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The Georgicks of Virgil, with an English Translation and Notes Virgil, John Martyn Ipsi in defossis specubus secura sub alta Otia agunt terra, congestaque robora, Pierius says it is confecto in the Roman manuscript. And Tacitus also says the Germans used to make caves to defend them from the severity of winter, .

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Terra sigillata

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Country: USA. Language: English. Filming Locations: Auguste R. Runtime: 55 min 63 episodes. Sound Mix: Dolby Digital. That picture must itself be seen in relation to the luxury tablewares made of silver. Centuries before Italian terra sigillata was made, Attic painted vases , and later their regional variants made in Italy, involved the preparation of a very fine clay body covered with a slip that fired to a glossy surface without the need for any polishing or burnishing.

Greek painted wares also involved the precise understanding and control of firing conditions to achieve the contrasts of black and red. Glossy-slipped black pottery made in Etruria and Campania continued this technological tradition, though painted decoration gave way to simpler stamped motifs and in some cases, to applied motifs moulded in relief. Relief-decorated cups, some in lead-glazed wares, were produced at several eastern centres, and undoubtedly played a part in the technical and stylistic evolution of decorated Arretine, but Megarian bowls, made chiefly in Greece and Asia Minor, are usually seen as the most direct inspiration.

Arretine ware began to be manufactured at and near Arezzo Tuscany a little before the middle of the 1st century BC. The industry expanded rapidly in a period when Roman political and military influence was spreading far beyond Italy: for the inhabitants of the first provinces of the Roman Empire in the reign of the Emperor Augustus reg. Certainly it epitomised certain aspects of Roman taste and technical expertise.

Pottery industries in the areas we now call north-east France and Belgium quickly began to copy the shapes of plain Arretine dishes and cups in the wares now known as Gallo-Belgic, [22] and in South and Central Gaul, it was not long before local potters also began to emulate the mould-made decoration and the glossy red slip itself. The most recognisable decorated Arretine form is Dragendorff 11, a large, deep goblet on a high pedestal base, closely resembling some silver table vessels of the same period, such as the Warren Cup.

The iconography , too, tended to match the subjects and styles seen on silver plate, namely mythological and genre scenes, including erotic subjects, and small decorative details of swags, leafy wreaths and ovolo egg-and-tongue borders that may be compared with elements of Augustan architectural ornament. The deep form of the Dr. Major workshops, such as those of M.

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Perennius Tigranus, P. Cornelius and Cn. Ateius, stamped their products, and the names of the factory-owners and of the workers within the factories, which often appear on completed bowls and on plain wares, have been extensively studied, as have the forms of the vessels, and the details of their dating and distribution.

Italian sigillata was not made only at or near Arezzo itself: some of the important Arezzo businesses had branch factories in Pisa , and by the beginning of the 1st century AD, the Ateius and Rasinius workshops had set up branch factories at La Muette, near Lyon in Central Gaul. The history of sigillata manufacture in Italy is succinctly summarised in Hayes , pages 41— In the Middle Ages, examples of the ware that were serendipitously discovered in digging foundations in Arezzo drew admiring attention as early as the 13th century, when Restoro d'Arezzo 's massive encyclopedia included a chapter praising the refined Roman ware discovered in his native city, "what is perhaps the first account of an aspect of ancient art to be written since classical times".

The first published study of Arretine ware was that of Fabroni in , [27] and by the late 19th and early 20th centuries, German scholars in particular had made great advances in systematically studying and understanding both Arretine ware and the Gaulish samian that occurred on Roman military sites being excavated in Germany. Dragendorff's classification was expanded by other scholars, including S.

Loeschcke in his study of the Italian sigillata excavated at the early Roman site of Haltern. Sigillata vessels, both plain and decorated, were manufactured at several centres in southern France, including Bram , Montans , La Graufesenque, Le Rozier and Banassac , [30] from the late 1st century BC: of these, La Graufesenque, near Millau, was the principal producer and exporter.

