Wine: the ancient peoples of Rhodes, followers of Hermes Kerdoos, the God of profit, were well aware of the value of trade, a fact proven by various historical sources. Thanks to the favorable location of Rhodes, close to the Asian continent, close to other greek cities and the eastern populations, its importance in the trade of the Hellenic world was enormous, considering its size.
Rhodes was known to be one of the first islands in the Aegean to practice the cultivation of wine grape and apply the winemaking process.
Supported by its naval power, Rhodes became the most famous wine and grape harvest market from the mid 7th century BC, which brought incredible fortunes to the island .
Archaeological finds, inscriptions and literary sources are the major sources of information regarding the wine trade in ancient times. Thanks to meny arheological findings we know today that amphorae and terracotta pots were used above all to transport and sell Rhodes wine as well as for other products such as oil , olives and dried fruit.
Amphorae were produced in a variety of shapes and colors. These features help us to distinguish their origin. All the amphorae were built with narrow necks so that they could be corked. Two opposite vertical handles were also added and at the bottom a sharp base or knob that could be used as a third handle to pour the contents of the amphora once turned upside down. The findings lead us to the conclusion that this type of amphorae has been built since the seventh century BC
Amphorae were indispensable for trade and their shape was perfectly suited to use. Their pointed base ensured a good fit between the anchors positioned horizontally in two or three rows in the holds of the ships, improving the balance of the ship and optimizing the use of space.
The study of amphorae is the key to the history of the wine trade in antiquity. The characteristics of the amphorae differed from city state to city state so much that they became almost a symbol of each.
Stamped handles of Rhodes amphorae have been found throughout the Mediterranean area and in hundreds of ancient sites around the Danube River, the Black Sea and even India.
Speculation tells us that at some point there must have been bibliographic indexes of the authorities and dates marked on the stamps, but unfortunately no records of these lists have been found. The potters inscribed their names and bunches of grapes on the amphorae they produced, further proof that the amphorae came from a Rhodian artisans and their contents from Rhodes vineyards . Many centuries later the indication of Controlled Origin was adopted by the French. Today it is an internationally adopted practice.
Precursors of the modern naming system, amphora stamps also contained two names. One was an endorsement of an authorized vendor and the other the name of an annually appointed official, such as the Chief Priest of Rhodes , who also served as a date reference.