Monday, April 6, 2009
Unearthing the Lost History of Greek PriestessesReem-Kayden Center JOAN CONNELLYProfessor of Classics and Art History, New York University
Director, Yeronisos Island Excavations, Cyprus
The visual culture of ancient Greece has left a record rich with information concerning the active role of women in the organization and administration of the religious life of their cities. Images from vase painting, portrait sculpture, votive reliefs, and funerary monuments, show that women were far more visible than has previously been acknowledged, an active and public force within the social, cultural, and religious arenas of their communities. Connelly investigates the ways in which their images in architectural sculpture may reflect the ritual circulation of women in procession and dance within the sacred space, and follows women on their paths through priesthood, from their social origins and acquisition of office, to how they dressed, the rituals they performed, the political power they wielded, their systems of patronage and compensation, to how they were honored, including at death.
Prof. Connelly is the author of
Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece (Princeton 2007)