AMPHORA (a Latin word from Gr. amforeus, derived from amfi, on both sides, and ferein, to bear), a large big-bellied vessel used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for preserving wine, oil, honey, and fruits; and in later times as a cinerary urn. It was so named from usually having an ear or handle on each side of the neck (diota.) It was commonly made of earthenware, but sometimes of stone, glass or even more costly materials. Amphorae either rested on a foot, or ended in a point so that they had to be fixed in the ground. The older amphorae were oval-shaped, such as the vases filled with oil for prizes at the Panathenaic festival, having on one side a figure of Athena, on the other a representation of the contest; the latter were tall and slender, with voluted handles. The first class exhibits black figures on a reddish background, the second red figures on a black ground. The amphora was a standard measure of capacity among both Greeks and Romans, the Attic containing nearly nine gallons, and the Roman about six. In modern botany it is a technical term sometimes denoting the lower part of the capsule called pyxidium, attached to the flower stalk in the form of an urn.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)