions then, like the Gauloise 4, would have had need of a protective casing as is known to have existed. Criterion d) integrates the musings of Callender to sidestep the spike vs. flat base issue by adding the inability to safely stand unsupported at all, or at least when filled. This criterion does not focus on the ‘third handle’ function which the spike clearly had, but rather on the result of a morphological choice. Be it spike or flat base, rounded or pointed; the vast majority of filled amphorae cannot be assumed to stand without support, as it was either wholly impossible or the risk of falling over would have been too great. Some might have been able to stand precariously, but one would most probably not have bet on it. 28 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 45 - 18 -
1.3. AMPHORAE: TECHNICAL ASPECTS 1.3.1. Primary uses of amphorae: wine Wine was a central focus of Greek life, and it therefore comes as no surprise that the majority of Greek amphorae were meant for transporting this beverage. Greek wines were of such quality and regard that they were still much appreciated in Roman times, especially Rhodian and Koan vintages. The latter’s way of production, being with added seawater, is said to have been the direct cause of the transition from Dressel 1 to Dressel 2-4 amphorae (see 1.4.4). In Late Roman times wine was still exported from the Aegean, all the way up until the 7th century AD. Italian wines were certainly at the top of the market as well, for wines as Falernian, Setine, Alban and Caecuban belong to the most famed wines in history. Falernian was a sweet white wine with a high alcoholic content (about 16%) that became better and more valuable as it aged, and was made in three vineyards between Latium and Campania (ager Falernus). It would remain one of Italy’s prime export products, even when large-scale wine export contracted severely in the 2nd century AD. Setine was made near Setia in the Monti Lepini and Pliny states that it was the favorite wine of Augustus (one of the few wines that did not give him indigestion), while Alban wine ranked high among the upper class of Rome. Caecuban heralded from one vineyard near Fundi and Terracina, and was said to be the best wine of the 1st century BC, being smoother than Falernian and fuller than Alban. It was soon overshadowed by Falernian and Setine though and Pliny states that Nero practically caused the already neglected wine’s extinction by destroying the sole vineyard when digging a canal through the area near Baiae.29 All these famed wines came from Latium or Campania and were the primary export products of those regions. Wines from Spain were prized as well, especially those coming from Tarraconensis. These were exported to France and Italy in great quantities, until the superior Gallic wines from Narbonensis caused the contraction of Hispanic wine export. The Narbonese wines rose to prominence in the 2nd century AD, overshadowing and out-competing both Italian and Spanish wine exports. Gallic wine remained top tier for the rest of the Roman period, and its reputation is essentially still relatively undiminished in modern times. In the Late Roman period, wines from the East occupied a central position in the market. They had always been exported, but from the 4th century AD onwards Palestine, Egyptian and Turkish wines gained a great deal of popularity in the West. Large-scale trade however ceased in the 7th century AD with the Arab conquests. 29 Tchernia 1986, pp. 201-202 ; Tchernia & Brun 1999, pp. 26-28, 133 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 24-26 - 19 -
1.3.2. Primary uses of amphorae: olive oil Olive oil was the second most important essential of Roman life. It was used in the preparation of food, in oil-lamps, in medicine, etc. In the early days of the Republic, Italy seems to have been almost self- sufficient with regards to olive oil, perhaps only receiving small supplies of Greek oil periodically. It would not be until the Early Imperial period that the population of the country, and especially of Rome itself, increased to such an amount that large-scale import of olive oil became a necessity. From Augustan times to the 3rd century AD the massive amounts of olive oil needed by the Roman heartland came from Spain. For three centuries straight, dozens of workshops along the Guadalquivir river in Baetica (present-day Andalusia) produced millions of amphorae, of which Dressel 20 is the best known (see 1.4.5), to transport the oil across the sea. For a long time Baetica had a virtual monopoly on olive oil, until competition from the North African provinces increased dramatically under the rule of Septimius Severus, who also confiscated most Baetican estates and placed them under imperial control. In the Imperial period massive amounts of olive oil were distributed among the population of Rome (and later on in