Abstract: Unexpected Choices: Greek Myth in Italic Imagery in the 4th Century BCE

My focus in this lecture is on the interrelationships of mythic images among Italic cultures in 4th Century BCE Italy. A basic assumption I make is that images of myth appear because of interest in the myth depicted. This seems self-evident, yet many scholars in the past have found it difficult to accept deep knowledge of myth and literature amongst the non-Greeks of Italy, be they Etruscans or Italic people of South Italy: Lucanians, Peucetians, and Messapians. Unlike Attic vases, most Italic productions were made within 100km of their find places so the artisans who produced them were well aware of their markets. Some myths and moments from myths seem to have resonated broadly with Italic people in ways they did not with Greeks. Here I explore several Greek myths that appear in both Etruscan and South Italian imagery but do not appear in surviving imagery from Greece and I address the question, why might these choices have been made?


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

S. Lowenstam, As Witnessed by Images: The Trojan War Tradition in Greek and Etruscan Art (Baltimore, 2008)

N. Spivey, Etruscan Art (London, 1997)

D. Trendall, Red-figure vases of South Italy and Sicily: A Handbook. (London, 1989)

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