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Title: Some aspects of archaic East Greek art and their influence
Author: Bowen, Beryl E.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1973
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The thesis is concerned with the position of East Greek art in the later 7th and the 6th centuries B.C. Its aim is two-fold. First and foremost, to try to establish by detailed examination and analysis, as factually and objectively as possible, what characteristics in the topics investigated are genuinely East Greek. Second, to use the conclusions gained to test the validity of some current views on the status of East Greek art, and to see whether any influence from East Greece in the fields studied, on other Greek, and to some extent on Etruscan art, may fairly be claimed. The Introduction refers briefly to the decline in prestige suffered by East Greek art from the period of 'Pan-Ionism' in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to the present day, so that from being considered the artistic leader of Greece in the archaic period, East Greece is now most frequently thought of as largely under the influence of mainland art. The writer's belief is stated, that this reversal of fortune is due almost as much to partisanship and mistaken or incomplete assessment of evidence as was its former exalted reputation. The topics to be studied are outlined, together with the writer's reasons for thinking them important. They are: I, Gorgons and Gorgoneia, which because of their popularity in all schools of archaic art offer much material for study and comparison, and therefore the hope of reaching definite conclusions, and II, Representations of scenes from the Trojan Cycle and from the exploits of Herakles, which also offer considerable scope for comparison, in a broader area, with material from the rest of Greece. Chapter II, Gorgons and Gorgoneia, begins with a 'catalogue raisonne' of all the East Greek examples known to the writer. These include examples found in East Greece itself and in Ionian colonies, and also any examples found elsewhere in Greece or in Etruria which seem, because of their direct connections with examples from East Greece, to be themselves East Greek (this applies, for example, to some of the 'gorgoneion' plastic vases). The catalogue is divided into categories according to materials; within each category, gorgons are listed first, then gorgoneia. The categories are: plastic vases; pottery; architectural terracottas; sculpture; bronzes; ivories; gems; miscellaneous; and finally a category containing examples found outside East Greece which, though without direct connection with similar examples from East Greece itself, seem overwhelmingly likely to be East Greek, or are generally considered so. The items on the last category are not included in the analysis of characteristics which follows. The total number of examples, excluding the last group, is ninety-three. A catalogue of Cycladic gorgons and gorgoneia is appended at the end of the East Greek catalogue; these were treated in detail in the hope of establishing their position vis-a-vis East Greece and the mainland, and it was found that, though they showed characteristics derived from both areas, they remained in many ways a law unto themselves; there was certainly no ground for incorporating them with the East Greek examples. The catalogue is followed by a brief analysis of the gorgons and gorgoneia from each of the main artistic regions of Greece. This was considered necessary to provide an adequate background for the discussion of the East Greek examples. The schools discussed are: Corinthian; the 'Argive-Corinthian' shield-bands; Boeotian; Laconian; 'Chalcidian'; Sicilian and South Italian; Campanian; Etruscan; Cycladic; Attic. The date and type of the earliest examples is noted, together with the development throughout the archaic period; where possible, general characteristics are outlined, but important individual examples are also mentioned. Possible outside influence, including any from East Greece, are also noted. In the final section, the East Greek examples are discussed in detail. It is noted that only one example has the strongly-stylized facial features typical of Corinthian and Corinthian-influenced gorgoneia. The salient characteristics of the East Greek type, in order of importance, are found to be (i) Looped hair-snakes, (ii) Fangs close to, or touching the tongue, (iii) Disc ear-rings. It is found that, though most examples show one of these characteristics, the majority of those with looped snakes and one or both of the other features are from Ionia and S.Aeolis, with an 'appendix' formed by the 'Rhodian' plastic vases. There are two 'fringe' groups, neither showing strong mainland features. The southern group, composed of gems, though lacking the specific 'central group' characteristic of looped snakes, is clearly related in general type. The 'pear-shaped' face is noted as a subsidiary characteristic. It is established that, though the main body of the examples is later than 550, the 'East Greek' type with all three characteristics appears before this, and the looped snakes are already evident in the late 7th century. By means of these conclusions, the opinion of Åkerström, that it is impossible to distinguish mainland and Ionian types, is refuted. Payne's belief, widely followed by later scholars, that East Greece took its gorgoneion-type from the mainland, and especially from Athens after the mid-6th century, is argued to be wrong, for the following reasons: First, the 'East Greek' type appears well before the mid-6th century, while no similar type is found in Attica before the late 6th century; Second, this 'East Greek' type is the only one of any importance in East Greece, and East Greek examples show a very marked homogeneity; in Attica, however, the basic gorgon- and gorgoneion-type is the Corinthian, and where hair-snakes appear, as often among the gorgons, these vary greatly in type. Only at the end of the 6th century, and notably in early Rf, do some examples appear with all three of the characteristics outlined for the East Greek group, and even then other types remain. From this it is argued that, so far from being influenced by Attica in this respect, East Greece evolved its own characteristic type, which was adopted in Athens towards the end of the 6th century. These conclusions ace also taken to indicate that the gorgoneia of 'East Greek' type which appear in the West after the mid-6th century, are genuine signs of East Greek influence. At the end of this chapter are six appendices dealing with matters which have arisen out of the study of the gorgons, but which are not directly connected: Appendix I discusses the sandalled-goot aryballos from Samos (A.lla), whose gorgoneion emerged as the only example from East Greece of the 'Corinthian-Attic' type. The shape of mouth of the aryballos, and the types of decorative motifs used on it, are found also to have their closest parallels in Corinthian and Attic vases of the second quarter of the 6th century. An Attic origin therefore seems likely. Appendix 2 deals with 'eye-cups'. It is argued that the 'partfaces' of 'Rhodian' plates and of East Greek, 'Chalcidian' and Attic eye-cups, were regarded as forms of gorgoneia. In Appendix 3, it is argued that the Didyma marble gorgons (B.i) belong, not to the NW and SE corners, as generally assumed, but to the NW and ME corners, of the archaic temple. Some comments are made on the objects held by the gorgons. Appendix 4 consists of a discussion of the character and origin of the Carchemish and Olympia shields, and a comparison of their animals with each other and with examples in Near Eastern art. This is intended to establish, (a) that the Olympia shield cannot be mainland or Cycladic work, and (b) that the Carchemish shield cannot be a non- Greek (Near Eastern) imitation of East Greek work. Appendix 5 discusses a bronze shield-device in the form of a horsehead, from Olympia, which seems stylistically related to the gorgoneion shield-device, J.l.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Art, Greek