the entire country) for free, which made it a matter of the state to produce enough of the precious liquid. Olive oil from Tripolitania and Africa Proconsularis would be dominant for the next three centuries, carried abroad in distinct cylindrical amphorae. Many of these were destined for Rome itself, and there are almost as many Tripolitanian 3 sherds in Monte Testaccio as there are of Dressel 20 (see 1.4.7). It is wholly possible, although not yet proven, that the millions of vessels forming that hill in Rome are specifically meant for the annona olearia (the aforementioned free distribution of olive oil) while the vessels found elsewhere in the Mediterranean represent free market trading. This would then imply that certain forms of amphorae could be tied to either one of these mechanisms (redistribution or free market trade). This might not have been as much of an issue during the Baetican monopoly as Dressel 20 was at that point in time the most widely used amphora and the annona was not as developed back then, but it is intriguing that nearly all Tripolitanian 3 vessels were destined for Rome and are hardly found anywhere else in large amounts.30 1.3.3. Primary uses of amphorae: fish sauce While both wine and olive oil were produced in the so-called villa system, the third of the most important amphora-borne commodities was produced in dedicated coastal facilities. A taste for fish sauce, prized as a condiment in various dishes instead of salt, would have been transferred to the Romans by Phocaean Greeks and later on by the Carthaginians. It was at first essentially a by-product from the facilities that caught, prepared and conserved fish, although a larger part of the industry 30 Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 28-30 ; Callender 1965, pp. 49-50 - 20 -
became dedicated to its manufacture as it rose in popularity. These installations were mostly located at the seaboard, both out of obvious practical reasons and because later edicts forbade these facilities being built anywhere near a population center (although often thought otherwise, fish sauce only seems to have reeked during production). Fish sauce was made by fermenting the intestines and waste parts of a variety of fish and afterwards adding extra ingredients, which essentially resulted in a briny fluid which greatly enhanced the taste of food. The brine is known as muria (presumably the Baetican word for fish sauce), while the sediment remaining after the liquid has been drawn of is called allec/allex/hallex, which was used as a fish paste. The generic term for fish sauces seems to have been liquamen. The most well-known fish sauce is garum, the best of which was made with either mackerel or tuna, depending on the subjectivity of the historical source (e.g. Martial states mackerel is best, and tuna is inferior). This garum sociorum was made at Carthago Nova (Cartagena) in Baetica. However, many other types of garum are known depending on their added/mixed ingredients, such as hydrogarum (with water), oenogarum (with wine), oxygarum (with vinegar), and mellogarum (with honey). The differing forms of Baetican fish sauce amphorae might well have been an indication to the buyer of its contents (i.e. the specific kind of sauce). Fish sauce was undoubtedly made in Italy as well, although fish were actually quite scarce along her coasts (see also 3.2.3). An interesting speculation is made by Brandizzi Vittucci, who muses that Antium might have produced liquamen. The base of that idea is an amphora found there with the stamp liq(uamen) antia(tinum) exc(ellens). She also connects this production with the fish basins located at every villa marittima between Antium and Torre Astura. Unfortunately she does not relay the amphora type in question.31 The primary installations of fish sauce production were located along both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar, in Baetica and Mauretania (roughly present-day Morocco). Other important facilities can be found on the coasts of Lusitania (Portugal) and Gallia Narbonensis (southern France). Until the 3rd century AD Baetica and Mauretania had a near monopoly on the export of fish sauce, transporting them in dedicated and distinct amphorae (see 1.4.5). These containers were all supposed to have come from Baetica, as up to the publication by Peacock & Williams in 1986 there seemed to be an almost complete absence of amphora kilns in Morocco that produced amphorae dedicated to fish sauce.32 Recently however North African amphorae are being reappraised and it is quite possible that forms classically associated with olive oil may have been carriers for fish products as well.33 31 Brandizzi Vittucci 2000, pp. 132, footnote 618 32 Peacock & Williams 1991, pp. 41 33 e.g. Gibbins 2001 - 21 -
