Greco-Scythian Art and the Birth of Eurasia: From Classical Antiquity to Russian Modernity

Hardcover | December 28, 2013

byCaspar Meyer

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Since their discovery in nineteenth-century Russia, Greco-Scythian artefacts have been interpreted as masterpieces by Greek craftsmen working according to the tastes of the Scythian nomads and creating realistic depictions of their barbarian patrons. Drawing on a broad array of evidence fromarchaeology, art history and epigraphy to contextualize Greco-Scythian metalwork in ancient society, this volume confronts the deep confusion between ancient representation and historical reality in contemporary engagements with classical culture. It argues that the strikingly life-like figure scenes of Greco-Scythian art were integral to the strategies of a cosmopolitan elite who legitimated its economic dominance by asserting an intermediary cultural position between the steppe inland and the urban centres on the shores of the Black Sea.Investigating the reception of this "Eurasian" self-image in tsarist Russia, Meyer unravels the complex relationship between ancient ideology and modern imperial visions, and its legacy in current conceptions of cultural interaction and identity.With a synthesis of material evidence never yet attempted, this volume breaks significant new ground in explaining the archaeology of Scythia and its ties to inner Asia and classical Greece, the intersection between modern museum display and visual knowledge, and the intellectual history of classicsin Russia and the West.

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Since their discovery in nineteenth-century Russia, Greco-Scythian artefacts have been interpreted as masterpieces by Greek craftsmen working according to the tastes of the Scythian nomads and creating realistic depictions of their barbarian patrons. Drawing on a broad array of evidence fromarchaeology, art history and epigraphy to con...

Caspar Meyer is Lecturer in Classical Archaeology and Birkbeck, University of London. He has held fellowships at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles and at the Centre Louis Gernet in Paris. He is particularly interested in classical visual culture and its persistence and transformation in modern Europe.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:448 pagesPublished:December 28, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019968233X

ISBN - 13:9780199682331

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Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgementsList of mapsList of figuresList of platesAbbreviations1. Introduction: Discovering Greco-Scythian Art2. Classical Art and Russian Identity3. Defining the Corpus: Chronology, Technique, Distribution4. Political Monuments of the Early Spartocid State5. Looking at Greco-Scythian Art6. Greco-Scythian Art in Practice7. ConclusionAppendixGrave inventories of Bosporan elite kurgans of the fifth and sixth centuries BC: a summary guide to excavations conducted 1821-1917BibliographyIndex