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Cult in Context - The Ritual Significance of Miniature Pottery in Ancient Greek Sanctuaries from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Period

Barfoed, Signe (2016) Cult in Context - The Ritual Significance of Miniature Pottery in Ancient Greek Sanctuaries from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Period. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:54772)

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Several previously overlooked questions related to ancient Greek dedicatory practices are investigated in this thesis. The main questions addressed are: how do the contexts of Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic votive miniature vessels inform us about the Greek cults in which they are used, and the transmission of such cults? What role did miniaturisation play in the sanctuaries and the rituals in ancient Greek society, and why miniaturisation? A number of supplementary questions accompany the main questions, for example, what did miniaturisation mean in the context of votive dedications in sanctuaries? This thesis aims to demonstrate that earlier explanations arguing that miniatures are simply and profoundly cheap substitutes for more expensive objects do not work well, since many of these small objects are carefully made and some are elaborately decorated, and would thus not have been cheaper, or less time consuming to produce compared to full sized objects.

The chronological time frame of the thesis is limited to the Archaic to the Hellenistic period, and its core is three case studies with different themes and different geographical locations in focus (Kalydon, Olympia, Kombothekra, various sites in South Italy, and other sites for comparison). The thesis addresses also issues relating to, for instance, miniaturisation, imitation and models, the functionality, and non- functionality of small votive objects, agency, trade, and colonization.

The study of ancient Greek dedicatory practices within the scholarship of Classical Studies tends to concentrate on votive statues, religious architecture, inscribed metal dedications, and stelai. Little attention has been paid to less extravagant dedications even though these groups of material have been found in abundant amounts in sanctuaries throughout Greece. Moreover, in those cases where this material has been published interpretation and thoroughly analyses are often lacking. As a result, this study makes important contributions to two large questions within Classical studies: how did the Greeks view their gods and how did the Greeks interact with the gods. Miniature pottery contributes to our understanding of ancient Greek ritual practice as well of specific rituals. The work presented in this thesis accentuates that miniature pottery’s material meaning and symbolic importance can no longer be dismissed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Boutsikas, Efrosyni
Thesis advisor: Baker, Patricia A
Uncontrolled keywords: Ritual practice, Greek sanctuaries, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, miniature pottery, votive behaviour, miniaturisation, Olympia, Kombothekra, Kalydon, cult, South Italy, contextual studies
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CB History of civilization
D History General and Old World > DF Greece
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2016 15:00 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 10:38 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Barfoed, Signe.

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