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Title: Beauty and the Gods in Archaic Greece
Author: Shakeshaft, Hugo
ISNI:       0000 0004 8503 0865
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis is about the relationship between the beautiful and the divine in Archaic Greece. By examining the literary, epigraphic and archaeological records, it seeks to understand how ideas, representations and experiences of beauty informed Greek relations with the gods in the Archaic period (c.750-480 BCE). One aim of the thesis is to elucidate the significance of beauty for Archaic conceptions of the gods. The first chapter explores the representation of the beautiful and the divine in Archaic epic, especially Hesiod and Homer, who profoundly affected attitudes to the gods from the Archaic period to late antiquity. How conceptions of beauty and the gods oriented worshippers' values, actions and the character of their experiences is the focus of the remaining chapters. The second core aim of the thesis, therefore, is to explore the significance of beauty for different forms and contexts of divine worship in Archaic Greece: from musical performances for the gods in chapter two, to developments in sacred architecture in chapter three, to the practice of giving objects to the gods in chapter four. As chapters three and four highlight, the material culture of Greek sanctuaries changed dramatically between the late eighth and early fifth centuries BCE. A central argument of the thesis is that the value and experience of beauty were integral to these changes, which had enduring consequences. Despite its under-representation in scholarship on ancient aesthetics, the Archaic period witnessed a transformation in Greek culture which was pivotal for the religious and aesthetic values, expectations and experiences of later generations of classical antiquity and beyond.
Supervisor: Elsner, Jaś ; Metcalf, Christopher ; Parker, Robert Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Archaic Greece ; Greek Religion ; Ancient Greek History ; Aesthetics