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Dario depicts the similar characteristics between the swan and a greek amphora. The Oxford English Dictionary states that an “amphora” is “a two-handled vessel, of various shape, used by the ancients for holding wine, oil, etc.” In “Blazon” Dario is comparing both the Greek amphora and the neck of the swan in the poem. Typically an “amphora” has a curved neck for the handle, similar to the neck of a swan. Greek vases were also known for the intricate scenes of gods depicted on the sides of them, many valued them for their beauty, this is similar to the way people valued swans for their beauty and grace. By comparing the beautiful swan to the intricate and dynamic vase Dario could be showing the beauty of the two be also he may be comparing a swan to a god-like being due to the comparison of the characteristics between the amphora and the swan.
"Amphora." Oxford English Dictionary. 1989. 19 Apr 2008 <http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50007552?single=1&query_type=word&queryword=amphora&first=1&max_to_show=10>.Submitted By: Patrick Scherer
A Greek amphora is a “type of ceramic vase that has two handles, a large mouth, narrow neck, and a swollen belly” (Origins of Greek Vases). They were used to transport and store wine and oils. They were made out of top quality materials and are antiques. Greek amphoras also help maritime archaeologists identify what the origin and what cargo was on a ship when they discover a sunken ship. They are such great help because they are crafted very well and this makes the original contents still preserved which allowed researchers to figure out what was brought. Ruben Dario talks about Greek amphora in the lines “His shinning neck is curved/ like the arm of a lyre, / like the handle of a Greek amphora. / like the prow of a ship” (5-8). In those lines Dario is describing the swan’s neck and how elegant it is. In the poem the swan is described as a divine creature and because he is divine Dario uses nice objects to describe him. A Greek amphora is a fine piece of pottery that is owned by the wealthy and the refined. Since this is such a nice piece of pottery and only owned by the wealthy it is a good simile to describe the swan.
Origins of Greek Vases. Kinds of Vases. Love to Know Corporation. 2002
Ruben Dario. The Norton Anthology of World Literature.
Lawall, and Maynard Mach. New York: Norton and Company, 2002. 1717.
Submitted by Alyssa Schmidt
In “Blazon," Dario is comparing the curve of a swan’s neck to the curved handle of the amphora According to the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, amphora is a “Greek jar or vase having large oval body, narrow cylindrical neck, and two handles that rise almost to the level of the mouth” (74). The definition given by the Webster’s Dictionary is most common and basic description of amphora. Hellenic-Art.com states that “When painting became an art known to the Greeks, they used it to illustrate the stories with which every Greek household was familiar…. thousands of vases… represent the stories of heroes, demi-gods, and gods, from the poems which were the delight of every Greek” (par. 3). The amphora was a part of Greek culture and a holder of ancient stories and poetry. Dario describes that “He is the swan of divine origin” (9). The amphora is the origin for written stories, which until this time was passed through word of mouth. While Dario is comparing the shape of the swan’s neck to the shape of the amphora, he is also comparing the divinity and importance of the swan to the importance that the amphora had on history. In addition, I believe that Dario chose the Greek amphora for his poem not just because of the curved shape and historical value, but also because of the other Greek references throughout the poem. In the previous line Dario also compares the neck of a swan to “the arm of a lyre” (6). A lyre is an instrument also used by the Greeks. I think because of Dario’s classical background, that he chose to use Grecian symbols throughout “Blazon."
"Amphora." Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged. 2002.
Dario, Ruben. “Blazon.” The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 2nd edition. Vol. F. Ed. Sarah Lawall and Maynard Mack. New York: Norton, 2002. 1717-18.
Hellenic-Art.com. 2008. 17 Apr. 2008 <http://www.hellenic-art.com/pottery/potteryinfo.htm>.
