Italic votive terracotta heads from the British Museum : a stylistic appraisal in their religious and historical settings
The thesis aims to examine a collection of Italic votive terracotta heads, dated between the early 4th and the late 2nd centuries B.C., in the British Museum. The study proposes a stylistic appraisal of the terracotta heads in their religious and historical settings divided into three parts. The first part includes the introduction and five chapters. In the first chapter is discussed the religious background: Greek healing gods) Italic and Roman healing cults and Aesculapios. The second chapter is concerned with the religiousness of the Italic peoples: their devoutness; the cults; the practice of the caput velatum. Chapter three deals with the notion of votive offering in the ancient world: the origin; in the Greek religious sphere; the votive offerings as an exchange, as substitution, as gifts; their place in the sanctuary; in the Italic religious sphere and their distribution on the Italian territory; the specialisation of sanctuaries; the anatomical ex-votos; miniaturisation of votives as substitution; fertility, puberty and well-being. Chapter four deals with ancient medicine and the anatomical votives: the dawn of medical science; the evidence of the anatomical votives; medical interpretation of the votives; representation of diseased organs. In chapter five are considered the sanctuary and the worshippers: the types of sanctuaries; the identification and location of sanctuaries; the evidence for healing cults; the votive deposits; the appearance and disappearance of anatomical votive terracottas; the historical background. The second part includes three chapters. Chapters ix considers the various stylistic influences: in pre-Roman Etruria; in central and southern Italy; the Roman influence; copies of famous sculptures and their relationship with votive terracottas. Chapter seven is a survey of the jewellery displayed on the female heads: crowns; diadems; earrings; necklaces. Chapter eight is a survey of the hairstyles displayed on both female and male heads. Chapter nine examines the technique of manufacture of the votive heads: the problems of mass-production; the workshops and the artisans; the specific, heads in the British Museum. The third part of this study includes an extensive catalogue of the female and male heads divided into groups according to their stylistic affinities. The catalogue is introduced by a section on the classification and terminology. The thesis is concluded by a synopsis of the focal points of part one and two integrated by the observations on the groups of heads in the catalogue.