Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Kalos thanatos’: The ideology and iconography of the Demosion Sema at Athens in the 5th and 4th centuries BCE
by Masek, Brooke Heather, M.A., University of Oregon, 2011, 149; 1491137
Abstract (Summary)

The Demosion Sema [“Public Tomb”] was an area of the Kerameikos in Athens that in the 5th and 4th centuries BCE functioned as the state burial ground—the repository of mass graves for those who had lost their lives in war. In an annual ritual known as the patrios nomos [“the ancestral custom”], the war-dead were eulogized and publicly mourned. Their mass graves [polyandria] were regularly marked by marble monuments with reliefs of soldiers in combat, under which the names of the dead were listed according to their tribe, but without demotic or patronymic information. This thesis explores the various aspects of the patrios nomos and the iconography of the funerary monuments of the state burial ground. By analyzing features of the ritual, such as the attendant funeral orations (epitaphios logos), and aspects of the imagery found in the polyandria, we are able to learn not only about the function of the Demosion Sema within the Athenian polis but also how Athenians mourned and remembered their war-dead within the context of a democratic ideology.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hurwit, Jeffrey M.
Commitee: Eckerman, Christopher, Harper, James
School: University of Oregon
Department: Department of Art History
School Location: United States -- Oregon
Source: MAI 49/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology, Art history, Classical Studies
Keywords: Greece
Publication Number: 1491137
ISBN: 978-1-124-59143-8
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