The ancient worlds:  

Maps of the Antique
Mediterranean Sea



     Magna Graecia
    Archaeological sites


From the 8th century to the 5th century B.C., populations from the greek cities moved to the western parts of the Mediterranean sea, creating a large movement of colonization. With these settlements appeared new centres of Greek culture in Sicily and Southern Italy, and first of all in Campania.

Cumes, founded in 750-740 B.C. is thus sometimes seen as the oldest Greek colony in western Europe. The largest production of red-figure vases occur at the 5th and 4th century B.C., mainly with small pieces, but also hydria and bell-craters. The most popular shape is the one-handled amphora. The light-brown clay from Campania turns to a pinkish or red color after firing. These colonies settle down with all that composes a Greek city, including the artists, on a large territory known today as Magna Graecia. A prolific artistic period starts at the end of the 5th century B.C., mainly because by this time, Athens - which dominated the trade of ceramics - decline suddently after the Peloponnesian War.
Attic painters and potters expatriate to Italy and set up workshops there. The technique used by these painters is predominantly red-figure, but also the so-called "style of Gnathia" named after the ancient name of the town Egnazia, on the Adriatic coast of Apulia. The shapes of the vases are inherited from the Athenian ceramics. Moreover, a massive use of highlights using added colors - mostly red and white but also blue and green - punctuate the composition.