APULIAN VASE-PAINTING BY NUMBERS: SOME THOUGHTS ON THE PRODUCTION OF VASES DEPICTING INDIGENOUS MEN

Authors


  • A version of this paper was given as the A. D. Trendall memorial lecture in January 2011 during my tenure as the A. D. Trendall Fellow at the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London. I am extremely honoured and humbled to have my name linked with that of Dale Trendall. This paper would not have been possible without his scholarship. I hope that he would have enjoyed my modest efforts in this field.

  • I am grateful to the Institute for awarding me the Fellowship and to the then Director, Prof. Mike Edwards, and the Deputy Director, Dr Olga Krzyszkowska, for their hospitality. I am also indebted to the management of NUI Galway for allowing me to take up the Fellowship despite my other responsibilities.

  • Previous versions of the paper have been given to audiences in Edinburgh, Limerick, Maynooth, and Galway. On each occasion I received valuable feedback, which has improved the final version.

  • The research for this paper was made possible by a grant from Special Research Fund of the James Hardiman Library (National University of Ireland, Galway) for the purchase of bibliographic materials.

Abstract

This paper examines the place of vases depicting indigenous men in the wider context of Apulian red-figure pottery production. Through an analysis of 13,577 vases, it is shown that those depicting indigenous men were only ever a tiny part of the overall output. The overwhelming majority of surviving Apulian vases lack a proper archaeological provenance, but although this limits certainty, the evidence suggests that the vases in question were primarily used in Central Puglia. The iconography of the vessels shows indigenous men in a positive light, as successful warriors who participated in banqueting and religious rituals. The scenes all have direct parallels in the wider iconography of Apulian red-figure, where Greek men are shown engaged in a similar range of activities. The paper considers why this idealized representation of indigenous male lifestyles is so indebted to Greek culture and argues for the continued importance of local identities.

 

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