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Friday, May 15, 2020

Terracotta sarcophagi of the Ionian Greeks at Clazomenae

Clazomenae was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia and a member of the Ionian League. It was one of the first cities to issue silver coinage. Its ruins are now located in the modern town Urla near Izmir in Izmir Province, Turkey. The city was originally located on the mainland at Limantepe, but probably during the early fifth-century BCE Ionian Revolt from the Persians, it was moved to Karantina Island just off the coast. Soon after that, the city of Chyton was founded on the mainland.

For some time it was subject to the Athenians, but during the middle of the Peloponnesian War (412 BCE) it revolted. After a brief resistance, though, it once more submitted to Athenian supremacy, and repelled a Lacedaemonian (Spartan) attack. In 387 BCE Clazomenae and other cities in Asia were once more taken over by Persia.  Then came Alexander the Great, who eventually connected Karantina island to the mainland with a causeway, the remains of which are still visible.

Later, under the Romans, Clazomenae was included in the province of Asia, and enjoyed immunity from taxation.  The city was famous for production and exports of olive oil and was also prized for its variety of garum. The philosopher Anaxagoras (c. 510 – 428 BCE) was born in Clazomenae, as was the earlier philosopher Hermotimus of Clazomenae. 

Nineteenth century archaeologists have recovered large painted terracotta sarcophagi from the site weighing up to two tons dating to the last quarter of the 6th century BCE to the mid 5th century BCE.  Examples can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, California,  the British Museum in London, the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, and the Izmir Archaeological Museum in Turkey.

Greek Terracotta Sarcophagus from Clazomenae in present-day Turkey attributed to the Albertinum Group 480-470 BCE photographed at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, California.

Greek Terracotta Sarcophagus from Clazomenae in present-day Turkey attributed to the Albertinum Group 480-470 BCE photographed at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, California.

Greek Terracotta Sarcophagus from Clazomenae in present-day Turkey attributed to the Albertinum Group 480-470 BCE photographed at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, California.

Greek Terracotta Sarcophagus from Clazomenae in present-day Turkey attributed to the Albertinum Group 480-470 BCE photographed at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, California.

Greek Terracotta Sarcophagus from Clazomenae in present-day Turkey attributed to the Albertinum Group 480-470 BCE photographed at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, California.

Greek Terracotta Sarcophagus from Clazomenae in present-day Turkey attributed to the Albertinum Group 480-470 BCE photographed at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, California.

Greek Terracotta Sarcophagus from Clazomenae in present-day Turkey attributed to the Albertinum Group 480-470 BCE photographed at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, California.

Terracotta sarcophagus rim East Greek Clazomenian last quarter of the 6th century BCE photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Terracotta sarcophagus rim East Greek Clazomenian last quarter of the 6th century BCE photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Terracotta sarcophagus rim East Greek Clazomenian last quarter of the 6th century BCE photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Terracotta sarcophagus rim East Greek Clazomenian last quarter of the 6th century BCE photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Terracotta sarcophagus rim East Greek Clazomenian last quarter of the 6th century BCE photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.




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