added by archaeologs A handleless hemispherical Greek drinking cup made in molds and often decorated in relief and finished in the black-glossed technique. Widespread in the Hellenistic period from the 3rd century Be, they developed into the red-glossed Arrentine wares. The type was first recognized at Megara and was made until the 1st century AD. They were imitations of gold and silver vessels and served as the first form of "book illustration." They often bear on their exteriors scenes in relief from literary texts that are sometimes accompanied by Greek quotations. They likely served as models for Roman artists who created the first' 'true" book illustrations.
Encyclopedic Dictionary of Archaeology, Barbara Ann Kipfer, 2000