Add info on pgs. 8 & 15                   K. TEPPER




        One of the most fascinating examples of Athenian banquet w...
ways in which the black African was portrayed in antiquity. How these images reflect the

attitudes towards blacks in anti...
Greek artisans.4 According to Beardsley, the black African’s popularity as a subject and

the fidelity with which he was r...
named so because of their location along the upper Nile.7 Snowden stated that too much

attention had been given to the “p...
contextual readings of visual representations can be colored by the prejudices of the

society from which the scholar orig...
In Greek literature the primary characteristic of an Ethiopian was his dark skin;

the word Aethiops literally means burnt...
hot south and dark in coloring and the northern Scythian with their light features.21 The

dark skin and dark, curly hair ...
vase, as a type, first appears in the seventh century BCE as an aryballos. These early

aryballoi are the predecessors of ...
Louvre aryballos, the faience aryballos served as the model for later head-vases that

developed in Athens.32

        The...
slightly lower and displays evidence of prognaithism, where the jaw juts forward beyond

the brow. The Caucasian woman’s l...
On both vases, along the lip, are two inscriptions that read ΗΟΓΑΙΣΚΑΛΟΣ and

ΚΑΛΟΣΗΟΓΑΙΣ which translate as “The boy is h...
these at the banquet or symposium were an ideal opportunity for the host and his guests

to display their superior educati...
exotic.46 Africa was home to exotic fragrances, materials and animals. It is natural that

Africans would be prized for th...
god’s absence and subsequent inattention to earthly proceedings.50

        As the hosts of this divine banquet, the link ...
group bear the inscriptions: ΗΟΓΑΙΣΚΑLOΣ, "the boy is handsome”

or ΗΟΓΑΙΣΚΑLOΣΝΑΙ meaning “The boy is handsome indeed”. T...
aristocratic Athenian society.

       Ancient literary sources were invaluable to establishing the timeline of Greek

kno...
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Thesismay Edite Da 2d

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An in-depth analysis of Archaic Greek Janiform head vases.

