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Art and Identity in Dark Age Greece, 1100-700 BC by Susan Langdon

Art and Identity in Dark Age Greece, 1100-700 BC


Art and Identity in Dark Age Greece, 1100-700 BC by Susan Langdon

This book explores how art and material culture were used to construct age, gender and social identity in the Greek Early Iron Age, 1100-700 BCE. Coming between the collapse of the Bronze Age palaces and the creation of Archaic city-states, these four centuries witnessed fundamental cultural developments and political realignments. Whereas previous archaeological research has emphasized class-based aspects of change, this study offers a more comprehensive view of early Greece by recognizing the place of children and women in a warrior-focused society. Combining iconographic analysis, gender theory, mortuary analysis, typological study and object biography, Susan Langdon explores how early figural art was used to mediate critical stages in the life-course of men and women. She shows how an understanding of the artistic and material contexts of social change clarifies the emergence of distinctive gender and class asymmetries that laid the basis for classical Greek society.


'... puts forward strikingly new conclusions about a whole series of much-studied works of art ...'
The Times Literary Supplement

'L[angdon] has managed here something quite remarkable. Scholarship has been locked into fruitless debate about whether particular myths can be identified, whether particular life-histories are commemorated and what exactly we should be recognizing in 'Mistress of the Animals'
motifs. L

[angdon] liberates it by uncovering a discourse that is about growing up, establishing oneself as a man or woman, forming material bonds and shaping household roles.
Robin Osborne, The Classical Review

'In short, this is a spectacular book and, to my mind, one of the most intelligent analyses of Greek Geometric art ever written. Its brilliance lies in its simplicity ... Well conceived and thought through, thoroughly researched, richly illustrated, and elegantly written, Art and Identity is a 'must-read'
for anyone even remotely interested in early Greece. It will quickly take its place as a seminal study, one that will re

-orient the way in which we look at pictures in the corpus of Greek Geometric figural representation ...
John K. Papadopoulos, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

About the Author

Susan Langdon is associate professor of Greek art and archaeology at the University of Missouri. A scholar of early Greek pottery, sculpture and iconography, she curated the exhibition From Pasture to Polis: Art in the Age of Homer, from which she published the exhibition catalog and New Light on a Dark Age, a volume of papers from the accompanying symposium. She is also coauthor of Artifact and Assemblage: The Finds from a Regional Survey of the Southern Argolid, Greece, I: The Prehistoric and Early Iron Age Pottery and Lithic Artifacts.

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Book Info

Publication date

18th October 2010


Susan Langdon

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Cambridge University Press


408 pages


History of art: ancient & classical art,BCE to c 500 CE
Classical Greek & Roman archaeology
Ancient history: to c 500 CE
European history
Social & cultural history



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