Department of Classics



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Student Theses - 2001 - 2005

Student Theses - 2005

A loutrophoros from the Diniacopoulos Collection : a study of acquisition, attribution and ritual function in funerary and wedding ceremony in classical Athens

Grainger, Carolyn L.

The Diniacopoulos Collection itself is extremely important and interesting, not only because of the exciting biographies of the owners Vincent and Olga Diniacopoulos; but because of the variety of its contents and the enormity of the collection that now resides all over the world.

The primary focus of this examination is a ceramic now residing in the Queen's University Collection that was originally a piece from the Diniacopoulos Collection. This vase, specifically a fragmentary loutrophoros, was a special vessel produced for use in two very important Athenian ceremonies, mainly the wedding and funeral. The vase is an extremely interesting, impractically elongated ritual vessel that functioned as a nuptial bathwater carrier for maidens and bachelors before their wedding ceremonies. The vessel also functioned as a grave marker, that commemorated the graves of young females and males who died before marriage. Thus, theloutrophoros had a fascinating involvement in Athenian family rituals, and it also seems to have had a particular association with women. Evidently women were the most dominant characters in these two rituals, as reflected not only in literature but in vase paintings, especially those rendered on loutrophoroi, depicting women in various aspects of wedding and funerary rites.

After an exploration of these two significant Athenian rituals of weddings and funerals, follows an examination of other loutrophoroi with ritual scenes, and a detailed description of thisloutrophoros in the Queen's University Collection. The loutrophoros is certainly Athenian and dates approximately to the high Classical period, ca. 430-420 BCE. While there is a main scene depicting women in a wedding procession on the vase, there are physical characteristics that indicate its practical function as a funerary marker, rather than a nuptial bathwater carrier. A wedding scene on a grave marker seems an odd juxtaposition of content and form, which make this a particularly appealing loutrophoros.

Fundamentally this examination of comparable material evidence, such as other loutrophoroi, pottery fragments and ritual scenes on painted pottery, is useful in discerning not only the function of this loutrophoros, but also the importance of this piece in Greek vase painting. Essentially, due to stylistic and compositional similarities, it is possible to attribute a painted scene of this type to the renowned Washing Painter, a vase painter extremely practiced in the portrayal of Classical wedding scenes on ritual vases such as loutrophoroi.

Pius imperator : a study of the life, career and coinage of Sextus Pompeius prior to the establishment of the Triumvirate

Mahy, Trevor

This thesis studies the life, career and coinage of Sextus Pompeius before the establishment of the Triumvirate in November 43 BC. Sextus Pompeius was one of the most mysterious figures in Roman history, a man whose true role in the civil wars that ended the Roman Republic remains elusive. His reception by later generations has been largely shaped and determined through his portrayal by his enemies, most notably the emperor Augustus, the last man standing after the civil wars finally ended. As a leader in the opposition to Caesar, and Caesar's successors, the triumvirs, Sextus Pompeius held out longer, and posed a greater threat, than any of his fellow opposition leaders. History does not, however, remember him for his pietas and his military successes, but, beginning with the propaganda of Augustus himself, for his alleged role as a pirate king and leader of slaves. This thesis will seek to better our understanding of this unique figure in Roman history by studying the earlier life, career and coinage of Sextus Pompeius before the establishment of the Triumvirate and his occupation of Sicily from 42 BC to 36 BC. By concentrating on the period of his rise to power, which has been largely neglected and ignored by previous scholars, it is hoped that our knowledge of his development into the leading opposition figure will remove some of the mystery that surrounds Sextus Pompeius.

A skyphos from the Diniacopoulos Collection at Queen's University : a study of an attic black-figure skyphos, its decoration and its place amongst the known corpus of attic black-figure pottery

Trainor, Conor P.

This thesis studies an unpublished skyphos from the Diniacopoulos Collection which is currently on display in the Department of Classics, at Queen's University.

The skyphos, a drinking cup, is painted in the Attic black-figure style, which dates its construction to the period between the mid-sixth century BC and the mid-fifth century BC. Indeed, the vessel has also been unofficially connected with the CHC Group of Attic black-figure artists. The primary focus of this thesis will be to test the artistic attribution of the skyphos which will by extension considerably narrow the date range for the vessel's construction.

The initial stages of this thesis examine the known history and features of this skyphos, and the conservation process employed after its arrival at Queen's. The main body of the work, in keeping with the investigation's primary focus, compares the vessel to other contemporary works in order to assess its place amongst the known corpus of Attic black-figure pottery.

