Thursday, June 3, 2010


Version at BMCR home site
Derek B. Counts, Anthony S. Tuck (ed.), Koine: Mediterranean Studies in Honor of R. Ross Holloway. Joukowsky Institute Publication 1. Oxford/Oakville, CT: Oxbow Books, 2009. Pp. xxiv, 223. ISBN 9781842173794. $80.00.
Reviewed by Catalin Pavel, Archaeology, University of Bucharest

[Authors and titles are listed at the end of the review.]

Ideally no major scholar should have to receive a Gedenkschrift when they can be honored by a Festschrift in their lifetime. This quarto volume is a homage by colleagues, friends and former doctoral students to R. Ross Holloway, recipient of the AIA's Gold Medal in 1995. Twenty-two dense articles, all of them with illustrations and extensive bibliographies, cover the art and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean and mirror the variety of Holloways's own interests and publications.

C. Marconi's elegant article rows back on Ridgway's radical judgment that our Greek sources are insensitive to the importance of architectural decoration. He also blames what he terms our "distracted viewing" of this decoration on modern philosophy (Benjamin) and architectural theory (Loos). Scrutinizing the evidence for some strong emotional response to architectural sculpture on the part of the Archaic viewer, he discovers several lions on Athenian vases, in particular on the BM amphora B49, which are inspired by pedimental sculpture, and a cup from the Met (1989.281.62) where one monkey (?) from a metope comes alive and jumps down from the frieze.1 Pindar's eighth paean, which perhaps celebrates the Late Archaic temple of Apollo in Delphi, mentions "six golden Charmers" above the gable, probably Sphinx (rather than Siren) akroteria. An Aeschylean satyr drama also speaks of antefixes with satyr masks that scare the visitors.

M. Bell addresses a red-figure krater by the Kleophrades Painter in Tarquinia, showing, a hapax in the master's production, an ambidextrous athlete (left hand drawn as if a right hand), and ingeniously argues that this, far from being a design mistake, was intended as an accolade to the skill of a young Athenian pentathlete. When Hermes on the Paris psychostasia krater has two left hands, Bell takes this to be a bad omen indicating the impending deaths of both Memnon and Achilles.

H. A. Shapiro establishes that Anthesteria-related scenes feature on the great majority of the vases known as choes. He identifies the myth of Orestes on a number of choes (one from the Vlasto collection, one formerly in the New York market, and another one from Rhode Island) but also on a calyx krater in Athens (NM 1395).

P. E. Nulton's very short but stimulating paper proposes that the three-figured reliefs once assigned to the altar of Pity in the Athenian Agora, of which the most famous is the Orpheus relief, are not copies from Classical originals, but were invented and mass produced to decorate houses and gardens during the Julio-Claudian period. One would have expected the paper to be enlarged by using comparanda such as the Eleusis relief (to the dating of which Holloway dedicated an article in 1958). The article fits well into a general trend of recovering what were previously thought to be mere copies of Greek creations, and shows that they may well have been produced by Romans (as recently put forward for the Spinario by C. Kunze).

J. Magness surveys the literature on the Flavian victory monuments of Rome and untangles their propagandistic connotations. Her findings can be said to correlate well with A.-M. Taisne's analysis of iconographic and literary sources ("Le thème du triomphe dans la poésie et l'art sous les Flaviens", Latomus 32, 1973, 485-504).2

N. Norman explores, in the close tradition of E. Brelich, the parallels between triumph, funeral and apotheosis, with particular focus on the arch of Titus. One of Norman's most attractive hypotheses is that the triumphators "designed routes to suit their own purposes, passing by the triumphal monuments erected by their ancestors and bypassing those erected by their enemies" (p.43). Her interpretation of the words of the slave in the quadriga to the triumphator to "look behind" as meaning something like "think about the future" should be complemented by Th. Köves-Zulauf's article "Die Worte des Sklaven an den Triumphator" (A&A 44, 1998, 78-96), which showed that the respice post te from Pliny's text is an incorrect emendation of the original recipe post te (with the approximate meaning: hold your horse).3

The section on Classical art, opened by a discussion of Archaic vases, is closed by J. Kenfield's paper on early Byzantine angels, who wear civilian clothes but resemble the military elite (p.56), and continue into the 6th c. to have a Germanic appearance (p.57). Despite the fragmentary evidence from pre-Iconoclastic times, the author is able to show that Justinian is ultimately represented as Christ's exarch.

The next section is dedicated to the "Crossroads of the Mediterranean". O. Doonan proposes that the models of historical investigation offered for the Mediterranean by Braudel and recently by Horden and Purcell be tested on the Black Sea as a unit of analysis, to emphasize how "regional geography structured long-term historical trends" (p.69).

M. A. Hussein's note draws attention to the risks of classifying artifacts based on prior expectations; in this case, a "Metopengattung" oinochoe found in Pithekoussai was identified by the excavators as imported, perhaps from Euboea, when it is in fact an Etruscan imitation.

