Sacred spaces and political power: Greece, Rome, Magna Graecia and Sicily. Context, Agency, Monuments
Period of duration of course
Greek and Latin languages. The class is conceived for undergraduate students
In Plato’s day, the sanctuaries still constituted the main places in the Mediterranean in which to exhibit the kallistoi and aristoi, the most beautiful and finest, of the civic community. It was thanks to their presence during the great gatherings—games, sacrifices, political rallies—that a polis enjoyed eudokimia, a good reputation. Such ostentation was as valuable as a military victory; a city won international recognition through the physical and moral qualities of its main representatives. The perception of these sacred and civic events sheds a great deal of light not only on the importance of the games and competitions that took place in the sanctuaries but also on the need for a polis to flaunt its superiority over other Greek communities through tangible, visible signs, such as—aside from the young kallistoi and aristoi—votive offerings and monuments. The Greek sanctuaries were the appointed venues for competition between the cities of the ancient Mediterranean and the social promotion of the private citizen. The competition could take place on a number of levels: during athletic contests between competitors, in the architectural constructions and votive monuments offered by the state, and in the relationship between patrons and artists assigned the task of creating offerings in celebration of victories and champions. The analysis will focus on sacred space and political power in Greece and Rome, Magna Graecia and Sicily, from the Archaic to the Imperial period.
Basic elements of topography, architecture, Greek and Roman Art History
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