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Dancing with decorum: The eclectic usage of kalathiskos dancers and pyrrhic dancers in Roman visual culture
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2412-5735
2012 (English)In: Opuscula: Annual of the Swedish Institutes at Athens and Rome, ISSN 2000-0898, Vol. 5, 7-47 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article examines two groups of motifs in Roman visual culture: females modelled on kalathiskos dancers, and males modelled on pyrrhic dancers. Eclecticism is emphasized as a strategy which was used to introduce novelties that were appropriate within a Roman cultural context. The figures representing kalathiskos dancers and pyrrhic dancers were both changed in an eclectic manner and this resulted in motifs representing the goddess Victoria, and the curetes respectively.

Kalathiskos dancers and eclectic Victoriae figure on many different media at least from the Augustan era and into the 2nd century AD. It is argued here that the establishment of these two motifs in Roman visual culture is closely related to the aesthetics which came to the fore during the reign of Augustus. Thereafter, both kalathiskos dancers and eclectic Victoriae lingered on in the Roman cultural context until many of the material categories on which they were depicted ceased to be produced.

Unlike the kalathiskos dancers, the male figures modelled on pyrrhic dancers are so rare within Roman visual culture that we can only assume they were, to some extent, perceived as an inappropriate motif. This can most likely be explained by the negative attitude, amongst the Roman elite, towards male dancing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 5, 7-47 p.
Keyword [en]
Kopienkritik, Copy criticism, Emulation, Decorum, Eclecticism, Roman visual culture, Neo Attic reliefs
National Category
Classical Archaeology and Ancient History
Research subject
Classical Archaeology and Ancient History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-78712OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-78712DiVA: diva2:543247
Available from: 2012-08-07 Created: 2012-08-07 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Evading Greek models: Three studies on Roman visual culture
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evading Greek models: Three studies on Roman visual culture
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

For a long time, Roman ideal sculptures have primarily been studied within the tradition of Kopienkritik. Owing to some of the theoretical assumptions tied to this practice, several important aspects of Roman visual culture have been neglected as the overall aim of such research has been to gain new knowledge regarding assumed Classical and Hellenistic models. This thesis is a collection of three studies on Roman ideal sculpture. The articles share three general aims: 1. To show that the practice of Kopienkritik has, so far, not produced convincing interpretations of the sculpture types and motifs discussed. 2. To show that aspects of the methodology tied to the practice of Kopienkritik (thorough examination and comparison of physical forms in sculptures) can, and should, be used to gain insights other than those concerning hypothetical Classical and Hellenistic model images. 3. To present new interpretations of the sculpture types and motifs studied, interpretations which emphasize their role and importance within Roman visual culture.

The first article shows that reputed, post-Antique restorations may have an unexpected—and unwanted—impact on the study of ancient sculptures. This is examined by tracing the impact that a restored motif ("Satyrs with cymbals") has had on the study of an ancient sculpture type: the satyr ascribed to the two-figure group "The invitation to the dance". The second article presents and interprets a sculpture type which had previously gone unnoticed—The satyrs of "The Palazzo Massimo-type". The type is interpreted as a variant of "The Marsyas in the forum", a motif that was well known within the Roman cultural context. The third article examines how, and why, two motifs known from Classical models were changed in an eclectic fashion once they had been incorporated into Roman visual culture. The motifs concerned are kalathiskos dancers, which were transformed into Victoriae, and pyrrhic dancers, which were also reinterpreted as mythological figures—the curetes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, 2012. 39 p.
Keyword
Kopienkritik, Copy criticism, Emulation, Classical reception studies, Roman visual culture, Roman ideal sculpture, Neo-Attic reliefs
National Category
Classical Archaeology and Ancient History
Research subject
Classical Archaeology and Ancient History
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79421 (URN)978-91-7447-557-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-10-16, hörsal 6, hus C, Universitetsvägen 10 C, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Accepted. Paper 3: Accepted.

Available from: 2012-09-24 Created: 2012-09-02 Last updated: 2016-01-22Bibliographically approved

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