Greek settlements in Africa

Greek settlements in Africa were far fewer than in Asia, and in fact only two appear to have had any importance, these being the Ionic colony in the Egyptian Delta and the Dorian colony from Thera in the Cyrenaica. Mycenaean vases have, however, appeared spasmodically in Egyptian tombs of the eighteenth to twenty-first dynasties, the evidence for the date of those at Tell-el-Amarna (c. 1400 B.C.) being apparently well established. It should also be noted that pre-Mycenaean wares corresponding to the second city pottery at Hissarlik and the Kamaraes (Crete) pottery have been found at Kahun and elsewhere in the Fayûm , in tombs of the twelfth and thirteenth dynasties (2500–2000 B.C.).

Painted and other pottery of the Hellenistic age has not infrequently been found in Egypt; the British Museum acquired a specimen from Alexandria  in 1898 with a boy riding on a fish painted in opaque pink and blue on a red unglazed ground. Other examples come from Naukratis, and from the Fayûm. At Alexandria, where for obvious reasons no vases earlier than the third century could have come to light, a hydria was found in the catacombs with a myrtle-wreath painted on a light ground; this when discovered was filled with bones. Other vases of the same type are said to be in the Louvre. In Mons. G. Feuardent's collection in New York, the late Prof. Merriam saw a group of seventy-five vases from rock-cut tombs at Alexandria, some with inscriptions. They include hydriae of a dark red clay, covered with a white slip on which are polychrome designs (Gorgoneia, armour, etc.); others of unglazed salmon-coloured clay, painted with wreaths, monsters, etc.; two-handled vases of black ware with ribbed body and twisted handles, decorated with medallions in relief and wreaths in white, like the vases of Gnatia. The inscriptions are laid on in ink with a reed, or incised, the former being in MS. type; the method of dating is difficult to interpret, but they seem to belong to the middle of the third century.

The Ionian settlements of Naukratis  and Daphnae  (Defenneh) in the Delta have yielded very important results for the history of Greek pottery, though differing in extent. The finds of pottery at Daphnae may from the circumstances of discovery be dated entirely between 600 and 550 B.C.; and though only fragmentary, they are interesting not only as showing the results of Egyptian influences, but for the points of comparison they afford with the pottery of Ionic origin and the Clazomenae sarcophagi. At Naukratis, on the other hand, the finds form a complete series extending from the foundation of the city by Milesians about 650 B.C., down to the end of the fifth century, at which point importations of Greek pottery ceased. The earlier fabrics are by far the most important, being almost entirely of local character and distinguished by the white ground on which the Naucratite artist painted his designs or figures in various colours. Among the fragments of B.F. pottery were many with names of artists. These finds were all made among the rubbish-heaps of temple-sites by the Egypt Exploration Fund in 1884–86, with the exception of some subsequent work by the British School in 1898–99. Most of the results are in the British Museum: see also p. 345 ff.

In the second season (1885–86) at Naukratis were found several interesting fragments of a B.F. white-ground ware, which from the nature of the designs has been connected with Kyrene. But so far no specimens of this ware have been found in the latter place, nor indeed anything earlier than the end of the fifth century. It is to be hoped that the earlier cemeteries are yet to be discovered. Mr. George Dennis and others, however, explored a considerable tract of country in the Cyrenaica between 1856 and 1868, and found many vases of late R.F. style, some of considerable merit; also several Panathenaic amphorae of the fourth century on which the old B.F. method of painting is preserved. These were found on the site of Teucheira , but most of the vases came from Benghazi , the ancient Euesperitis, more to the south-west, the ancient name of which, Berenike, came from the queen of Ptolemy Euergetes. Nearly all the vases found here are of the late fine R.F. period, corresponding to those of the Crimea; they are, however, mostly smaller and inferior in merit. The Panathenaic amphorae can be dated by the names of Athenian archons which appear upon them: Nikokrates, 333 B.C.; Hegesias, 324 B.C.; Kephisodoros, 323 B.C.; Archippos, 321 B.C.; and Theophrastos, 313 B.C. They are of course importations from Athens. Among the R.F. vases is one representing a Persian king attacked by a lion; some have polychrome designs, in one case combined with reliefs (B.M. G 12). Most of the Cyrenaica vases are now in the British Museum and the Louvre.