Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Kevin F. Daly, Lee Ann Riccardi (ed.), Cities Called Athens: Studies Honoring John McK. Camp II. Lewisburg; Lanham, MD: Bucknell University Press; Rowman & Littlefield, 2015. Pp. xxxv, 457. ISBN 9781611486179. $105.00.

Reviewed by Konstantinos Filis, Ministry of Culture & Athletics (kfilis1@yahoo.gr)

Version at BMCR home site


John McKesson Camp II is one of today's best-known archaeologists and is regarded as the foremost expert on the topography of Athens and Attica. Dr. Camp first worked for the Athenian Agora excavations in 1966 as a Field Supervisor, later as Assistant Director, and since 1994 as Director. His inspiring teaching and excellent knowledge of the area have significantly enriched our understanding of Classical Athens. Therefore, an honorary volume largely from his students, all well-known scholars, is an appropriate token of their recognition of his work. The book contains fourteen studies with a wide range of topics concerning topography, architecture, epigraphy, religion and cults, sculpture, ceramics, iconography, trade, and Athenian drama.

Closterman's article examines the iconography of the Attic gravestones of the 4th century BCE in order to refute two interpretations: that they do not portray ordinary life but rather evoke the religious context of votives and so have cultic and afterlife allusions, and that the banquet image conveys concepts of prestige and the good life. The presence of female figures, she argues, is an indication that these are family dinners since the separation of the sexes during dining seems to have been of greatest concern at public meals or occasions when non-family members might be present.

Daly discusses the protection of the Athenian countryside during the 5th and 4th centuries BCE in light of a defensive structure discovered at Trikeraton, between Megara and Attica. The evidence suggests that Athenians took measures concerning rural defense and actively defended outlying territory by means of military buildings at an earlier date and in a wider range of places than usually allowed.

Gawlinski considers the safety and security of sanctuaries, which could be aided by defensive walls but primarily involved social, political and cultural factors. She demonstrates that the Acropolis, Eleusis, and Sounion fortifications are very important not only for religious history but also for Athenian military history and must be read within the overall architectural development of the sites. Violations, theft, and vandalism in sanctuaries could be prevented by the presence of security officers, the adoption of laws, or the general Greek belief in divine intervention and retribution.

Hemingway deals with the Panhellenic iconographic tradition of the eagle of Zeus and its relationship to Athens. The cult of Zeus was significant for Athens, since he was the father of Athens' patron deity. Therefore, the Athenian contribution to the iconography of the eagle of Zeus was very important in the Late Archaic and Classical period. Athenian vase painters of the late sixth and fifth centuries BCE were innovative in their portrayals of myths about Zeus and his eagle. The famous Athenian sculptors Pheidias and Leochares also made two of the most iconic images of the eagle of Zeus known from the Classical period: the chryselephantine cult statue of Zeus at Olympia and the bronze statue of Ganymede and the eagle.

Keesling proposes a new reading of the votive inscription IG 13.831 from the Acropolis, linking it to a bronze bowl from Marathon. She argues that the individual who made this dedication⎯a bronze bowl attached to an elaborate marble stand⎯was not a member of Solon's zeugitai, but rather an Athenian athlete from the deme Boutadai who had won the lebes as a prize. Therefore, the Solonian social class system is less well attested in the fifth century BCE than had been believed.

Klein's study examines the number and design of the small limestone buildings on the Athenian Acropolis before Pericles. The architectural evidence suggests that, by the early fifth century, perhaps as many as six "small" buildings stood on the Acropolis,1 in addition to the early Hekatompedon on the south2 and the "Old Temple of Athena" on the north. The character of the Archaic Acropolis, with two large peripteral temples and six smaller treasury-like buildings, is not incomparable with the contemporary Panhellenic sanctuaries at Olympia and Delphi, though more modest.

