In the past, Roman pottery has been judged as inferior to Greek pottery. Recent excavations, however, have led to an increase in knowledge and appreciation of Roman wares. These wares now constitute an important body of evidence for the understanding of art, literacy and trade in the ancient world.
John W. Hayes, the acknowledged authority in this field, explains the particular features that mark Roman-period wares, concisely describing how the vessels were manufactured, decorated, traded and used. Placing the pottery in historical context, he describes its roots in the Hellenistic Greek tradition, its evolution as a distinct art form and its influence on Byzantine and Islamic trends.