Submitted by Alexandria McManus
The swan as a literary figure has been used in many different respects by various writers and poets; much like the amphora has been used in cultures for many different purposes. According to the Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World, “the amphora is one of the most versatile and long lived pot shapes.” The same may be held true of the reference of the swan throughout the ages. From the Greek tales of Zeus taking the form of a swan to “enjoy” the beauty of Leda, to the more contemporary tales like Swan Lake, or The Ugly Duckling, the swan has been a symbol that has survived the ages as a thing of splendor, grace, and art. Expanding on the aspect of Greek pottery, the Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization states this pottery is “pervasive and almost indestructible” and “that it provides a framework to which other arts can be related.” It is therefore quite feasible to believe that comparing the neck of the swan to the handle of a Greek amphora not only suggests the beautiful arc found in both, but also a constant and stable form that, much like one may adorn the handle of the amphora with art, one may also build upon the artistic nature found in the elegant neck of the swan with words, emotions, and mental images.
"amphorae, Greek" Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World. Ed. John Roberts. Oxford
University Press, 2007. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University
Press. Mercyhurst College. 22 April 2008 http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t180.e117
Karim W. Arafat, Catherine A. Morgan "pottery, Greek" The Oxford Companion to
Classical Civilization. Ed. Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth. Oxford
University Press, 1998. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University
Press. Mercyhurst College. 22 April
Submitted by Scott McKay
According the The Oxford English Dictionary, amphora is “a two-handled vessel, of various shape, used by the ancients for holding wine, oil, etc.” In the poem, “Blazon”, by Tagore, he is comparing an Olympic swan’s neck to the handle of a Greek Amphora. The neck can be compared to a swan because they both have very long, curved necks and are elegant and beautiful. Swans are always personified to be elegant and beautiful. John Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, describes an urn painted with beautiful urn painted with images of maidens, pipers, and other Greeks. The swan can also be compared to this urn because of its beauty. I have never seen a swan associated to anything besides beauty. A line from one of Keats’ poem describes beauty quite well. "'Beauty is truth; truth, beauty'--that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
“Amphora” The Oxford English Dictionary. 2008. OED Online. Oxford University Press.
Barnard, John. Literature Annotations. 7 May 2001. Oxford University Press. 22 Apr. 2008 <http://litmed.med.nyu.edu/annotation?action=view&annid=269>.
Submitted by Brittany Mikula
Dario compares the neck of the swan to the shape of the amphora. The Random House English Dictionary states the amphora is a “large two-handed storage jar having an oval body, usually tapering to a point at the base, with a pair of handles extending from immediately below the lip to the shoulder. . .” The placement of the curved handle portrays the swan’s neck and head in an elegant manner. According to the ancient empire’s web site the Greeks have “provided us with spectacular examples of art and pottery” (par. 2). The pottery “. . . depicts. . . important figures often glorifying gods and goddesses” (par.2). Dario could have implied that the swan deserves the status of a god because of the association to Greek pottery. The web site also states that the Greek vase differs from the Romans because their pottery “featured reliefs, while Greek pottery had intricately hand painted decoration”(par.3). The support suggests that the swan had fine detail around the head and neck. The swan’s “productivity” or “decorativeness” is also implied because “the style of the vase would determine its specific use . . . such as food, or wine storage” (par.1).
“Amphora.” Def. The Random House Dictionary of The English Language. 2nd ed. 1987
Ancient Empires. 23 April 2004 <http://www.ancient-empires.com/negramva.html>.
Submitted by Elizabeth Ingalls
In Dario’s poem Blazon he uses a swan to blend religions together in a beautiful and European style. Dario states, “His shining neck is curved/ like the arm of a lyre,/ like the handle of a Greek Amphora,/like the prow of a ship” (Blazon (5-8) 1717) which describes the swans neck as many things one even including a Greek Amphora. According to Merriam-Webster Online Unabridged Dictionary an amphora is, “an ancient Greek jar or vase with a large oval body, narrow cylindrical neck, and two handles that rise almost to the level of the mouth; broadly: such a jar or vase used elsewhere in the ancient world”. Dario describe the swan’s neck like the smooth curvy handles on a vase or in other words, an Amphora to help us imagine what the swan looks like or what . Comparing a Greek Amphora to a swan’s neck shows how it is so elegant and graceful way the neck was positioned. Greece is known for their beautiful art, pottery and sculpture. Amphoras are one of these amazing art masterpieces, showing the immense beauty of the swan. The Greek Amphora is an amazing simile of a swan’s neck showing the curves and beauty it possesses and shows through motion.
