National Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: Susan Langdon

Affiliation: University of Missouri-Columbia

Susan Langdon is Associate Professor of Greek Art and Archaeology with the Department of Art History and Archaeology, University of Missouri. She has her degrees from Indiana University at Bloomington (M.A. in Classical Archaeology and Art History, and Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology), and her areas of specialization are Early Greek iconography, pottery, sculpture, and gender issues. She has conducted fieldwork in Greece, Cyprus and Turkey, and her main publications include “Art and Identity in Dark Age Greece (2008, Cambridge University Press). She has received a number of Fellowships for her work, and is an active member of the AIA.


Although Corinth was one of the premier city-states of ancient Greece, Roman conquest and rebuilding eradicated much of the material evidence for the Greek city. An unexplored source of information for Corinthian culture and society in the 7th to 5th centuries BCE comes from terracotta figurines made in large numbers for the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore on Acrocorinth, the rocky acropolis overlooking Corinth. New research on the production and dedication of the fully and partially handmade figurines of goddesses and mortals reveals a wealth of unexpected information. This talk explores the evidence from figurines for how a cult creates its divine iconography as well as local clothing styles, ideas on gender, and the role of women in the welfare of the city.

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

  1. Bookidis and R. Stroud, Demeter and Persephone in Ancient Corinth, 1987.

Corinth was a leader in the production of representational terracottas, making and distributing figurines that influenced other cities across the Greek world. Yet the beginnings of the figurine tradition at the site have remained unclear, due both to scarcity of early material and to preconceived ideas of figurine development. This talk investigates the earliest production of terracotta figurines at Corinth based on current study of the Archaic material from the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore on Acrocorinth. The appearance in the seventh century of a new type of votive offering, primarily female figurines, marks a clear departure from the male-focused bronze figurines of the Geometric tradition. As a cultic assemblage, the new material from the Demeter sanctuary can be investigated in tandem with evidence from its production site in the Potters’ Quarter to understand the introduction of clay figurines as a cultural innovation, economic strategy, and revolution in votive behavior.

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