This vessel is significantly larger than a standard kylix, and comparatively quite shallow, suggesting its use in a ceremonial context. Wine would have been sipped from this vessel as it was passed around, thereby emphasising the unity of the group.
The lustrous black gloss of this vessel indicates that it is from the Apulian region of southern Italy. Southern Italy was populated by a vast 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’. These Greek colonies were instrumental in bringing Greek culture and thought to Italy, greatly influencing Roman literature, philosophy, and material culture in turn. Items from Apulia are characterised by the glossy black glaze covering the dish, and by polychromatic pigments of white, ochre, and maroon.