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Although the establishment of sigillata potteries in Gaul may well have arisen initially to meet local demand and to undercut the prices of imported Italian goods, they became enormously successful in their own right, and by the later 1st century AD, South Gaulish samian was being exported not only to other provinces in the north-west of the Empire, but also to Italy and other regions of the Mediterranean, North Africa and even the eastern Empire.

One of the finds in the ruins of Pompeii , destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in August AD 79, was a consignment of South Gaulish sigillata, still in its packing crate; [31] like all finds from the Vesuvian sites, this hoard of pottery is invaluable as dating evidence. South Gaulish samian typically has a redder slip and deeper pink fabric than Italian sigillata. The best slips, vivid red and of an almost mirror-like brilliance, were achieved during the Claudian and early Neronian periods Claudius, reg. AD 41—54; Nero, reg. AD 54— At the same period, some workshops experimented briefly with a marbled red-and-yellow slip, a variant that never became generally popular.

But many new shapes quickly evolved, and by the second half of the 1st century AD, when Italian sigillata was no longer influential, South Gaulish samian had created its own characteristic repertoire of forms. The two principal decorated forms were Dragendorff 30, a deep, cylindrical bowl, and Dragendorff 29, a carinated 'keeled' shallow bowl with a marked angle, emphasised by a moulding, mid-way down the profile.

The footring is low, and potters' stamps are usually bowl-maker's marks placed in the interior base, so that vessels made from the same, or parallel, moulds may bear different names. The rim of the 29, small and upright in early examples of the form, but much deeper and more everted by the 70s of the 1st century, is finished with rouletted decoration, [33] and the relief-decorated surfaces necessarily fall into two narrow zones.

These were usually decorated with floral and foliate designs of wreaths and scrolls at first: the Dr. Small human and animal figures, and more complex designs set out in separate panels, became more popular by the 70s of the 1st century. Larger human and animal figures could be used on the Dr. In the last two decades of the 1st century, the Dragendorff 37, a deep, rounded vessel with a plain upright rim, overtook the 29 in popularity.


This simple shape remained the standard Gaulish samian relief-decorated form, from all Gaulish manufacturing regions, for more than a century. A local industry inspired by Arretine and South Gaulish imports grew up in the Iberian provinces in the 1st century AD. Terra sigillata hispanica developed its own distinctive forms and designs, and continued in production into the late Roman period, the 4th and 5th centuries AD. It was not exported to other regions.

Production had already begun at Lezoux in the Augustan period Augustus, reg. Though it never achieved the extensive geographical distribution of the South Gaulish factories, in the provinces of Gaul and Britain , it was by far the most common type of fine tableware, plain and decorated, in use during the 2nd century AD. The quality of the ware and the slip is usually excellent, and some of the products of Les Martres-de-Veyre, in particular, are outstanding, with a lustrous slip and a very hard, dense body.

Vessel-forms that had been made in South Gaul continued to be produced, though as the decades passed, they evolved and changed with the normal shifts of fashion, and some new shapes were created, such as the plain bowl with a horizontal flange below the rim, Dr. Mortaria , food-preparation bowls with a gritted interior surface, were also made in Central Gaulish samian fabric in the second half of the 2nd century Dr.

There is a small sub-class of Central Gaulish samian ware with a glossy black slip, though the dividing line between black terra sigillata and other fine black-gloss wares, which were also manufactured in the area, is sometimes hazy. When a vessel is a classic samian form and decorated in relief in the style of a known samian potter, but finished with black slip rather than a red one, it may be classed as black samian.

Though the Central Gaulish forms continued and built upon the South Gaulish traditions, the decoration of the principal decorated forms, Dr. Two standard 'plain' types made in considerable numbers in Central Gaul also included barbotine decoration, Dr. During the second half of the 2nd century, some Lezoux workshops making relief-decorated bowls, above all that of Cinnamus, dominated the market with their large production.

From the end of the 2nd century, the export of sigillata from Central Gaul rapidly, perhaps even abruptly, ceased.

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  7. Pottery production continued, but in the 3rd century, it reverted to being a local industry. The Trier potteries evidently began to make samian vessels around the beginning of the 2nd century AD, and were still active until the middle of the 3rd century. The styles and the potters have been divided by scholars into two main phases, Werkstatten I and II. The Rheinzabern kilns and their products have been studied since Wilhelm Ludowici — began to excavate there in , and to publish his results in a series of detailed reports.

