A Stamped Greek Amphora Handle, Rhodes, Hellenistic Period, ca. 3rd - 2nd century BCE
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Of fired terracotta, with stamped impression positioned at the top of the handle, circular in the form stating merchant name and featuring the central motif of a rose - the symbol of Rhodes.
In Greece, the manufacturing of commercial amphorae began in the 8th century BCE and the systematic stamping of amphorae began at the end of the 5th century BCE Stamping probably started because of the wine quality standards demanded by Athens during this time but only the amphorae used for transportation were stamped.
A series of Rhodian stamps started to appear in the 4th century BCE and lasted until the 1st century BCE. As in other city governments, the manufacturers from Rhodes had their own symbols, namely, the rose pattern signifying the city (such as this example), the sun God Helios or the name of a month from the Rhodian calendar. Generally stamped before firing, these stamps were further used as capacity documents stating the weight for harbour taxes, the merchant and customers, and the manufacturing/filling date according to the Rhodes calendar. The Rhodian amphora stamps could also show the route of exportation from the mainland to the various colonies and settlements in the Mediterranean.
Dimensions: Length: 6 inches (15 cm), Width: 5 inches (12.7 cm)
Condition: Originally from a transportation amphora, the handle itself is intact with a very fine stamped impression.
Provenance: Private Maryland collection acquired between 1968 - 1969.