Why did soldiers stop fighting, athletes stop competing, and lovers stop having graphic sex in classical Greek art? The scenes depicted on Athenian pottery of the mid-fifth century BC are very different from those of the late sixth century. Did Greek potters have a different world to see—or did they come to see the world differently? In this lavishly illustrated and engagingly written book, Robin Osborne argues that these remarkable changes are the best evidence for the shifting nature of classical Greek culture.
Osborne examines the thousands of surviving Athenian red-figure pots painted between 520 and 440 BC and describes the changing depictions of soldiers and athletes, drinking parties and religious occasions, sexual relations, and scenes of daily life. He shows that it was not changes in each activity that determined how the world was shown, but changes in values and aesthetics.
By demonstrating that changes in artistic style involve choices about what aspects of the world we decide to represent as well as how to represent them, this book rewrites the history of Greek art. By showing that Greeks came to see the world differently over the span of less than a century, it reassesses the history of classical Greece and of Athenian democracy. And by questioning whether art reflects or produces social and political change, it provokes a fresh examination of the role of images in an ever-evolving world.
The text is presented in three main sections: the passing of the dark ages, c.900–770 BC; the Greek renaissance, c.770–700 BC, covered region by region, and the final part on life in eighth century Greece. Its geographical coverage of the Mediterranean ranges from Syria to Sicily, and the detailed archaeological evidence is amplified by reference to literary sources.
Highly illustrated, including images of several finds never previously published, this follows the first successful edition as the essential handbook for anyone studying early Greek antiquity.
In this second edition, as well as updating the text to take account of recent scholarship and re-ordering, Robin Osborne has addressed more explicitly the weaknesses and unsustainable interpretations which the first edition chose merely to pass over. He now spells out why this book features no ‘rise of the polis’ and no ‘colonization’, and why the treatment of Greek settlement abroad is necessarily spread over various chapters. Students and teachers alike will particularly appreciate the enhanced discussion of economic history and the more systematic treatment of issues of gender and sexuality.
Why are the Elgin Marbles in London and not on the Acropolis? Why do there seem to be as many mummies in France as there are in Egypt? Why are so many Etruscan masterworks in America? For the past two centuries, the West has been plundering the treasures of the ancient world to fill its great museums, but in recent years, the countries where ancient civilizations originated have begun to push back, taking museums to court, prosecuting curators, and threatening to force the return of these priceless objects.
Where do these treasures rightly belong? Sharon Waxman, a former culture reporter for The New York Times and a longtime foreign correspondent, brings us inside this high-stakes conflict, examining the implications for the preservation of the objects themselves and for how we understand our shared cultural heritage. Her journey takes readers from the great cities of Europe and America to Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy, as these countries face down the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum, the British Museum, and the J. Paul Getty Museum. She also introduces a cast of determined and implacable characters whose battles may strip these museums of some of their most cherished treasures.
For readers who are fascinated by antiquity, who love to frequent museums, and who believe in the value of cultural exchange, Loot opens a new window on an enduring conflict.
With a chapter on each crucial period of Greece’s ancient history, the book covers the key topics, approaches and issues at the heart of Greek History, including:
• The invention of politics and the rise of democracy
• The central role played by the Greek city
• The insights from cultural, political, demographic and economic history
• The benefits and pitfalls of working with different types of sources.
Featuring maps, illustrations, a timeline and annotated guides to further reading, this book is an engaging and authoritative introduction for students of Ancient Greek History.