C. Maggidis focuses on the only Archaic Doric temple in Asia Minor, reconstructs its architrave frieze -- an Ionic feature -- and dates it to the 3rd quarter of the sixth c. BC. The five iconographic groups are discussed in detail with parallels from the Heraion at Foce del Sele, pediments from Corfu etc. They are: Herakles and Pholos (note the relief with both manlike and horselike centaurs); Herakles and Triton; banquet ("very rare in early Greek sacred architecture", p.87) offered by Eurytos for Herakles; heraldic sphinxes (common in East Greek architectural sculpture, very rare in mainland Greece, except for akroteria); animal battles (lions of Assyrian type, one in a rare sphinx-like pose). All 15 extant fragments of the frieze in Orientalizing flat relief are illustrated with drawings. This is a must-read for anyone dealing with Archaic art and architecture.

L. Bonfante analyzes a recently discovered terracotta plaque from Pompeii (150-100 BC), on which Artemis and Nike are represented in ways that are redolent of the images of the South Italian furies, respectively Venus of Capua, while also inspired by the iconography of the Etruscan underworld female demon Vanth.

B. E. McConnell proposes a brave analogy between the Sicilian Sikels and the North American Cherokee, and compares the Cherokee capital in NW Georgia with the sanctuary at Paliké. He also reflects on the importance of the nearby site of Caratabia, where Greek-inspired late seventh/sixth c. BC incised mural decoration was found, and on the role of the Sikel "tyrant" Douketios.

B. Tsakirgis describes how innovations in mainland Greek domestic architecture were quickly adopted in Hellenistic Sicily. Unfortunately the evidence from Syracuse is irrecoverable, and the palaces there of the kings Agathokles and Hieron II must have been the first to adopt architectural forms from Macedonia (perhaps via Epiros), such as the double courtyard and the suite of rooms (central exedra flanked by dining rooms). However, the widespread adoption of these new architectural forms has been confirmed by the excavations at Morgantina.

The much shorter numismatics section of the book comprises three papers. K. Rutter deals with the engravings of coin dies produced by the signierende Künstler in Syracuse and shows, taking his cue from a 1998 Holloway article, that these delicious coins signed by Euainetos, Eukleidas and Kimon were produced for just over a decade (413-400 BC). S. Pope examines the mints of indigenous cities and mercenary groups in Sicily towards the end of the fifth c. BC, while M.B.B. Florenzano publishes three Syracusan coins and one from Aetna from a Brazilian (sic) collection.

S. S. Lukesh opens the archaeology section of the Festschrift with a summary of the excavation results from the Early Bronze Age Sicilian site of La Muculufa, as published in the 1990s, and, among other things, discusses the identification (by style and structure of composition) of a master potter/painter.

B. A. Barletta re-makes the case from her Origins of the Greek Architectural Orders (Cambridge, 2001) against the Vitruvius-inspired belief in a wooden prototype for the Doric and Ionic entablatures, which were, in her view, impossible to obtain with the tools and woodworking techniques of early times. She is particularly against the "petrification" of triglyphs, guttae and regulae, which "find no better rationale in wood than in stone" (p.161), and strengthens her argument by examples of Egyptian, Lycian and Khmer stone architecture, all of which show only partial adaptation of wooden models. Without settling the matter, this new episode in the clash between Petromanen and Xylomanen4 (Leo von Klenze, 1838) still makes for a stirring read.

M. S. Joukowsky offers a useful survey of Brown University's excavations in the Nabataean and Roman phases of Petra's Great Temple (including the bath complex). She comments not only on elephant-headed capitals ("one still serves as a doorstop in a local Bedouin home", p. 182), Baroque rooms and ballista balls, but also on the dig's virtual-reality three-dimensional GIS application and the need for a site museum. Remarkably, more than a third of the text is dedicated to site conservation.

F. van Keuren compares each of the three 2nd c. AD sarcophagi in the Art Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design with many other Central Italian sarcophagi made of the same marble -- Carrara, Dokimeion and Thasos (Cape Vathy) -- in order to fathom the interconnections between workshops in Rome. A number of interesting suggestions (for example, that Omphale in the lion skin on a sarcophagus could be an allusion to Julia Domna or that the Erotes with shield are inspired by the frieze of the Temple of Venus Genetrix) also contribute to the appeal of this profusely illustrated paper.

N. B. Kampen rebels against the literature on the Aphrodite of Knidos, which is centered on the male viewer. She proposes that a "resistant female viewing" (p. 209) was prevalent among the audience of hetaerae, future brides and married women and tries to re-construct it from inscriptions and terracotta evidence. This approach perhaps unduly emphasizes the "naturalism" and the eroticized body of the statue, which can compromise the sacred contemplation the worshippers actually were there for.5

S. L. Dyson's alert paper starts off by criticizing the "pharaonic modernism" of R. Meier's new museum complex for the Ara Pacis and moves on to illustrate how the archaeology of the city of Rome was, from Napoleon to Mussolini, absorbed in the sphere of political ideology. Lanciani's exhibition from 1911 and Giglioli's Mostra Augustea of 1938 come into special focus.

