Dionysos in Archaic Greece

An Understanding through Images

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For the Greek, Dionysos was a very important god: for individuals as well as for the community as a whole. As there are only a few written sources dating from before the 5th Century BC the many images of Dionysos on Greek vases may well offer a genuine approach to the meaning given by the ancient viewer.
This book explores the earliest images followed by those on small vases for private use, on mixing bowls of the symposion, on amphoras, on later drinking cups and on archaic sculptures. It gives an overview of Dionysian iconography of the 5th Century BC as well as an overall interpretation.
The reader will learn why this god of vine and wine, of theatre and ecstasy, was so important for humans and why he played a key role in the life of the polis.
Dionysos war für die Griechen ein Gott von zentraler Bedeutung, sowohl im Leben des Einzelnen wie der Gemeinschaft. Weil vor dem 5. Jahrhundert v.Chr. sehr wenige Schriftzeugnisse existieren, können uns die vielen Darstellungen des Dionysos auf griechischen Vasen am ehesten einen Zugang zu dem vermitteln, was der antike Mensch über ihn dachte.
Analysiert werden zuerst die frühesten Bilder, dann jene auf kleinen individuell gebrauchten Vasen, auf grossen, beim Symposion verwendeten Mischgefässen, auf Amphoren, auf den späteren Trinkschalen und schliesslich in der archaischen Skulptur. Das Buch schliesst mit einem Ausblick auf die Bildgeschichte des Dionysos im 5. Jahrhundert v.Chr. und einer umfassenden Deutung.
Diese Interpretation hilft zu verstehen, warum Dionysos, der Gott der Rebe und des Weins, des Theaters, der Ekstase, für den antiken Menschen so wichtig war und auch im öffentlichen Leben der klassischen Polis eine so grosse Rolle gespielt hat.
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Biographical Note

Cornelia Isler-Kerényi was born in Budapest and brought up in Italian Switzerland. She completed her studies of classical archaeology in Zürich and Munich, Ph.D. in 1967. She participated in excavations in Sicily and Greece and was guest professor at several universities in Switzerland, Italy and Paris (EHESS) besides numerous other public activities. She has published widely on Greek art, history of research, Roman Switzerland and Dionysos. Among her latest books is Civilizing Violence. Satyrs on 6th Century Greek Vases (Fribourg/Göttingen 2004).
Cornelia Isler-Kerényi ist geboren in Budapest und aufgewachsen in der italienischen Schweiz. Sie studierte Klassische Archäologie in Zürich und München (Doktorat im Jahr 1967). Sie hat teilgenommen an Ausgrabungen in Sizilien und Griechenland. Intensive Lehrtätigkeit an Universitäten der Schweiz, Italiens und in Paris (EHESS), daneben zahlreiche Aktivitäten in der Öffentlichkeit: Publizistik, Führungen, Ausstellungen, Vorträge. Forschungen und Publikationen über griechische Kunst, Forschungsgeschichte, römische Schweiz, Dionysos, zuletzt „Civilizing Violence. Satyrs on 6th Century Greek Vases (Fribourg/Göttingen 2004).

Table of contents

Preface
Introduction
1. An iconography in process
An image of Dionysos from the 7th century BCE
Characters of the Dionysian circle before 600 BCE
Dionysian characters in the animal frieze
Conclusion
2. Turning into a satyr
Small vases from the first half of the 6th century BCE
Corinthian unguent vases
A Corinthian mule-rider
Middle Corinthian synposium vases
Attic Komast cups
Grotesque dancers from Boeotia
Attic Siana cups
The C Painter
The Heidelberg Painter
Other Siana cups and a contemporary skyphos
Laconian cups with Dionysian images
Dionysian subjects in Ionian pottery
Conclusion
3. Dionysos and the gods
Dinoi and kraters from the first half of the 6th century BCE
Early dancers and satyrs
Dionysos on the dinos of Sophilos
Dionysos on the François krater
The procession of the gods
The return of Hephaistos
The Pursuit of Troilos
The frieze with the mule-rider
Hephaistos
Other Attic dinoi and kraters
Corinthian kraters
Laconian symposium vases
Ionian dinoi
Conclusion
4. The thiasos of Dionysos
Amphorae and similar vases of the 6th century BCE
The thiasos and the female companions of Dionysos
Prototypical women
The mother of twins
Ariadne?
Dionysian amphorae by Lydos
Dionysian amphorae by the Amasis Painter
Dionysian dances
Dionysos among ephebes
Contemporaries of the Amasis Painter
The Swing Painter
The Affecter
Tyrrhenian amphorae
Conclusion
5. Dionysian happiness
Cups and other small vases from the second half of the 6th century BCE
Little Master cups
The cup by the Kallis Painter and its forerunners
The eye cup by Exekias
The eyes
The battle
The inside of Exekias’ cup
Dolphins, ships and the sea
The vine
Dionysos
Cups by the Amasis Painter
Phallic kylikes
Figured aryballoi
Attic mastoi
Head-kantharoi and Ionian Little Master cups
Chalcidian eye cups
Conclusions
6. Dionysos in archaic Greek art: a summary
A note on methodology
Dionysian iconography from the late 7th century to about 500 BCE
Iconography and history
Dionysian conography in the first half of the 5th century BCE
Dionysian figurations in archaic Greek sculpture
Conclusion: Dionysos reconsidered
7. Modern mythologies: “Dionysos” versus “Apollon”
Friedrich Nietzsche
Apollon and Dionysos in German Classical scholarship before Nietzsche
Apollon and Dionysos in Classical scholarship after Nietzsche
Apollon and Dionysos today
Index
Museums
Vases following Beazley
Vases and other works following LIMC
Ancient names
General
Modern authors
Abbreviations
Works cited
Figures

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