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A message in a jug: Canaanite, Philistine, and cypriot iconography and the “Orpheus Jug”

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Chapter Summary

The "Orpheus Jug," named for the depiction of a lyre player among animals, is a strainer jug with black and red pictorial decoration, found in Area AA, Stratum VIA at Megiddo. With the arrival of the Philistine migrants to Canaan in the 12th century, there was a marked change in the pottery iconography in Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Tel Miqne-Ekron. Regardless of the artist's origin, the attributes of the goddess and the scenery would have easily been recognized by both Ugaritians/ Canaanites and Aegeans as belonging to their earth/mother goddess. Viewing the complex nature of cultic practices and iconography in Philistia during the late 11th-early 10th centuries as reflecting local Canaanite, Aegean and Cypriot traditions dictates a cautious approach to the examination of the shape and decoration of the "Orpheus Jug".

Keywords: Canaan; Canaanites; Cypriot traditions; Orpheus Jug; Philistine



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