In this volume, Boardman examines the functions of vases in ancient Greek life and culture, and as messengers of style and subject. He relates the processes of identifying the artists themselves, their methods of manufacture and decoration, the artists' life and conduct in the potters' quarter in Greek towns, and the ways in which their wares were traded beyond the borders of the Greek world, from Morocco to Persia, from Russia to the Sudan. Boardman demonstrates that the scenes figured on the vases reflected not simply on story-telling, but on the politics and social order of the day; moreover, they exercised a style of narrative in art that was to resonate throughout Western culture for centuries to come.
Sir John Boardman is known and respected the world over as an outstanding authority on classical archaeology and art. His prodigious output of books includes some thirty titles, ranging from The Cretan Collection in Oxford (1961) to studies of Greek pottery and sculpture. He has received numerous honours, including a knighthood in 1989 and honorary doctorates from the University of Athens and the Sorbonne.