Greek Gnathian Thistle Cup


A Greek South Italian drinking vessel, a type known as a thistle cup (so-called after its resemblance to a thistle in shape). The cup has a wide round rim and a bulbous body; stands on a short foot; and has a small looped handle to one side of the neck. The mug is adorned with several bands of very stylised grape vine motif. There is a reserved band just below the belly.

Date: Circa 3rd century BC
Condition: Very Fine; surfaces a little rubbed in places; a few light accretions. Complete and intact.


SKU: AS-3664 Category: Tags: ,

The vases attributed to the “Gnathia style” are so termed after the site of Gnathia (present-day Egnazia), which is located on the Adriatic coast of Apulia. The decorative technique used for these vases consisted of the application of colours on a coat of black varnish. Scholars believe that its production most likely was centred around Taras, with primary workshops in Egnathia and Canosa. The quantity and quality of Greek colonial Apulian potters increased significantly following the Peloponnesian War, when Attic exports were drastically reduced. Apulian artistry displays the influences of Ionian (Athenian, Attic) conventions, as well as of Doric (western colonial Greek) styles, whilst maintaining a native Italian aesthetic. 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’. These Greek colonies were instrumental in bringing Greek culture and thought to Italy, greatly influencing Roman literature, philosophy, and material culture in turn.

To find out more about different types of Greek vessel please see our relevant blog post: Collecting Greek Vases.

Weight 109 g
Dimensions W 6.75 x H 10.5 cm

Pottery and Porcelain