The Virtues of the Dead: Women's Funerary Monuments in Classical Attica
Haverford College. Department of Classics
Place of Publication
The Daniel Gillis and Joseph Russo Prize
Table of Contents
Bi-College users only
This thesis addresses the topic of women's funerary stelai from Classical Attica which praise the virtue of the deceased. In contrast to earlier scholars, I argue for a holistic approach when analyzing these monuments, maintaining that epigraphy and iconography are inextricably interconnected and must be analyzed appropriately. These elements provide complementary information, working together to give viewers a complete picture of the roles the deceased fulfilled during her lifetime as well as the ways in which she exercised her virtue within the familial and domestic spheres. In addition, I argue that these laudatory grave stelai served a purpose beyond marking where an individual was buried. Such monuments performed a multifaceted role in identity construction on various scales, functioning to establish not only the identity of the individual deceased but also the identity of the idealized woman. Furthermore, the grave markers aided in the construction of the identities of the oikos and the polis by illustrating the virtuous natures of the women they produced. Although any given stele might foreground one aspect of identity more than the other aspects, the fact that many monuments constructed all four of these concepts of identity simultaneously is proof of their complexity, which prompts further study.