Reading Ancient Reliefs: An Approach to Interperation of Architectural Decoration in Historical and Political Context
Ancient treasuries promoted wealth and prosperity of the donation community. Preserved relief scenes portrayed mythological stories used for expressing certain characteristic reflection of reality (chaos, wilderness, heroism, etc.) By analyzing historical sources is possible to assign events related to the poleis in historical context. This paper shall serve as introduction of hypothetical nature of political program and contribution to the knowledge of political promotion of polis in relief decoration. Figural decoration became a form of political program, or even metaphorical ideology. The main carrier of ideological reference were figure decorated pediments and friezes. Those visualized political agenda of polis even for illiterate observers. In particular mythological stories, those that might have some ideological scheme, were preferred. They can be applied to current events of polis, but only if adequate historical sources or archaeological evidence. Mythological battles were frequent motifs. The story of Gigantomachy allowed various kind of exploitation in political ideology. The main idea was the battle between world full of chaos and world representing stability and certainty. Analogies are identifiable in the whole archaic period. The main inspiration were military confrontations with other Greek or non-Greek cities. From preserved decorative elements is possible to roughly characterize also political significance of mythological heroes. Visual display is closely related to foreign policy and inner political conflict of poleis. It is important that preserved reliefs with motives that do not deal with panhellenic scenes are lessnumerous.
Agard, W. R. 1923. „The Date of the Metopes of the Athenian Treasury at Delphi.“ AJA 27:174-183
Agard, W. R. 1923. „The Metopes of the Athenian Treasury as Works of Art.“ AJA 27:322-333.
Agard, W. R. 1928. „Theseus. A National Hero.“ CJ 24:84-91.
Boardman, J. – J. Hammond 2002. The Cambridge Ancient History –III Part 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University press.
Boardman, J. 1991. Greek sculpture: The Archaic period. New York: Thames and Hudson.
Casson, L. 1967. The Ancient Mariners: Mediterranean in Ancient Times. New York: The Macmillan Company.
Dyer, L. 1906. „Details of the Olympian Treasuries.“ JHS 26:46-83.
Forsdyke, S. 2005. „Revelry and Riot in Archaic Megara: Democratic Disorder or Ritual Reversal?“ JHS 125:73-92.
Grant, M. 1999. Klasické Řecko, preložil Císař G. Brno: BB art.
Gras, M. 1987. „Marseille, la bataile dˋAlalia et Delphes.“ Dialogues dˋhistoire ancienne 13:161-181.
Krappe, A. H. 1923. „Heracles and Greek Dioskouroi Legends.“ CJ 18:502-504.
La Coste-Messelière, P. 1923. „Observations sur les sculptures du Trésor des Athéniens.“ BCH 47:387-419.
Mallwitz, A. 1972. Olympia und seine Bauten. München: Prestel – Verlag.
Mulliez, M. 2013. 9 apríl. „Le Tresór des Marseillais: expérience.“ Restauration peinture.
Neer, R. 2001. „Framing the Gift: The Politics of the Siphnian Treasury at Delphi.“ CIAnt 20:273-336.
Neer, R. 2004. „The Athenian Treasury at Delphi and Material of Politics.“ CIAnt 23:63-93.
Nishimura-Jensen, J. 2009. „The Chorus of Argonauts in Apollonius of Rhodes Argonautica.“ Phoenix 63:1-23.
Oakley, J. H. 2007. „The Departure of the Argonauts on the Dinos Painter’s Bell Krater in Gela.“ Hesperia 76:347-357.
Papadimitropoulos, L. 2008. „Heracles as Tragic Hero.“ CW 101:131-138.
Partida, E. C. 2000. The Treasuries at Delphi an Architectural Study. Sveden: Hellefors KulturDistribution, Hällefors.
Philips, E. C. 1978. „Heracles.“ CW 71:431-440.
Ridgway, B. S. 1991. „Archaic architectural sculpture and travel myths.“ Dialogues dˋhistoire ancienne 17:95-112.
Rups, M. 1986. Thesauros: A Study of the Treasury Buiding as found in Greek Sanctuaries. Ann Arbor: The Johns Hopkins University.
Sweeney, K. P. 2012. „Blind Philhellenes vs. Selective Consumers of Foreign Cultures: A Reassessment of the Ancient Greco-Roman Literary Record’s Portrayal of the Gauls in Light of New Archaeological Evidence.“ Costructing the Past 13:Art. 2.
Tanner, J. 2001. „Nature, Culture and the Body in Classical Greek Religious Art.“ WorldArch 33:257-276.
Copyright (c) 2016 Mgr. Lucia Novakova, Dr.Sc. BC. Štefan Drabik
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (SeeThe Effect of Open Access).