Research Article

DOI :10.26650/artsanat.2023.20.1246791   IUP :10.26650/artsanat.2023.20.1246791    Full Text (PDF)

Zeuksippus Family Ware Byzantine Pottery from Metropolis Excavations

Zeynep Adile Meriç

Metropolis, which has been in an important position between the cities of Smyrna and Ephesus since antiquity, was also a settlement centre during the Byzantine Period. The Acropolis, the highest point of the city, was fortified and turned into an inner fortress, and a Byzantine Castle was formed by adding city walls and towers on the slope in front of it during the Laskarids Period. A large number of glazed and unglazed ceramics showing the Byzantine period life were found in this area. Among the samples, the Zeuksippus Family group, which has an important place in Byzantine glazed ceramic production, constitutes the majority. This group of ceramics, together with the other glazed ceramic groups found during the excavations, are among the important data showing the Late Byzantine settlement in Metropolis. The Zeuksippus Family group ceramics found during the excavations have a very wide ornamental composition. In addition to examples with floral and geometric motifs, animal figures are used in a few examples. This group of ceramics was produced intensively in various centres in Western Anatolia such as Pergamon, Sardes, Ephesos and Anaia/Kadıkalesi in the 12th- 13th centuries. However, the lack of any data on ceramic production at Metropolis within the scope of the excavations carried out so far suggests that the Zeuksippus Family group ceramics may have been brought from these centres. In this study, the Zeuksippus Family group ceramics found during the excavations between 1991 and 2006 are examined in terms of their clay types, glaze characteristics, form types and ornamental repertoire in order to reveal their place among the ceramics of this group in Western Anatolia.

DOI :10.26650/artsanat.2023.20.1246791   IUP :10.26650/artsanat.2023.20.1246791    Full Text (PDF)

Metropolis Kazısı Zeuksippus Ailesi Grubu Bizans Seramikleri

Zeynep Adile Meriç

Smyrna ve Ephesos kentleri arasında antik dönemden beri önemli bir konumda yer alan Metropolis kenti Bizans Dönemi’nde de yerleşim merkezidir. Kentin en tepe noktası Akropol tahkim edilerek bir iç kaleye dönüştürülmüş, hemen önündeki yamaca ise Laskarisler Dönemi’nde sur duvarları ve kuleler eklenerek bir Bizans Kalesi oluşturulmuştur. Bu alanda Bizans

dönemi yaşamını gösteren çok sayıda sırlı ve sırsız seramik ele geçmiştir. Örnekler içerisinde Bizans sırlı seramik üretiminde önemli bir yere sahip olan Zeuksippus Ailesi grubu yoğunluğu oluşturmaktadır. Bu grup seramikler kazılarda bulunan diğer sırlı seramik gruplarıyla Metropolis’teki Geç Bizans dönemi yerleşimini gösteren önemli verilerdendir. Kazılarda bulunan Zeuksippus Ailesi grubu seramikler oldukça geniş süsleme kompozisyonuna sahiptir. Bitkisel ve geometrik motiflere sahip örneklerin yanı sıra az sayıda örnekte hayvan figürü kullanılmıştır. Batı Anadolu bölgesinde Pergamon, Sardes, Ephesos ve Anaia/Kadıkalesi gibi çeşitli merkezlerde bu grup seramikler 12-13. yüzyıllarda yoğun bir üretime sahne olmuştur. Ancak Metropolis’te şu ana kadar yapılan kazılar kapsamında seramik üretimine ilişkin herhangi bir veri bulunmaması Zeuksippus Ailesi grubu seramiklerin bu merkezlerden getirilmiş olabileceğini göstermektedir. Bu çalışmada 1991-2006 yılları arasında kazılarda bulunan Zeuksippus Ailesi grubu seramikler hamurları, sır özellikleri, form tipleri ve bezeme repertuvarlarıyla incelenmiş, bu şekilde Batı Anadolu’daki bu grup seramiklerin arasındaki yeri ortaya konulmak istenmiştir.


Metropolis is located between the cities of Smyrna and Ephesus and has been in an important position. The city was also inhabited during the Byzantine period. During the late Byzantine period, the population of Metropolis declined considerably due to the Arab raids that preceded it. The strengthening of the Turks in Western Anatolia forced the population to settle in a more protected area and to build defensive structures. For this reason, fortification buildings increased in Metropolis, especially during the Laskarids Period (1204-1261). The city walls of Acropolis, which had been the most protected part of the city since the Hellenistic period, were additionally strengthened after the Arab raids in the 7th and 8th centuries, and this area was completely fortified and used as an inner fortress. Remains of walls probably belonging to residences built with mud mortar and rubble stones showing Byzantine life were found on the early building layers within the inner fortress. A new fortress was built on the eastern slope in front of the Acropolis. The fortification walls built with brick and stone materials based on the Hellenistic walls surrounding the Acropolis extend along the eastern slope.

