old form ἀμφιφορεύς
, Horn. Il. 23.107
, &c.; Schol. in Apollon.
; Simon. in Anth. Pal
1. A large vessel, which derived its name from its being made with a handle
on each side of the neck (from ἀμφί,
on both sides,
), whence also it was called diota,
that is, a vessel with two
(δλωτος, δίωτος στάμνος
p. 288 D; Ath. xi. p. 473 c; Moeris, s. v. ἀμφορέα;
Hor. Carm. 9
). The form and size varied, but it was generally made tall and
narrow. and terminating in a point, which could be let into a stand
Amphorae. (British Museum.)
) or into the ground, to keep the vessel
upright; several amphorae have been found in this position in the cellars at
Pompeii. The above cut represents amphorae in the British Museum.
The usual material of the amphora was earthenware (Hor. de Arte
21), whence it was also called testa
1.20, 2): but Homer mentions them
of gold and of stone (Il. 23.92
; Od. 24.74
); and in later times glass amphorae were not uncommon
(Petron. 34); several have been found at Pompeii. Nepos mentions, as a great
rarity, amphorae of onyx, as large as Chian cadi
(ap. Plin. Nat. 36.59
The name of the maker, or of the place of manufacture, was sometimes stamped
upon them: this is the case with two in the Elgin collection. [FICTILE
Amphorae were used for the preservation of various things which required
careful keeping, such as wine, oil, honey, grapes, olives, and other fruits
(Hom. Il. 23.170
; Cato, R.
10.2; Colum. R. R.
12.16, 47; Hor.
2.15; Cic. Ver. 4.74
for pickled meats (Xen. Anab. 5.4.28
and for molten gold and lead (Hdt. 3.96
; Nepos, Hann. 9
). There is in the
British Museum a vessel resembling an amphora, which contains the fine
African sand used by the athletae. It was found, with seventy others, in the
baths of Titus, in 1772. Respecting the use of the amphora in the streets of
Rome, see Petron. 70, 79; Propert. 4.5, 73; Macr.
; and the commentators on Lucretius, 4.1023
. Homer and Sophocles mention amphorae as used for
cinerary urns (Il. 23.91
; Soph. Fr.
303, Dind.); and
a discovery was made at Salona, in 1825, which proves that they were used as
coffins: the amphora was divided in half in the direction of its length to
receive the corpse, and the two, halves were put together again and buried
in the earth: the skeletons were found still entire. (Steinbüchel,
p. 67.) Amphorae of particular kinds
were used for various other purposes, such as the amphora
for irrigation (Cato, Cat.
), and the amphora spartea,
which was perhaps a wicker amphora for gathering grapes in
§ 2. Cf.
iii. p. 399
The most important employment of the amphora was for the preservation of
wine: its use for this purpose is fully described under VINUM
The following woodcut, taken
Amphorae and wine-cart.
painting on the wall of a house at Pompeii, represents the mode of
filling the amphora from a wine-cart.
There is an interesting account of the use of [p. 1.116]
amphora among the Egyptians, in Sir G. Wilkinson's Ancient
vol. ii. pp. 157-160.
The amphorae intended for purposes of decoration were furnished with a base,
and were generally adorned with figures representing some scene from
mythology or from ordinary life. They differed chiefly in the shape of the
body and in the form of the handles, which were sometimes plain, sometimes
ridgedorgrooved. The most ancient form is styled “Egyptian;” it
has plain handles, and the shoulders of the vase are
Tyrrhene Amphora. (Dennis, Etruria.）
rounded, so as to meet the neck at meet the neck at almost right
angles. The second, or archaic Greek style, is called
“Tyrrhene.” It has a fuller body and a thicker neck, and the
greatest diameter of the vase is about half its height.
To the class of decorated amphorae belong the Panathenaic amphorae, or
amphorae given as prizes in the games at the Panathenaic festival and
containing the holy oil. These had on one side a figure of Athene Promachos,
with helmet, shield and spear, in the attitude of attack, with the
inscription τῶν Ἀθήνηθεν ἄθλων εἰμί;
Panathenaic Amphora. (British Museum.)
the other, a representation of the contest in which the prize had
The “Nolan” amphora excels in simplicity and purity of design,
as well as beauty of execution. It has red figures, on the black ground of
the vase. It is slighter and more elegant than the forms already described.
It is found not
only at Nola, but in Sicily and Etruria. (For details, see Dennis,
vol. i. p. cix.)
2. The name amphora
was also applied both by the
Greeks and the Romans to a definite measure of capacity, which, however, was
different among the two peoples, the Roman amphora being only two-thirds of
the Greek ἀμφορεύς.
In both cases the word
appears to be an abbreviation, the full phrase being in Greek ἀμφορεὺς μετρητής
), and in Latin amphora
(the cubic amphora
“Quadrantal vocabant antiqui amphoram,”
p. 258.) Respecting the measures themselves, see METRETES, QUADRANTAL. At Rome a standara amphora,
called amphora Capitolina,
was kept in the
temple of Jupiter on the Capitol (Rhemn. Fann. de Pond.
4). The size of ships was estimated by
amphorae (Cic. Fam. 12.1. 5
; Liv. 21.63
); and the produce of a vineyard was
reckoned by the number of amphorae,
or of culei
(of twenty amphorae each), which it yielded.