“Amphora.” The Merriam-Webster Online Unabridged Dictionary. 2008. Online. Merriam Webster
Dario, Ruben. “Blazon.” The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 2nd ed. Vol. F. New York:
Romare Bearden Foundation, 2002. 1716.
Submitted by S. Rachel Lyman
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “Greek amphora” as a “two-handled vessel, of various shape, used by the ancients for holding wine, oil, etc.” Dario uses the image of the Greek Amphora to describe the swan and its “shining neck” (5). He also states that the neck “is like the handle of a Greek amphora” (7). The handles on an amphora are usually begin around the opening of the jar and curve inward. This shape is the typical shape of a swan’s neck. Perhaps Dario wanted to use the symbol of the handle of an amphora because of what an amphora holds. It holds expensive, royal liquids like wine and oil, so he may have wanted the swan to be portrayed as immaculate and important. Also, an amphora was a beautiful vase or piece of pottery. Art would usually be around the vessel to make it attractive. The author may have wanted to compare the swan to something beautiful, similar to the art around the amphora. The swan can be related to royalty as well since the liquids that an amphora contains are worthy of being served to rulers and their families, and were not available to the everyday working person.
“amphora.” The Oxford English Dictionary. 2008. OED Online. Oxford University Press. http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50007552?single=1&query_type=word&queryword= amphora&first=1&max_to_show=10
Submitted by Cindy Dixon
In the poem “Blazon” Dario compares the swan’s neck to the shape of the amphora. According to the Oxford English Dictionary an amphora “is a two-handled vessel with various shapes that was used by the ancients for holding wines, oils, and other liquids”. As Dario wrote “His shining neck is curved like the arm of a lyre, like the handle of a Greek amphora, like the prow of a ship” this really accentuates how curved the neck of a swan really is. While also bringing attention to how beautiful and elegant swans are. The Greek amphora’s were made with beauty, grace and had different striking inscriptions around them. The swan also has many beautiful features about it that no other bird seems to have. They have the black around their eyes and the all of their feathers are pure and as white as snow. Also the swan is very much known for being exquisite and graceful as they glide across the water. Finally, they have been used many a time as the symbol of love and being in love because when the two swan necks come together they form the shape of a heart.
“amphora.” The Oxford English Dictionary. 2008. OED Online. Oxford University Press.
Greek amphora- Expanded Definition
In Dario's poem he refers to the swan as being “like the handle of a Greek amphora”. Historically a Greek amphora is defined as “a two-handled Greek vase, generally with a swollen belly, narrow neck, and a large mouth”. Dario is referring to the swan as being like a Greek amphora because he is comparing the shape and structure of the two objects. He feels the swan’s narrow neck is similar to the handles on a Greek amphora. He also feels that the “swollen belly” of the Greek amphora resembles that of the swan, and is also comparing the large mouth of a Greek amphora to the large mouth, or the beak, of a swan. Dario chooses this definition because he is highlighting the beauty and elegance of the two objects. The Oxford English Dictionary defines an amphora as “a two-handled vessel, of various shapes, used by the ancients for holding wine, oil, etc”. Knowing that a Greek amphora was used to carry wines and oils is important because they were very important to ancient Greeks, and this may mean that Dario is portraying the importance of the swan, and also highlighting the fact that a swan can do more than just sit there and look beautiful.
“amphora.” The Oxford English Dictionary. 2008. OED Online. Oxford University Press. http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50007552single=1&query_type=word&queryword=amphor a&first=1&max_to_show=10
Gill, N.S.. "Amphora." Ancient/ Classical History. About.com. 21 Apr 2008 http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_amphora.htm.Submitted by Mike De Rose