What are Greek pots called? Discover the History and Beauty of These Timeless Vessels.

Greek pots used for carrying water are commonly known as hydrias. These hydrias were created by both the Greeks and Etruscans and were crafted from either clay or bronze. Hydrias were highly functional vessels that could carry immense amounts of water, especially during times of gathering and festive occasions. What makes these vessels distinct is their unique design, which include three handles, two of them for carrying and the third one for pouring. Here are some additional facts about hydrias:
  • Hydrias were used not only for carrying water, but also for storing other liquids, such as olive oil and wine.
  • The name hydria was derived from the Greek word hydor, which means water.
  • Hydrias are often depicted in ancient Greek and Etruscan art, particularly in scenes of women fetching water from springs or wells.
  • Some hydrias were highly decorated with scenes depicting Greek mythology, while others were more simple in design.
  • Hydrias were one of the most common types of Greek pottery, and their design varied depending on the region in which they were made.
  • Overall, hydrias were an important part of everyday life in ancient Greece and Etruria, and serve as a reminder of the ingenuity and practicality of these ancient civilizations.

    Origins of the Hydria

    The hydria is a Greek or Etruscan vessel that was commonly used to carry water. The name hydria is derived from the Greek word hydor, which means water. Hydrias were made out of either clay or bronze and typically had three handles. Two were used for carrying the vessel, while the third was used to pour the water. Greek potters were known for their exceptional skill in creating these vessels, which often featured elaborate decorations and mythological scenes.
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    Characteristics of Hydrias

    The hydria is a medium-sized vessel that typically measures around 40cm in height and 30cm in diameter. It features a large belly, narrow neck, and flared rim, which made it easier to pour water without spilling. Hydrias were known for their three handles, which were usually shaped like the heads of animals, people, or mythical creatures. The two side handles were used for carrying the vessel, while the single handle on the back of the hydria was used for pouring.

    Uses of Hydrias

    Hydrias were primarily used to carry and pour water in ancient Greece and Etruria. They were also used for decorative or ceremonial purposes and were often given as gifts. In addition to their practical uses, hydrias played an important role in Greek funerary practices. They were often placed in tombs along with other pottery and household items, such as lamps and cups, that were believed to be necessary for the afterlife.

    Differences between Greek and Etruscan Hydrias

    While hydrias were used in both ancient Greece and Etruria, there were some notable differences between the two styles. Greek hydrias were typically more ornate and featured intricate decorations, such as depictions of gods, goddesses, and mythological scenes. Etruscan hydrias, on the other hand, were often more simplistic in design and were sometimes left unadorned. Additionally, Etruscan hydrias were typically larger than their Greek counterparts and were more commonly made out of bronze rather than clay.

    Hydrias in Greek Art and Mythology

    Hydrias played an important role in Greek art and mythology. Many Greek vase paintings featured hydrias, often depicting scenes of women filling them with water. In the myth of Heracles, the hero was tasked with retrieving the golden apples of the Hesperides, which were guarded by a dragon. To distract the dragon, Heracles poured water from a hydria onto the ground, causing the dragon to go to sleep. Hydrias were also commonly used in Greek funerary practices and were often placed in tombs as offerings to the deceased.
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    How to Identify a Hydria

    Identifying a hydria is relatively straightforward. Look for a vessel that measures around 40cm in height and 30cm in diameter, with a large belly, narrow neck, and flared rim. Hydrias will have three handles: two on either side for carrying and one on the back for pouring. The handles are often elaborately decorated, featuring the heads of animals, people, or mythical creatures.

    Hydria Collecting and Care Tips

    If you’re interested in collecting hydrias, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, be aware that authentic hydrias can be quite costly, so it’s important to do your research and only purchase from reputable dealers. When caring for your hydria, avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures or drastic changes in humidity, as this can cause cracking or damage. To clean your hydria, use a soft cloth or brush and mild soap, and avoid abrasive cleaners or scrubbers. Lastly, display your hydria in a safe place, away from direct sunlight and other potential hazards.

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