Lecture by Barbara N. Scarfo

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 19:30 to 20:30
Canadian Institute, Dionysiou Aiginitou 7
Event Description: 

Barbara N. Scarfo (Homer and Dorothy Thompson Fellow, The Canadian Institute in Greece; Ph.D. candidate, Department of Classics, McMaster University) "Representations of Mothers and Infants in Funerary Commemoration: A Cross-Cultural Study"

In this paper I explore the depictions of mothers and infants on Classical Attic funerary monuments. By pairing mothers and infants, the monuments’ iconography helped to convey that the woman depicted had either achieved, or attempted to achieve, the goal that was set out for her by the Athenian polis and her oikos: she had become a mother to a legitimately recognized heir, an Athenian citizen. In certain cases, however, the absence of an inscription makes it more difficult to interpret the iconography. This paper will attempt to fill in the gaps that such ambiguities present. I will discuss the social and cultural circumstances that surrounded motherhood in Classical Athens and the expectations that were placed on women within their own oikoi and by the state, chiefly marrying and reproducing at a relatively young age. I will also analyze these monuments alongside ones from the Roman period that feature mothers and infants, a comparison to the Attic material that can help further our understanding of these monuments.