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The Sacred Vessel And The Measure Of A Man

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author pays tribute to Jean-Michel Spieser's abiding interest in ceramic wares and sacred arts. At the core of the chapter are hagiographic texts of the eighth to tenth century, whose incidental mentions of common vessels provide important evidence about the place of the pot in the Byzantine world, particularly the world inhabited by saints and monks. The hagiographical texts are surprisingly precise in the terminology used to describe specific vessels. Pithos, amphora, stamnos, lekane, chytra and poterion are vessels widely attested in the archaeological record. In a pre-media society, using the common pot as a mnemonic tool enabled authors and painters to create a reference that could immediately call to mind shape, quantity, and even content. The humble material of the pot was particularly suited to discussions of holy men and women and monastics.

Keywords: Byzantine world; ceramic wares; hagiographic texts; Jean-Michel Spieser; Sacred Vessel



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