Archaic Greek Epigram and Dedication: Representation and Reperformance

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Together with sacrifice, prayer, and libation, offering dedications was a basic religious activity among ancient Greeks. By the end of the Archaic period (c. 480 B.C.), sanctuaries were bursting with dedications, including finer ones such as statues bearing epigrams. Scholarly treatments have focused on formal matters and, more recently, the function of dedications as social display. This is the first study to view dedications comprehensively as sites of ritual efficacy and, especially, to recover epigram's reflections of and contributions to that efficacy and restore it to an important place in the panorama of Greek religious practice.To reconstruct the Archaic experience of reading and viewing, the book draws on studies of traditional poetic language as resonant with immanent meaning, early Greek poetry as socially and religiously effective performance, and viewing art as an active response of aesthetic appreciation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'... this is a very worthwhile contribution to the field, which scholars of religious studies and late antiquity in general will find both fascinating and highly useful. I recommend its purchase for university libraries and departmental libraries in classics and religious studies.' David Neal Greenwood, Religious Studies Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521896306
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2010
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph W. Day is Professor of Classics at Wabash College, Indiana and frequent Senior Associate Member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. He is the author of The Glory of Athens: The Popular Tradition in Aelius Aristides (1980); but subsequently he has focused on earlier inscribed Greek epigram, contributing to many journals and edited collections on that subject.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations ix

Preface xiii

List of abbreviations xix

1 (Re) presentation and (re)performance 1

Questions about reception 1

Straightforward representation 5

A thesis: (re)presentation generates (re)performance 14

The argument of the book 17

Scholarly context 21

Telesinos again 24

2 Contexts of encounters and the question of reading 26

Did Greeks view dedications and read their inscriptions? 26

Reading Mantiklos' epigram (CEG326) 33

Efforts to attract and guide reading 48

Literary evidence for epigraphic literacy 59

Circumstances of viewing and reading 64

Table 1 How readings are attracted 76

Table 2 How readings are guided 80

3 Presenting the dedication 85

Naming the dedication agalma 85

The theme of agalma 88

Agalma as performance frame 106

Agalma: theme, frame, reperformance 120

Appendix: How not to define agalma in inscriptions 124

4 Presenting the god 130

Epigraphic divine names: representation and effects 130

Activation of ritual: praising, conjuring, and constructing gods 141

(Re)presentation of ritual: the Athenian Akropolis and the Panathenaia 159

Conclusion: reperforming the Panathenaia 176

5 Presenting the dedicator 181

Piety or display? 181

The dedicator's family 187

The dedicator's achievement, especially athletic 198

Piety and display 228

6 Presenting the act of dedicating 232

Charis: then, now, forever 232

The theme of charis 234

The frame of charis 246

The charis of the encounter 254

The reperformance of charis 272

Bibliography 281

Index of inscriptions and passages discussed 312

Greek index 315

Subject index 316

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