Name for a vessel made of clay, earthenware, bronze and more rarely also from Glass, The Greek name "Amphora" is derived from the fact that the vessel could be "carried two handles" ("amphi" = "carrying two handles" and "phéro" = "carrying"). For larger volumes or weights, this was done by two people. It was probably made by the Canaanites, the ancestors of the Phoenicians, invented and 1500 BC AD Egypt brought. The amphorae became the most popular vessel in the world antiquity, which was used for liquids of all kinds, especially for oil or wine. It was later used by the Greeks until after China brought.
The classic wine amphora was a bulbous clay pot with two handles on a narrow neck and a tapered lower part. Most of the time, amphorae had no feet, so they could not be placed without a mostly three-legged stand, but were also stored lying down or hung on the handles. They were also often used for ship transport, for which purpose they were stuck in a thick layer of sand with the pointed base. There were various forms, including the Attic Pelike (also Stamnos) with a fixed base and short neck, which was mainly used for the storage and transport of wine and oil, but also as an urn for storing the ashes in tombs. Small amphorae for ointment oils, perfumes or fragrances were used as Amphoriskos designated.
The size was very different. Greek amphorae for wine held about 40 liters; with the Romans "Amphora" was also used as a unit of measure for 26 liters (see under congius the ancient Roman dimensions). The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (90-21 BC) writes that when trading between Romans and Celts (in the 5th century BC) the equivalent of only one amphora of wine was a slave, but that was certainly not the true equivalent. Often the amphorae were covered with wax or resin poured out. In Greece it was customary to cover the surface of the wine with a layer of resin and oil before capping to increase the shelf life. This is how the traditional Harz wine is made Retsina emerged.
Amphorae were sealed with plugs made of terracotta (burned earth), which were fastened with string and then sealed with lacquer, clay or pitch. This made the container airtight and the wine contained in it could be stored for a long time. The famous one referred to as "Opimian" Falernian has been preserved in amphorae for 100 years and longer. Also one labeling was already common among the Romans. Since the vintage was the only way to differentiate between wines until the development of renowned growing regions, the amphorae were labeled accordingly. Such labels were written on either the belly or neck of the amphorae with ink, red lead (lead oxide) or white paint. They also hung on the neck in the form of tablets.
The two most important labels were the age and the variety. Sometimes even warehouse information or the date of racking was given, the color only if a growing area produced both white and red wine. Occasionally, quality attributes such as "bonum" or "excellens" were found on the tablets. But even then there was already one misnomer, such as the Falernian, Clay pots were like the amphorae Dolium (Roman Empire) and pithos (Greece), as well as those still used today Kvevri (Georgia) and tinaja (Spain) These were or are much larger with up to several 1,000 liters. Today, amphorae are increasingly used in the fermentation and / or maturation of wines made according to ancient methods. See under Kachetic procedure and Orange Wine,
Amphorae Apulia: By AlMare - Own WEerk, CC BY-SA 3.0 , Link
Amphorae Croatia: Von Silverije - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 , Link
Amphora Shipwreck: By Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay
Amphora terracotta: by Capri23auto from Pixabay