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Names Or Comments? The Birth Of Political Personification In Greece

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Chapter Summary

As the goal of this chapter is an understanding of how and why Classical Athenian artists created personifications, one must start with the techniques of presentation. Therefore, it begins with a discussion of ancient rhetorical terms related to personification. A discussion of the role of personifications in myth and cult is then warranted by the fact that Athenian artists begin to introduce personifications in the context of myth. The chapter considers the development of Greek personifications in all arts until the Classical period. This discussion is followed by surveys of personifications in Classical literature; political personifications in old comedy; symbolic figures in the visual arts of the early Classical period; and finally the use of labels with personifications. The simplest personifications are those that bear meaningful names. More complex personifications could result from the addition of genealogies and other relationships, appearance and attributes, speech and action.

Keywords: Classical Athenian; Classical period; Greek personifications

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