Southern Italy was populated by a large number of Greek colonies from the 8th century BC onwards – so much so that the Romans referred to the area as Magna Graecia – Great Greece. The pottery attributed to the Gnathia style is so termed after the site of Gnathia (present-day Egnazia), which is located on the Adriatic coast of Apulia. Gnathia ware was famed for its glossy black slip pottery and for its polychromatic decoration – often using shades of white, ochre and red. The most interesting feature of this fine vessel is the Herakles knot to the handle. The Herakles Knot, although already in use from Egyptian times, was very popular in Ancient Greece and Rome. It was used as a symbol of unity and protectiveness and was often associated with marriage. The knot was thought to ward off evil.
Gnathia Black Ware Jug with Herakles Knot
A finely modelled Ancient Greek terracotta black slip ware jug from Gnathia, a Greek colony in southern Italy. The vessel features a short pedestal foot, a rounded ribbed body, a short neck and an everted mouth. One single applied handle connects the shoulder to the rim. The handle is further enriched with a Herakles knot. The jug displays a lovely floral decoration to the neck, rendered in white paint, and comprising a stylised flower. The jug’s upper body is simply decorated with a thin band of dark brown pigment.
Condition: Fine with signs of aging and earthly encrustations on the surface. Minor chip to the rim.