In the 3rd century AD, together with the contraction of its olive oil export, Baetica lost ground in the fish sauce trade. Mauretania remained producing, as did Lusitania (with its own line of amphorae now). North Africa not only took over the olive oil export from Baetica, it also started to produce fish sauce on a large scale until the 7th century AD.34 1.3.4. Primary uses of amphorae: other commodities While the three aforementioned commodities were undoubtedly the most prevalent in amphorae, they were definitely not the only possible contents. Other products that were transported in amphorae are mentioned in both Peacock & Williams and Caravale & Toffoletti, but it is Callender that gives a more extensive summary with the help of encountered amphora stamps. Amphorae are most often seen as carriers of liquid goods, of which wine, olive oil and fish sauce were the most important. Derivates of wine were also transported however, such as defrutum and caroenum. The first was a sweet liquid acquired by boiling the must, while the latter required the boiling down of wine to a third of its original volume and the subsequent addition of honey. Both products were probably transported indiscriminately in standard wine amphorae most of the time, but we know of one form that was renowned for transporting defrutum (Haltern 70) and one of which it is sure it carried caroenum as well as ‘normal’ wine (Late Roman 3). Callender also mentions oliva nigra ex defruto as amphora contents, as in black olives that had been soaked in defrutum to sweeten them. Olives thus also were transported in amphorae, whether already processed in some way or normally. The same can be said for grapes and fish. The raw resources of wine, olive oil and fish sauce were thus also carried. Salted fish was the primary product of the coastal facilities that also yielded its byproduct fish sauce, and it seems the same amphorae were used for both commodities. It is not known if grapes and olives were perhaps transported in smaller amphorae than those used for their derived liquids, or if the same amphorae were used. It is likely though, as smaller amphorae such as Dressel 21-22, Camulodunum 189 and the Spatheion were used for transport of fruits. Dressel 21-22 was used exclusively for the storage and transport of (dried) fruits, such as cherries and plums. Camulodunum 189 is said to have contained dates, while olives are mentioned as one of the many possible contents of the Spatheion. Callender furthermore lists figs, damsons and peaches as fruits mentioned in historical sources in relation to amphorae. Examples of miscellaneous products archaeologically found in or attributed historically to amphorae, as listed by Callender are: nuts, pepper, honey, unguents, herbs, water, milk (Greek amphorae), hair- remover, medicines, vinegar (Egyptian amphorae), urine (see 1.3.5), flour and grain. Amphorae containing grain was a - for long dismissed - suggestion by the historian Rostovtzeff (see 2.4), but 34 Id., pp. 35-38 ; Caravale & Toffoletti 1997, pp. 32-33 - 22 -
recent finds have proven him right nonetheless. Callender finally mentions the massive find of 1.350.000 amphorae in Turin, which were all found upside down and sealed tight. Each was filled with very finely washed and levigated (potters’?) clay. Such products encountered sporadically in amphorae might not be standard issue for these vessels as wine, olive oil and fish sauce were, but they do give a good indication of the multifunctional nature of amphorae.35 1.3.5. Secondary uses of amphorae The multifunctional nature of amphorae is both a boon and a curse, as these vessels were often used for long periods after their original contents had been consumed or otherwise used. This of course made them very practical for the people in Antiquity from a functional vantage point, but it also makes it very difficult for scholars of modern day to use amphorae as accurate dating tools. While a great deal of amphorae were broken and discarded after they had fulfilled their primary function, as happened with the enormous amounts of Dressel 20 vessels in Rome, a lot of containers were surely reused. They might have been refilled with local products, or even used in a wholly different fashion. Again it is Callender who lists several examples of what he calls ‘secondary use survival’, i.e. the survival of amphorae in other uses after the primary commodity has been used or consumed. One of the most well known secondary uses is the amphora burial. Callender distinguishes four types of amphora burials: a) Italian (Dressel 1) amphorae as grave gifts filled with imported Campanian wine (upper elite); b) Italian (Dressel 1) amphora without wine, but with ashes and sometimes other grave gifts inside (lower elite); c) Spanish globular (Dressel 20?) amphorae with ashes and often accompanied by grave gifts (common people); d) amphorae as coffins (the poorest people). The first three
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