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Thesismay Edite Da 2d

  1. 1. Add info on pgs. 8 & 15 K. TEPPER One of the most fascinating examples of Athenian banquet ware is the janiform head-vase, which often contrasted figures of two races, one Caucasian and one African. In order to analyze the iconography of the black African as it appears on Attic banquet ware, this thesis will examine examples of Ethiopians on janiform head-vases from the late Archaic period so as to gain a greater understanding of ancient Greek perceptions of black Africans, specifically in the context of banqueting and the symposium. The two vases examined in this paper are plastic Attic janiform head-vases dating to the sixth century BCE that belong to the Castellani group of Attic red-figure pottery. The structure of the janiform head-vase allows for the easy comparison of its subjects therefore making it the obvious choice for the comparison of two races. It follows that images of Ethiopians, paired with those of fair-skinned people, would be frequent among vases of this type.1 It is important to note that not all janiform vessels depict black Africans; many depict Dionysus, Satyrs and Herakles -- all subjects which have a connection to symposia culture. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the subjects represented on the vessel may be related to its use within the banqueting and sympotic context.2 While the literature on the iconography of the black in the art of the Greek world is not extensive, there is no denying that the quantity of images of blacks in art provides scholars with an intriguing topic and wealth of resources with which to study the various 1 Frank M. Snowden, Jr., “Iconographic Evidence on the Black Population in Greco-Roman Antiquity,” in The Image of the Black in Western Art: From the Rise of the Pharaohs to the Fall of the Romans, ed. Jean Vercoutter, Jean Leclart, Frank M. Snowden, Jr., Jehan Desanges (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1976), 146. 2 Biers, 121. 1
  2. 2. ways in which the black African was portrayed in antiquity. How these images reflect the attitudes towards blacks in antiquity is a subject still open to examination. The extent of the existence of racism in antiquity can never be known for certain, but the iconographical and literary evidence provide a few clues about ancient thoughts towards black Africans. After consideration of literary sources and a detailed analysis of the iconography on the Castellani kantharoi it is understandable that the Ethiopian on these vases could have other possible interpretations, nonetheless the evidence strongly points to a close association with the banquet and the symposium. The kantharos vase form, of which the Castellani group are, in and of itself is relevant to the context with which these vases are examined. The relevance of the vase type to its function cannot be ignored and its presence within the context of banqueting and the symposium is central to the interpretation of the iconography of these vases. Specifically, the black Africans that are depicted on the kantharoi may be understood as symbols of the banquet therefore it is within this context that these vases will be analyzed. The study of the iconography of the black African in Greek art has only recently come into vogue in academia. Discussion of the topic began around the start of the twentieth century. In her dissertation, The Negro in Greek and Roman civilization: A study of the Ethiopian type, G.H. Beardsley was the first to undertake a comprehensive study of the black African in ancient Greek art. In this thesis and in each of her subsequent books, Beardsley wrote that of all the so-called barbarian races, the black African held the most interest for the ancient Greeks.3 She claimed this fascination with the African is evidenced by the realism with which the black African was depicted by 3 Grace Hadley Beardsley, The Negro in Greek and Roman Civilization: A Study of the Ethiopian Type (New York, New York: Russell and Russell, 1929) ix. 2
  3. 3. Greek artisans.4 According to Beardsley, the black African’s popularity as a subject and the fidelity with which he was rendered is an indication of Greek interest in the black African.5 Beardsley was the first to realize the importance of literary evidence to the study of the topic; she utilized ancient sources to substantiate her analysis of the images of black Africans in Greek and Roman art. The pre-eminent scholar on blacks in Greco-Roman Antiquity is Frank M. Snowden, Jr., who expanded on Beardsley’s scholarship. Following Beardsley’s example, Snowden also used ancient literary sources to support his theories on Greek ideas about the black African in the ancient world. Yet, unlike Beardsley, he examined images from Egypt as well as Greece and Rome in order to gain a broader understanding of the role of the black person in ancient times and how those roles changed with the rise and fall of the largest powers of the ancient Mediterranean world. Snowden’s first book, Blacks in Antiquity, written in 1970, studies Greco-Roman contact with black Africans and proposes that the ancients did not regard those with black skin in a negative manner because of the dark color of their skin. Snowden argues that the Ethiopian was one of the favorite foreign physical types depicted by the Greeks and the Romans because they were seen as models of piety and justice.6 Snowden examined extant literature together with Greco-Roman art in order to support his thesis. In his essay “Iconographical Evidence on the Black Populations in Greco- Roman Antiquity”, Snowden separated black Africans into two different categories: the so-called “pure” African, who possessed the physical characteristics common to those belonging to the black race in their most marked form, and the “Nilotic”, a mixed race 4 Ibid. 5 Beardsley, 33. 6 Frank M. Snowden, Jr., Blacks in Antiquity (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1970), 181. 3
