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Ashes, Images, and MemoriesThe Presence of the War Dead in Fifth-Century Athens$
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Nathan T. Arrington

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199369072

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199369072.001.0001

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Private Engagement with Civic Death

Private Engagement with Civic Death

Portrait Statues, Votive Reliefs, and Wall Paintings

(p.177) 5 Private Engagement with Civic Death
Ashes, Images, and Memories

Nathan T. Arrington

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins by tracing the contours of an atmosphere of restraint in the fifth century. The community placed social restrictions on personal representation, but it needed leaders, and the elite desired recognition. In this context, the emerging concept of death for the city offered the elite a means to obviate criticism of portraits through demonstrated civic service. Posthumous portraits of men and portraits in votive reliefs engaged in different ways with the value of self-sacrifice represented by “the fallen.” Individuals and families used such images to reclaim the memory of the dead, to encode and remember the character—ēthos—of the deceased, and to partake in political debates. A case study of Kimon illustrates how families could use portraits informed by the “beautiful death” to rehabilitate the memories of the dead.

Keywords:   euergetism, Kimon, portrait, votive relief, wall painting, Stoa Poikile

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