Apart from its quality, another reason this impressive publication is good news is because it is the first in a new series of monographs from Brown University's Joukowsky Institute, one of the leading institutions in the world of archaeological research. In the preface, the editors thank John Cherry as general editor and Sue Alcock as the director of the Institute, and the whole team makes a second volume in the series worth looking forward to.

Table of contents:

Biographical Sketch and Curriculum Vitae (E. Cova)
Introduction (D. B. Counts and A. S. Tuck)
Section I: A View of Classical Art: Iconography in Context: Introductory Essay (S. Allen)
Early Greek Architectural Decoration in Function (C. Marconi)
Ambidexterity in the Tarquinia Krater of the Kleophrades Painter (M. Bell, III)
Orestes in Athens (H. A. Shapiro)
The Three-Figured Reliefs: Copies or Neoattic Creations? (P. E. Nulton)
Some Observations on the Flavian Victory Monuments of Rome (J. Magness)
Imperial Triumph and Apotheosis: The Arch of Titus in Rome (N. J. Norman)
Heaven's Exarchs: Early Byzantine Archangels and the Delegation of Power (J. Kenfield)
Section II: Crossroads of the Mediterranean: Cultural Entanglements Across the Connecting Sea: Introductory Essay (R. H. Sinos)
The Corrupting Sea and the Hospitable Sea: Some Early Thoughts Toward a Regional History of the Black Sea (O. P. Doonan)
Imports, Imitations and Immigrants: A Note on Pithekoussai (A. M. Hussein)
Between East and West: A New Reconstruction of the Decorated Architrave Frieze of the Athena Temple at Assos and the Regional Tradition of Unconventional Architectural Decoration in East Greece (C. Maggidis)
An Etruscan Demon in Pompeii (L. Bonfante)
Reflections on an Interesting Historical Parallel: The Sikels of Fifth Century BCE Sicily and the Cherokee in Nineteenth Century North America (B. E. McConnell)
The Greek House in Sicily: Influence and Innovation in the Hellenistic Period (B. Tsakirgis)
Section III: Coins as Culture: Art and Coinage from Sicily: Introductory Essay (C. Arnold-Biucchi)
Dating the Period of the "Signing Artists" of Sicilian Coinage (K. Rutter)
New Coin Types in Late Fifth-Century Sicily (S. Pope)
Ancient Sicilian Coins in a Brazilian Private Collection (M. B. Florenzano)
Section IV: Discovery and Discourse: Archaeology and Interpretation: Introductory Essay (A. M. Bietti Sestieri)
Infinite Attention to Detail: A Slice of Sicily in the Third and Second Millennia BCE (S. S. Lukesh)
The Greek Entablature and Wooden Antecedents (B. A. Barletta)
Highlights of the Brown University Excavations at the Petra Great Temple (1993-2006) (M. S. Joukowsky)
The Marbles of Three Mythological Sarcophagi at RISD and of Other Sarcophagi Found in Central Italy (F. Van Keuren, with L. P. Gromet)
Women's Desire, Archaeology, and Feminist Theory (N. B. Kampen)
From Mazzini to Richard Meier: Archaeology and Urban Ideology in Modern Rome (S. L. Dyson).


1.   This reminds one of the hare suspended from a column on a r.f. Athenian lekythos (475-425 BC) in Karlsruhe (BL 85.1). A couple of examples can perhaps be added. On a r.f. Athenian calyx krater fragment (around 400 BC) in Würzburg (H4695) a warrior emerges from the Trojan horse against the background of a splendid pediment, arguably of a building in Troy, but which, by imitating the topographic relationship on the Acropolis between Strongylion's bronze horse and the Parthenon, as noted by B. A. Sparkes, emotionally engages the reader. On a r.f. Athenian amphora fragment (450-400 BC) in Bucharest (MIR 03207), a youth plays a kithara while a figure from a pinax suspended on a Doric column seems to interact with the music.
2.   One might also note that Coarelli's ideas kept changing after his referenced 1968 article. Also, the "quadrifrons" arch from Sant'Omobono, which for him must have been the Porta Triumphalis, actually turned out to have foundations of six piers, A. Citarella, "Cursus triumphalis and sulcus primigenius", PP 35, 1980, 401-414.
3.   An article by R. Heidenreich, "Tod und Triumph in der römischen Kunst," Gymnasium 58 (1951): 326-40, which anticipates many of the results of this paper, would have been a good addition to the bibliography.
4.   For which see also the articles by B. Wesenberg and H. Kyrieleis in K. Junker, A. Stähli (ed.), Original und Kopie: Formen und Konzepte der Nachahmungen in der antiken Kunst, Wiesbaden, 2008.
5.   J. Elsner, "Between mimesis and divine power", in R.S. Nelson, Visuality before and beyond the Renaissance, Cambridge, 2000, 45-69.

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