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Pithos

Greek term for a large, thick-walled and bulbous vessel (plural pithoi) made of stoneware or clay. It was similar to an amphora, but in contrast to this vessel, which tapered to a point at the bottom, it usually had a flat base so that it could also be kept standing up. It was up to more than a man high and had eyelets at the top through which ropes could be pulled for transport. It was used in ancient Greece, especially in the Aegean cultural area, as a storage and transport container for grain, honey, olive oil, salt and wine. The surface was smooth or structurally designed by band patterns in beige, sand, brown and red ochre. In a cellar in Zagora on the Cycladic island of Andros, 47 pithoi for wine were found. In addition, it was also used for burying the dead. The philosopher Diogenes (410-323 BC) is said to have lived in a pithos for a time. Similar vessels are dolium (Roman), kvevri (Georgian), talha (Portuguese) and tinaja (Spanish). See also a complete listing under Wine Vessels.

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