Apart from the acropolis, the theater area was inhabited during the Byzantine period. Traces of settlement was found in the upper layers of the theater. Remains of walls were built with spolia blocks and rubble stones including rooms of various sizes formed by these walls were unearthed during excavations. The Byzantine settlement continued in the city on the structures after the end of the use phase of the ancient buildings. Thanks to this multi-layeredness, it is possible to trace the continuity of life in Metropolis from the antiquity to the end of the Beylik period with the ceramics and many small finds found during the excavations. Many glazed and unglazed Byzantine ceramics were recovered from Metropolis. Glazed ceramics were produced with different techniques and various styles. The Zeuksippus Family group ceramics, which are also the subject of this article, constitute most of the glazed examples.

Zeuxippus Type Ceramics, which have an important place in the production of glazed ceramics in Byzantine ceramic art, were found in the Zeuxippus Baths unearthed during the Hippodrome excavations in Istanbul. The examples, which were characterized by their high- quality bright olive-green colored lead glaze and thin walled, very hard and well-fired clay structure, were called Zeuxippus Ware. In the following years, it was observed that these types of ceramics found in many excavations especially in Western Anatolia were different from the Istanbul productions. In order to demonstrate this difference, the ceramics found in various centers, especially in Western Anatolia were named Zeuxippus Family Ware. It is understood that these ceramics were mostly produced by local craftsmen in certain centers and spread to many centers, especially in Western Anatolia.

The Zeuxippus Family Group ceramics found in Metropolis draw attention with their various motifs and ornamental repertoire. The ceramics have red clay and are mostly mixed with mica and lime. In fewer examples, sand and grit are also added. All samples are white- slipped. Glaze was applied on the slip in various colors. Mostly bright green glaze in light and dark tones, but also bright mustard yellow, bright yellow, beige/pale yellow, matt green and dark brown glaze were used. In a group of ceramics called Green stained and Green and Orange stained, green and orange stains were painted on the glaze. The Zeuksippus family group is decorated with the sgraffito technique. In addition to the sgraffito technique, the champléve (deep carving) technique was also used, especially in the repertoire of geometric motifs.

The ornamental repertoire includes examples with geometric and floral motifs as well as animal figures in a few examples. Among the geometric motifs, the decoration consisting of concentric circles, which is the most characteristic application of Zeuksippus-type ceramics, appears to be prominent. The ornamental composition of concentric circles is also applied in combination with various geometric and floral motifs. The rim borders are decorated with wavy lines, spirals, diagonal line sweeps and guilloche motifs. In geometric motifs, the interlace motif, which forms a decoration like the number eight, is also frequently used. Another interlacing-like motif used in the ornamental composition is the decoration known as Suleyman’s Knot. Similar to this application, knotted interlacing was also used in compositions. Decorative compositions with floral motifs are also frequently preferred on Zeuksippus family ware. The most common of these is the use of palmette decoration. In the most common application, a palmette motif with a top leaf and curled side leaves placed at the end of a stem and Rumi-like curled leaves on both sides of this motif are seen. Tree and leaf motifs are also frequently found in the ornamental compositions in which floral ornaments are used. Small trees with rounded sliced edges, branches branching into three from one branch and large leaves at the end are frequently used. Animal figures are seen in ornamental compositions in a few examples among the ceramics. Stylized lion figures and bird figures in various styles are among the examples. A single example shows a human figure.

The Zeuksippus family ware, which was produced in different styles in various centers such as Pergamon, Sardes, Ephesus and Anaia/Kadıkalesi in Western Anatolia, especially during the 13th century, also found extensively in Metropolis. The fact that there is no data on ceramic production within the scope of the excavations so far indicates that these ceramics were brought to Metropolis from other centers. Together with the other glazed ceramic groups found during the excavations, the Zeuksippus family group ceramics, which have an important place in Byzantine ceramic art with their production, shed light on the Late Byzantine settlement in Metropolis.

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Meriç, Z.A. (2023). Zeuksippus Family Ware Byzantine Pottery from Metropolis Excavations. Art-Sanat, 0(20), 403-433.


Meriç Z A. Zeuksippus Family Ware Byzantine Pottery from Metropolis Excavations. Art-Sanat. 2023;0(20):403-433.


Meriç, Z.A. Zeuksippus Family Ware Byzantine Pottery from Metropolis Excavations. Art-Sanat, [Publisher Location], v. 0, n. 20, p. 403-433, 2023.

Chicago: Author-Date Style

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Meriç, Zeynep Adile,. Zeuksippus Family Ware Byzantine Pottery from Metropolis Excavations.” Art-Sanat 0, no. 20 (Dec. 2023): 403-433.

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Meriç, Zeynep Adile,. Zeuksippus Family Ware Byzantine Pottery from Metropolis Excavations.” Art-Sanat, vol. 0, no. 20, 2023, pp. 403-433. [Database Container],


Meriç ZA. Zeuksippus Family Ware Byzantine Pottery from Metropolis Excavations. Art-Sanat [Internet]. 3 Dec. 2023 [cited 3 Dec. 2023];0(20):403-433. Available from: doi: 10.26650/artsanat.2023.20.1246791


Meriç, ZeynepAdile. Zeuksippus Family Ware Byzantine Pottery from Metropolis Excavations”. Art-Sanat 0/20 (Dec. 2023): 403-433.


Published Online01.08.2023


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