Student Theses - 2004

100 Days of Spectacle: What the Audience Saw at the Inaugural Games of the Flavian Amphitheatre

Falcone, Anthony

This thesis studies the inaugural games of the Flavian Amphitheatre, better known to us as the Colosseum. Specifically, it looks at the sources for this event and attempts to create a picture of what the audience would have seen over the 100 days of games. The introduction examines the previous scholarly work on the topic and the problems that require further study. The first chapter looks at evidence for animal hunts at the games, and other types of animal presentations, such as tricks for the crowd. The second chapter examines the midday spectacles, which were made up of executions. Various forms of execution are studied, including exposure to animals, re-enactments of mythological events, and naval battles. The third chapter discusses gladiatorial combat itself at the games as well as the ancient attitudes towards gladiators. The thesis presents a specific study of the audience's experience at the inaugural games. Such a presentation and examination of primary sources has not been attempted in this fashion, for the topic is only briefly touched upon in the various secondary sources on gladiators or the Colosseum. Re-examination of the evidence for the inaugural games is necessary in order to demonstrate a more comprehensive picture of the institution and its place in Roman culture and society.

Abstraction and Mycenaean Art: A New Look at Plant and Animal Representations in the Shaft Graves of Mycenae

Gagné, Laura A.

Because decorated metalwork is not useful for establishing relative chronologies, it tends to be neglected by archaeologists and art historians. It is likely, however, that the most gifted craftsmen would have worked with the most precious materials, so a study of the designs on gold would represent a study of the highest art period. This thesis will discuss metalwork found in the Shaft Graves of Mycenae. These graves were so rich in gold and precious materials that the entire period of their use, spanning about a century from the end of the MH period to the beginning of the LH II period, has been called the Shaft Grave period after them. Within that time metalworkers produced a variety of decorations which range from naturalistic portrayals of plants and animals to highly abstract geometric patterns.

It will become clear that the metalworker has a much greater concern for ornamentation and composition than his colleagues who were working with clay. A particular motif, such as the octopus or butterfly, can be stylized within a coordinate system based on its composition, or it can be divided into parts of the whole which can in turn be multiplied by themselves and/or combined with parts of other motifs to create entirely new designs. It is possible to reconstruct the creative process once we see where the abstraction comes from and describe the thought which guides this process. For this reason the octopus on metalwork is compared to its companions on pottery, showing that the creativity of the metalworker is greater than that of the painter. Within a century the metalworker brought into existence the sophisticated abstraction that eventually migrated onto pottery over the course of four hundred years.

Once this process is established, it will be easier to understand the treatment of flying insects, other animals, birds and also of plants. The exploration of these motifs in chapters three to six will serve to verify that our interpretation is valid and applicable to all representations of flora and fauna in Shaft Grave art.

Antiochus IV and the Jews of Palestine: Causes and Effects of the Edict of Persecution of 167 B.C.E.

Helfield, Michael

Antiochus IV's proclamation of an edict of persecution in 167 BC resulted in the killing of thousands of Jews who refused to abandon their ancient customs, and in the defiling of the Jerusalem Temple, their most sacred place. This edict is problematic because it contradicted the general tendency of Seleucid kings to be tolerant with their subject peoples, and, in particular, it ran contrary to the edict of Antiochus IV's father, Antiochus III, who made it very clear in 198 BC that the Jews of Palestine were free to practice their ancient traditions, and even granted various groups within the Jewish polity significant tax exemptions and legal privileges. The most recent trend in modern scholarship is to assign the responsibility for the edict to a group of Jews who wanted to introduce Hellenic institutions into Jerusalem. This study re-examines the historical background to Antiochus IV's edict against the Jews of Palestine and discusses the background, both Jewish and Seleucid, that led to so extreme a measure against a group that for Antiochus, as king of Syria, must have been small and insignificant. It is argued that the emphasis should be placed on such factors as Antiochus IV's concern for money and for the security of his kingdom rather than on the religious ideology of a certain group of Palestinian Jews.

Speaking Silences: Silence in Homer, Pindar, Apollonius and Vergil

Lea, Sylvia

This thesis examines each of the Iliad, the Odyssey, Pindar's Odes, the Argonautica and theAeneid independently and in detail for its use of silence, and finally the significance of silence in each passage.

