2022 "From Horn to Head: Exploring Scenes of Animal Sacrifice on Greek Vases" by Tyler Jo Smith (November 2022)

Lecture Poster

The Department of Classical Studies at Tulane University presents “From Horn to Head: Exploring Scenes of Animal Sacrifice on Greek Vases” by Tyler Jo Smith (University of Virginia) on Thursday, November 10, 2022 at 5PM in Jones 108.

While a great deal has been written about the choice and types of animals shown in scenes of sacrifice in ancient Greek art, there has thus far been no study of heads and horns as an isolated category. Many vases portray horned animals as victims and there is surely much to be gleaned by careful observation of their body postures, function in the scenes, and interaction with other figures, be they human or animal. Thus, this paper investigates horned animals in representations of sacrifice in the artistic repertoire of Archaic and Classical Greece, with careful attention to their heads. The examples will be drawn from the black-and red-figure vases of Athens, with a few examples and comparisons drawn from other regions, such as Corinth, Boeotia, and East Greece. After reviewing the evidence of horned animals on the ‘animal style’ vases of the 7th century, the various positions of horned heads in pre-death sacrificial scenes will be presented, as well as the ways that the humans and objects present in the scenes interact with and draw attention to these particular animal parts, and why.

Athenian Red-Figure Amphora
Nausicaa Painter, c. 450 BC
© The Trustees of the British Museum

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