The following four papers deal with pottery. In her interesting essay, Langridge-Noti draws a broad picture of the elements shaping the Athenian pottery trade, in particular the variety of choices and opportunities that would have been available to producers and traders of figured pottery. She considers that painters, potters and traders made decisions about pottery based on what they believed would suit a particular market or situation. Lawall reviews the amphora stamps from Koroni in combination with other sites in and near Attica dating to the time of the Chremonidean War to produce a better chronology of military activity in Attica. As he observes, the site of Koroni appears to have received its supplies from merchants who had not normally supplied Attica earlier. The commercial demand exerted by large-scale movements of troops during the Ptolemaic naval campaigns of the 260s appears to have been a significant catalyst for changes to Aegean patterns of shipping and trade.3 Lynch's essay treats the pottery associated with the symposium from the Athenian Agora during the Archaic and Classical periods. The variations in the shapes and quantities reflect changes in the social hierarchy between elite and non-elite as well as the number of participants at symposia who were Athenian citizens. MacKay studies three Late Medieval kilns from the Athenian Agora that produced glazed pottery similar to Italian maiolicas in shape and decoration. The Athenian imitations reflect Italian prototypes of the fifteenth century, rather than eastern ones. Athenian potters may have produced these pots both for sale outside Athens as well as to satisfy the Athenian market.

McInerney offers an in-depth analysis of the cult of Artemis Tauropolos at Halai Araphenides and its relationship with the remote Taurian peninsula. As the need to obtain grain from the Black Sea region increased, gradually Athenians became familiar with the cults of the Taurians. Artemis at Halai was a goddess whose cult served all of Attica, and, just as Brauron was a sanctuary used to mark the imminent coming of age of elite young women, Halai was primarily used for the introduction of young men in controlled rituals.

Riccardi focuses on three female portrait heads from the Roman Period discovered in the Athenian Agora. The heads probably belonged to honorific statues meant to commemorate generous public service and represented ideal feminine archetypes of the ruling-class elite of Roman Athens. The Byzantine Christians wanted to destroy the demonic spirits lingering within them, and each was at some point decapitated, defaced, and, finally, hidden from view.

Richardson studies the courtroom speeches of Demosthenes and finds two passages in which the orator's reference to texts on inscribed monuments carries the presumption that the texts would be familiar to his audience: inscriptions labeling gold crowns (Demosthenes 22.72-73) and the laws on the axones (Demosthenes 23.31). Demosthenes' characterization of these texts and monuments as being known to his audience provides us with a glimpse of the Athenian citizen's working knowledge of inscribed texts in the mid-fourth century BCE and how an orator could use that knowledge in the courtroom.

Salowey examines Sophokles' Philoctetes,which was staged in 409 BCE. She associates Philoctetes with Sophokles' special interest in healing cults and is tempted to view Sophokles' version of the Philoktetes myth as a didactic tool to introduce Athenians to the relatively new cult of Herakles in the city: here was a god who crushed the aggressive, healed the sick, and mentored the transition of boys into manhood.

Kevin F. Daly and Lee Ann Riccardi have done an excellent job of assembling papers that work very well together. Overall, this comprehensive group of essays is a welcome addition to the studies of Athens and Attica and will be of interest to a wide range of archaeologists and philologists.


1.   See also F. Santi, I frontoni arcaici dell' Acropoli di Atene, Roma 2010, 151-169.
2.   E. P. Sioumpara, "A New Reconstruction of the 'Hekatompedon' Temple based on the Poros Scattered Architectural Members of Acropolis", in C. Bouras and V. Eleutheriou (ed.), Proceedings of the 6th International Meeting for the Restoration of the Acropolis Monuments 4-5 October 2013, Athens 2015, 247-266.
3.   For the commercial ties between Egypt and the southeastern Mediterranean in the Ptolemaic period, see also M. L. Lawall and J. Lund (ed.),The Transport Amphorae and Trade of Cyprus, Aarhus 2013.

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