  4. 4. named so because of their location along the upper Nile.7 Snowden stated that too much attention had been given to the “pure” type and scholarship had not addressed the issue of how racial mixtures were depicted.8 The aim of Snowden’s essay was to trace the history of interest in the black African, referred to as Ethiopian by the Greeks, and black-white mixes in the art of antiquity and to relate the black Africans of the artists to the Ethiopians of literature. Snowden stated that the African presence in Greece and Rome aroused the interest in their physiognomy and myths. He concluded by saying that there is no evidence in ancient art proving the stereotyping of the black as apotropaic and comical existed.9 Snowden’s final book on the iconography of the black African was published in 1983. Before Color Prejudice continued to examine how blacks were seen by whites in antiquity and the rationale behind this opinion through iconographical and written sources. Considering his experience as an African-American living in the South during segregation, it is not surprising that Snowden would touch upon themes of race and the black African’s position in ancient society. While Snowden’s scholarship on ancient depictions of black Africans is invaluable, his terminology and racial classifications are outdated and can be problematic to a twenty-first century reader. It is clear that the environment in which he was educated and obsolete scholarship influenced his theories and his response to the images. He also implies that images of black Africans were too often categorized as apotropaic and that the label has a negative connotation.10 Apotropaism is not, however, a negative attribute; its misinterpretation reveals how easily 7 Snowden, “Iconographic Evidence,” 133. 8 Ibid. 9 Ibid., 245. 10 Frank M. Snowden, Jr., Before Color Prejudice: The Ancient View of Blacks (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1983), 7. 4
  5. 5. contextual readings of visual representations can be colored by the prejudices of the society from which the scholar originates. In order to produce an objective analysis of the objects, this essay will ignore any presuppositions assigned to black Africans and base any theories on the iconographical evidence provided. Black Africans were neither seen as inferior or superior exclusively; it would be a grave oversimplification of both the iconography of the black African as well as ancient Greek culture to assume there is only one context in which the image of the African could be interpreted. While there may have been several contexts in which the black African appears, it is clear that the banquet is the oldest of the Ethiopians ethnographic correlations. Homer refers to the “blameless Ethiopians” in the Iliad and it is probable that he was describing a man of sub-Saharan African descent in the following lines of the Odyssey: “…round-shouldered, dusky, wooly-headed; Eurybates, his name was- and Odysseus gave him preference over the officers. He had a shrewd head, like the captain’s own.”11 This dates the first mention of black Africans by Greeks to approximately the ninth or eighth century BCE.12 Xenophanes gave the first physical description detailing both the color and the nose of the Ethiopian in the late sixth century BCE.13 While detailed information, such as the aforementioned, regarding the physiognomy was available as early as the sixth century BCE; many nineteenth and twentieth century scholars believed that the Greeks did not personally encounter Ethiopians until the Persian Wars during the fifth century BCE.14 11 Homer, the Odyssey In The Norton Anthology: World Masterpieces, ed. Maynard Mack (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1997), 275. 12 Snowden, Blacks in Antiquity, 25. 13 Xenophanes, Frg. 16 in H. Diels, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (Berlin 1961) and Chap. VIII. 14 Snowden, Blacks in Antiquity, 102. 5
  6. 6. In Greek literature the primary characteristic of an Ethiopian was his dark skin; the word Aethiops literally means burnt-face.15 This darkness of skin was attributed to environmental factors such as the heat of the sun.16 Ancient mythology attempts to explain the physiognomy of the Ethiopian in the myth of Phaethon who, after driving his father’s chariot too close to the earth, scorched the Ethiopians therefore causing them to have “burnt” skin and curled hair.17 All black skinned people were called Ethiopians by the Greeks regardless of their specific geographic and ethnic origins. Ethiopians were known to the ancient Greeks as a fantastic people, favorites of the gods, who inhabited the farthest ends of the earth. They resided by the River Ocean, half in the east, where the sun rises and half in the west, with the setting sun.18 As well as dark skin, Ethiopians were said to have broad noses and “wooly” hair. As previously mentioned, Xenophanes wrote of the Ethiopians’ dark skin and flat noses, and Herodotus was the first to mention the wooly texture of their hair.19 Later, Diodorus Siculus, in his Bibliotheca historica, discusses the skin, nose and hair of the Ethiopians living near the Nile.20 The Greeks were captivated with the “otherness” of the black African as evidenced by Diodorus’ detailed description of the Ethiopian’s physiognomy. The Greeks’ interest in the Ethiopian in literature carried over into their art. The racial differences between the black African and the Caucasian fascinated the ancient Greeks. Comparisons of Ethiopians and Scythians were popular as each ethnic group represents extremes in both environmental and physiognomic contexts; the Ethiopian being from the 15 Snowden, Before Color Prejudice, 7. 16Snowden, Blacks in Antiquity, 2. 17 Ibid., 75. 18 Snowden, Before Color Prejudice, 67. 19 Xenophanes, Frg. 16; Herodotus 7.70. 20 Snowden, “Iconograpical Evidence,” 122. Egyptian knowledge of black Africans dates as far back as the third millennium BCE, contemporary to the Minoan civilization, which also depicted black Africans in their art. 6
