Abstract: The Western Greeks and Their Neighbors

Western Greece, or southern Italy and Sicily, was settled by Greek colonists beginning in the 8th c. B.C.  The colonists came primarily from Mainland Greece, the area that comprises most of the modern country.  It is generally assumed that their artistic heritage was also derived from the Mainland.  This is supported especially by the architecture of the western colonies, which was usually constructed in the Doric style of their homeland.

 Yet when the colonies were founded, many of the traditions of Greece were themselves only in the process of formation.  Temples were just beginning to be built and the architectural orders had not yet appeared.  Sculpture was generally on a small scale.  Thus, instead of bringing already established traditions with them, the colonists must have evolved many of their ideas on-site.  These were influenced by contacts not only with their homeland but also with other parts of the Greek world, such as the Cycladic Islands and Asia Minor, and even with their neighbors in Italy.

 This lecture explores the diverse influences on the early art of Western Greece and elucidates the impact from particular regions of the Greek and non-Greek worlds.  It looks at architecture, for which the area is so well known, as well as sculpture and painting.  An explanation is found for such correspondences both in trading connections and in common approaches to art, materials, and to some extent even religion.  


 Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

J. G. Pedley, Paestum

T. J. Dunbabin, The Western Greeks

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