    Some of the Dr. But the real strength of the Rheinzabern industry lay in its extensive production of good-quality samian cups, beakers, flagons and vases, many imaginatively decorated with barbotine designs or in the 'cut-glass' incised technique. Ludowici created his own type-series, which sometimes overlaps with those of other sigillata specialists. Ludowici's types use combinations of upper- and lower-case letters rather than simple numbers, the first letter referring to the general shape, such as 'T' for Teller dish.

    In general, the products of the East Gaulish industries moved away from the early imperial Mediterranean tradition of intricately profiled dishes and cups, and ornamented bowls made in moulds, and converged with the later Roman local traditions of pottery-making in the northern provinces, using free-thrown, rounded forms and creating relief designs with freehand slip-trailing. Fashions in fine tablewares were changing. Some East Gaulish producers made bowls and cups decorated only with rouletted or stamped decoration, and in the 3rd and 4th centuries, Argonne ware, decorated with all-over patterns of small stamps, was made in the area east of Rheims and quite widely traded.

    Small, localised attempts to make conventional relief-decorated samian ware included a brief and unsuccessful venture at Colchester in Britain, apparently initiated by potters from the East Gaulish factories at Sinzig, a centre that was itself an offshoot of the Trier workshops. In the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire, there had been several industries making fine red tablewares with smooth, glossy-slipped surfaces since about the middle of the 2nd century BC, well before the rise of the Italian sigillata workshops.

    By the 1st century BC, their forms often paralleled Arretine plain-ware shapes quite closely. A potter's quarter at Sagalassos inland from the southern Turkish coast has been excavated since it was discovered in , and its wares traced to many sites in the region.

    It was active from around 25 to AD. African red slip ware ARS was the final development of terra sigillata. The centres of production were in the Roman provinces of Africa Proconsularis , Byzacena and Numidia ; that is, modern Tunisia and part of eastern Algeria. From about the 4th century AD, competent copies of the fabric and forms were also made in several other regions, including Asia Minor , the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt.

    Over the long period of production, there was obviously much change and evolution in both forms and fabrics. Both Italian and Gaulish plain forms influenced ARS in the 1st and 2nd centuries for example, Hayes Form 2, the cup or dish with an outcurved rim decorated with barbotine leaves, is a direct copy of the samian forms Dr. The ambitious large rectangular dishes with relief decoration in the centre and on the wide rims Hayes Form 56 , were clearly inspired by decorated silver platters of the 4th century, which were made in rectangular and polygonal shapes as well as in the traditional circular form.

    Decorative motifs reflected not only the Graeco-Roman traditions of the Mediterranean, but eventually the rise of Christianity as well. There is a great variety of monogram crosses and plain crosses amongst the stamps. In contrast to the archaeological usage, in which the term terra sigillata refers to a whole class of pottery, in contemporary ceramic art , 'terra sigillata' describes only a watery refined slip used to facilitate the burnishing of raw clay surfaces to promote glossy surface effects in low fire techniques, including primitive and unglazed alternative western-style Raku firing.

    Terra sigillata is also used as a brushable decorative colourant medium in higher temperature glazed ceramic techniques.

    Terra sigillata - Wikipedia

    In the German potter Karl Fischer re-invented the method of making terra sigillata of Roman quality and obtained patent protection for this procedure at the Kaiserliche Patentamt in Berlin. Modern terra sigillata is made by allowing the clay particles to separate into layers by particle size.

    For undisturbed deflocculated slip settling in a transparent container, these layers are usually visible within 24 hours. Siphoning off the topmost layers of slip, which contain the smallest clay particles, produces terra sigillata. The remaining larger clay-particle layers are discarded. Terra sigillata is usually brushed or sprayed in thin layers onto dry or almost dry unfired ware. The ware is then burnished with a soft cloth before the water in the terra sigillata soaks into the porous body or with a hard, smooth-surfaced object.

    Higher firing temperatures tend to remove the burnished effect because the clay particles start to recrystalize.