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Glossary

Acroteria: The decorative elements, typically of terra-cotta or stone, which were placed on the roofs of temples.

Amphora: A two-handled jar used for the storage and transport of oil, wine, and other commodities.

Aphrodite (Venus): Goddess of sex, desire, and fertility.

Aryballos: A small, personal-use vessel used by both men and women for the storage of perfumes and scented oils.

Bilingual: A term used to describe vessels manufactured in the last half of the sixth century which incorporate both the black-figure and red-figure traditions.

Black-Figure: A Greek vase-painting technique in which, prior to firing, the contours of figures were painted upon the clay. These figures were then filled in with a black slip, and details were incised to reveal the underlying clay. After the vessel was fired, additional colors such as red, white, or yellow were added to enhance aspects of detail.

Chiton: The basic form of Greek dress worn by both men and women. The chiton consisted of sewing two sheets of fabric together along the sides, which were then pinned or buttoned along the top.

Demeter (Ceres): Goddess of agriculture and fertility. She is the mother of Persephone (Proserpina) and is often portrayed with a scepter, corn, or torches.

Dionysos (Dionysus, Bacchus): God of wine, intoxication, and theater. He is commonly depicted with an ivy wreath, fawn or panther skin, and a drinking cup and is attended by satyrs and maenads.

Eros (Cupid): God of desirous love. A companion of Aphrodite (Venus), he is a playful figure who can appear anytime there is a romantic situation. Eros (Cupid) is commonly depicted as a winged youth, sometimes holding a lyre or a bow and arrows.

Filigree: Ornamental metalwork composed of finely-wrought wire, often of gold or silver.

Fresco: A type of wall painting executed on fresh plaster using water-based pigments. As the plaster dries, the pigment becomes fixed in the wall.

Gilding: A decorative technique involving the application of a thin layer of either gold-leaf or gold powder to the surface of an object. This can be bonded to the object using adhesives such as glue, egg whites, or mercury.

Glass Inlay: Also known as enamel, this decorative technique involved fusing glass pastes or salts to the surface of an object.

Gnathian Ware: A vase-painting tradition developed near the South Italian town of Gnathia. Popularized during the fourth and third centuries BCE, this style was marked by the addition of colors, particularly white, yellow, and red, upon a black-slipped ground. These colors were applied with an even-handed approach, differentiating Gnathian wares from earlier added-color traditions.

Gorgon: In Greek mythology, a class of female monster whose terrifying appearance turned anyone who saw them into stone. Artists commonly depicted the heads of these creatures as devices meant to ward off evil.

Hades (Pluto): God of the underworld, death, and the dead.

Himation: A form of mantle or wrap worn by both Greek men and women. Consisting of a piece of large, rectangular fabric, the himation could be worn in various ways depending on the situation, including as a cloak or head covering.

Krater: Large vessels used for mixing wine and water. They held funerary significance, as they were used as grave markers and cinerary urns.

Kylix: A drinking cup characterized by its stemmed foot and two horizontal handles.

Lekanis: A shallow, footed dish used for storing small items or serving food.

Lekythos: A vessel used to store oils or perfumes. These were commonly used as grave markers, and their decoration often reflected this purpose.

Monochromatic: A color scheme consisting of one color.

Oinochoe: A pitcher used for pouring wine or other liquids.

Olpe: A vessel used for pouring wine. Its shape was a favorite of Corinthian potters and vase painters.

Patina: A thin layer which forms on the surface of metals such as bronze or silver resulting from chemical reaction spurred by the natural interactions of an object with the atmosphere or soil or caused by treating the object with metallic salts.

Pediment: Triangular-shaped architectural elements which formed the front and back of temple roofs. Originally plain, pediments were often decorated with sculptural programs and painted.

Persephone (Proserpina): The goddess of the underworld. The daughter of Demeter (Ceres), she became the wife of Hades (Pluto) following her abduction.

Polychromatic: A color scheme consisting of multiple colors.

Red-Figure: A Greek vase-painting technique which emerged in sixth-century Athens and inverted the color scheme of black-figure, using the reserve clay body as the main color for images, which were set against a background of painted black slip. Details were also painted in black slip rather than incised into vessel, allowing greater flexibility in their rendering.

Repoussé: A metalworking technique which involves hammering the reverse or inner side of an object in order to create figural or ornamental patterns and images.

Satyr: A class of rustic divinities closely associated with Dionysos (Dionysus, Bacchus), among other gods. Associated with drinking, dancing, and drunken merriment, satyrs were typically portrayed as men with animal-like features, including pointed ears and tails.

Skyphos: A drinking vessel characterized by its deep bowl.

Strigil: A curved, metal instrument used for cleaning the body by scraping dirt, sweat, and other impurities off of the skin.

Symposium: The traditional Greek drinking party for elite males. The event provided a forum for such topics as politics and poetry and played a crucial role in the spread and strengthening of aristocratic values.

Tesserae: Small pieces of colored stone or glass used for constructing mosaics.

Tondo: A term referring to circular-shaped decorative work, particularly painting and sculpture, this is often used to describe painting done in the rounded interior of drinking vessels.

Underdrawing: A sketch or sketches made upon a painted surface prior to the addition of pigment which serves as a plan or guide for the artist.