Dionysian Imagery in Fifth-Century Athens

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byThomas H. Carpenter

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Dionysian Imagery in Fifth-Century Athens is a response to the question, `What can surviving visual sources reveal about fifth-century Attic perceptions of Dionysos?' In this sequel to his book Dionysian Imagery in Archaic Greek Art (1986), Thomas Carpenter defines a methodology for usingancient Greek imagery as evidence for cultural and religious activity based on an empirical rather than theoretical approach. Red-figure vases provide the richest source of Dionysian iconography, but the significant volume of evidence supplied by architectural sculpture, coins, and the theatre alsodemands attention. The conclusions that Carpenter draws from his extensive study challenge commonly-held views about the meaning of Dionysian imagery: women depicted with the god in red-figure vase scenes are demonstrated to be semi-divine nymphs rather than human `maenads' and cannot be seen asevidence for maenadic practices in Attic cults; although many fifth-century depictions are mock-heroic, the Dionysos of the comic theatre is never represented, nor is the god ever dressed in feminine clothing. It is also argued that the introduction of accessories associated with ecstatic worship inDionysian scenes can be explained with reference to narratives rather than attributed to cult practices. While seeking to unravel the important social and cultural implications of this religious imagery, Carpenter takes care to point out the problems inherent in the evidence available forscrutiny.

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Dionysian Imagery in Fifth-Century Athens is a response to the question, `What can surviving visual sources reveal about fifth-century Attic perceptions of Dionysos?' In this sequel to his book Dionysian Imagery in Archaic Greek Art (1986), Thomas Carpenter defines a methodology for usingancient Greek imagery as evidence for cultural a...

Thomas H. Carpenter is at Virginia State University.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:170 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.83 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198150385

ISBN - 13:9780198150381

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