1 - 1 From Mycenae to Geometric Period

@Since 16th century BC, Greek pottery workshops started producing painted vessels[1]. Although the style is strongly influenced by that of Crete (fig.1), the latter's naturalistic representations became more stylised which expecting the tradition of later periods. The end of Mycenian civilisation in 12th century BC leads so-called dark age with less archaeological sites and objects than the previous and succeeding periods. From the excavations at Kerameikos, Athens, however, testified continual development of the style from the Bronze age[2].


This new style is called "Geometric style" after the way of decoration; dividing the surface into several friezes filled with geometric patterns such as meanders, diamonds and lattices[3]. Pottery before the birth of the geometric style has concentric circles or semi-circles and the style is called Protogeometric. This Geometric pottery was produced at many regions of Greece and her colonies and their styles share similar characters. In the late Geometric period, figure decoration is introduced and battle and funeral scenes were depicted [4] (Fig2, Fig3, Fig4).




In the 8th century with more strong connection with Near East, the old tradition of the geometric style ceased and eastern patterns were adopted. This Orientalizing style was introduced by Corinthian workshops and then spreaded to other regions.

[1] For the Mycenian pottery, see Furumark, A. The Mycenaean Pottery and The Chronology of Mycenaenean Pottery, (1941)
[2] For the development of Athenian pottery from Mycenian to Geometric period at the Kerameikos, see Kerameikos I, (1939), Kerameikos IV, (1943). For the art of Late Mycenian and Proto-Geometric periods, see, Desborough, V. R.d' A. The last Mycenaeans and their successors, (1964)
[3] For Protogeometric pottery, see Desborough, V. R.d' A., Protogeometric Pottery, (1952), Murray, R. L., The protogeometric style: the first Greek style, (1975).
For Geometric pottery, see, Coldstream, J. N., Greek geometric pottery, (1968), Coldstream, J. N., Geometric Greece, (1977), Schweitzer, B. Greek Geometric Art, (1971).
[4] For funeral scenes on the Late Geometric pottery, see, Ahlberg, G. Prothesis and ekphora in Greek Geometric art, (1971).