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There was perhaps an as yet unidentified native Etruscan word for the vase that pre-empted the adoption of amphora.
, Bennett's AMPHORA, which has a number of scribal variants.
The base facilitated transport by ship, where the amphorae were packed upright or on their sides in as many as five staggered layers.
If upright, the bases probably were held by some sort of rack, and ropes passed through their handles to prevent shifting or toppling during rough seas.
The Romans acquired it during the Hellenization that occurred in the Roman Republic. The Romans turned the Greek form into a standard -a declension noun, amphora, pl. Undoubtedly, the word and the vase were introduced to Italy through the Greek settlements there, which traded extensively in Greek pottery.
It is remarkable that even though the Etruscans imported, manufactured, and exported amphorae extensively in their wine industry, and other Greek vase names were Etruscanized, no Etruscan form of the word exists.
Neck amphorae were commonly used in the early history of ancient Greece, but were gradually replaced by the one-piece type from around the 7th century BC onward.
Most were produced with a pointed base to allow upright storage by embedding in soft ground, such as sand.
Amphorae often were marked with a variety of stamps, sgraffito, and inscriptions.
In all, approximately 66 distinct types of amphora have been identified.
Further, the term also stands for an ancient Roman unit of measurement for liquids.
The amphora complements the large storage container, the pithos, which makes available capacities between one-half and two and one-half tons.
In contrast, the amphora holds under a half-ton, typically less than 50 kilograms (100 lbs). Where the pithos may have multiple small loops or lugs for fastening a rope harness, the amphora has two expansive handles joining the shoulder of the body and a long neck.
The first systematic classification of Roman amphorae types was undertaken by the German scholar Heinrich Dressel.