In these poems silence does not have a meaning in and of itself: it can be, by context, either good or bad, show high status or low status. Silence is an intensifier: it gives emphasis to the moment, and its meaning comes from the context. In the Iliad, the Odyssey and Pindar's Odes silence is simply the lack of human speech: it is never used to describe the night, death or the landscape. In Apollonius' Arogonautica and Vergil's Aeneid, silence is not restricted to speech: nature can now be silent. The Odyssey introduces the extensive use of silence in his break-offs to effect swift transitions between stories. In the Argonautica Apollonius uses silence to enhance his major themes: it intensifies the scenes of eros between Jason and Medea, and is paired with amechanie, the word that so defines the mood of the poem. Vergil uses silence to create the ambiguity of meaning and interpretation that is so essential to the Aeneid.

The Divine Sickness: A Study of Madness in Greek Tragedy

Macdonald, Glenda

The goal of this thesis is to explore the concept of madness as it is presented in Greek tragedy. The study begins with a review of fifth-century ideas about madness. Popular ideas about the composition and functioning of the human mind are examined, from the perspective of both lay people and the ancient physicians. The thesis then moves on to a comprehensive review of all the extant and fragmentary tragedies that feature manifestations of madness.

We first notice that most characters seem to descend into madness in one of two main ways: either instantly, or through constant, drawn out torment. Once maddened, characters exhibit physical attributes and behavioural traits that link the different manifestations together.

Recovery from madness is also an important aspect of Greek tragedies, since it is here that the playwrights are able to explore the effects of mental illness on the heroes.

The tragedians provide clear examples of the causes and effects of madness, and the drastic impact that this disease has on its sufferers. There is also some indication of the effect that madness has on the community, both while the sufferer is mad, and after he or she has begun the recovery process.

Student Theses and Research Essays - 2003

Sean D.W. Lafferty  (Thesis)

Art and Politics Under the Tyrants of Athens:  A Study of Attic Black-Figure Iconography Between ca. 560 and 510

Peisistratos and his sons ruled over Athens as tyrants, determining Athenian politics for nearly half a century.  Between ca. 560 and 510, under Peisistratid dominion, Athens emerged as a leader in the affairs of Attica and the Aegean world.  In this sometimes turbulent period of social, political, and economic flux, Attic black-figure artisans perfected their craft for ever-increasing markets throughout the Mediterranean.  The works of such eminent craftsmen as Lydos, the Priam Painter, and Exekias among others, were unprecedented for their innovation in style, craft, and above all, subject matter.  Under Peisistratid rule, Attic black-figure artists expanded considerably their repertory of subject matter, particularly that drawn from mythology, and the stock of myths from which these artisans drew upon differed completely from that which characterized Attic black-figure pottery prior to 560.

During the nearly fifty years of Peisistratid rule in Athens, Attic black-figure artisans rendered countless stories associated with various gods and heroes of Greek mythology.  Of all the gods and heroes depicted, however, none were more popular than Dionysos and Herakles.  Between ca. 560 and 510, the assorted myths and episodes connected with these popular figures dominated the mythological repertoire of Attic black-figure artisans.  It is the aim of this thesis to account for the unprecedented popularity of Dionysos and Herakles in Attic black-figure art of this period by considering particular scenes in relation to the historical context in which such art was produced, used, traded, and discarded.  I will argue that the apparent prominence of Dionysos and Herakles in Attic black-figure art of the Peisistratan period was due, in part, to the deliberate identification among Peisistratos and his family with both the god and hero.  Such a study will provide not only insight into Attic black-figure art of the sixth century, but also add to our greater understanding of Athens under the tyrants.

Student Theses - 2002

'Between free men and slaves' : a study of the helots of Sparta

Lorencz, Holly Anne

The Helots were the state-owned, enslaved, agricultural workers of Lakonia and Messenia from an early point in Greece's history until the time of Roman occupation. While the Helots' presence in the fields and in the military has been well-attested, other Helots lived in the homes of the Spartiates as personal servants and Helot women may have even been concubines. These details have been understudied in the past and their role in rebellions at Sparta has been overemphasized. Also, few writers have incorporated theories on slavery into their studies on Helots. These ideas provide new interpretations of underlying factors of the Helots' enslavement and how the conditions affected their behaviour. When we take into account the changes in the conditions of late classical Sparta, and the Helots who worked in Sparta, we notice that there was more interdependence between these groups than has been previously thought. With their agricultural produce, the Helots allowed the Spartiates to participate in the army, and Sparta to maintain her military state.