  7. 7. hot south and dark in coloring and the northern Scythian with their light features.21 The dark skin and dark, curly hair of the Ethiopian made a bold contrast with the light eyes and red hair of the Scythian. Representations of black Africans appear on objects including jewelry, pottery, mosaics, coins and bronze sculpture. The first images of black Africans come from Crete and Egypt.22 Representations of blacks appear on the islands of Cyprus and Crete as early as the second millennium BCE;23 however, images of black Africans do not appear in the art of mainland Greece until the sixth century BCE.24 The black African as a subject depicted on Greek art remains in use from the end of the Archaic period until the Hellenistic period and remained popular into the art of the Roman Empire.25 The popularity of the black African as a subject is evidenced by the variety and number of images available to scholars. The black African as a subject most commonly appeared in Attic plastic pottery. The earliest known depiction of the black African by the Greeks is in the form of the head-vase.26 This is a vessel with a face that covers the surface of the vase body. In the Attic plastic head-vase the predominant features of the figure’s face such as the eyes, nose and lips are modeled in clay and the skin and details are painted on the surface. Later the sculptural quality of the vessel improved as the representation of the face was given greater three-dimensionality. J. D. Beazley organized the Attic head-vases into eighteen classes according to their plastic elements. The head- 21 Snowden, Blacks in Antiquity, 25. 22 Ibid,. 122. 23 Snowden, “Iconographical Evidence,” 136. 24 Beardsley, 11-12; Snowden, Blacks in Antiquity, 23-24. 25 Snowden, Blacks in Antiquity, 156-158. Greek theatre also embraced the Ethiopian as a subject in both plays and comedies. The Aethiopica, now lost, is about the mythical Ethiopians. Plays involving Ethiopian themes are lost and are known only through titles, fragments and vase-painting; theatre masks depicting Ethiopians still survive. Tales of Andromeda, Memnon and King Busiris are known from scenes that are illustrated on surviving Attic pottery. 26 Beardsley, 11. 7
  8. 8. vase, as a type, first appears in the seventh century BCE as an aryballos. These early aryballoi are the predecessors of a later group of attic plastic janiform face aryballoi and kantharoi.27 This term references Janus, the Roman god associated with entrances and exits, whose two-faced head was depicted in an identical manner. It was used as early as 1920 in the article, “Two Heads of Negresses” by Charles T. Seltman.28 The Castellani group of face kantharoi forms one of the early groups and date to the late sixth century BCE.29 It is this group of kantharoi, along with two aryballoi, that will form the basis for this analysis of the Ethiopian presence in Attic janiform head-vases. Insert info about archaic pottery The largest concentration of vases depicting Ethiopians appears at the end of the sixth century BCE in the form of Attic plastic head-vases. However, black Africans are depicted on both janiform and singular head-vases as early as the seventh century BCE.30 Many of these early examples come from the islands that surround mainland Greece. One of the earliest known examples of the black African juxtaposed with a Caucasian is on a faience aryballos of disputed provenance. (Figure 1.) The faience aryballos dates to the seventh century BCE.31 While the faience aryballos is a janiform head-vase, as are the kantharoi this paper is examining, there are significant stylistic differences between the two types of vessels. The faience aryballos is short and squat; the facial features are incised and lack painted decoration. While different from the Castellani group and the 27 William R. Biers, “Some Thoughts on the Origins of the Attic Head Vase,” in Ancient Greek Art and Iconography Warren G Moon, ed., (Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1983) 121-122. 28 Chalres T. Seltman, “Two Heads of Negresses,” American Journal of Archeology 24 (Jan.-Mar., 1920) under “janiform” http://www.jstor.org/stable/497548 (accessed 01/13/2009) 14. 29 J. D. Beazley, “Charinos,” The Journal of Hellenic Studies 49 (1929) under “janiform” http://www.jstor.org/stable/625001 (accessed 11/05/2009) 39. 30 Biers, 121. 31 Snowden, “Iconographical Evidence”, 140. 8
  9. 9. Louvre aryballos, the faience aryballos served as the model for later head-vases that developed in Athens.32 The structure of the janiform head-vase allows for the easy comparison of its subjects therefore making it the obvious choice for the comparison of two races. It follows that images of Ethiopians, paired with those of fair-skinned people, would be frequent among vases of this type.33 It is important to note that not all janiform vessels depict black Africans; many depict Dionysus, Satyrs and Herakles -- all subjects which have a connection to symposia culture. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the subjects represented on the vessel may be related to its use in the banquet and the symposium.34 Two particularly fine examples of Attic plastic pottery utilizing the janiform to compare the physiognomy of a black-skinned African and a Caucasian woman and presumably crafted for the banquet or symposium use are the Castellani group currently located in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (Figure 2.) and the Villa Guilia. (Figure 3.) The sixth century BCE vessels are kantharoi, or wine vases.35 The features of the figures on the vases are the same because the two vases were cast from the same mold. The women’s necks combine to form the base of the kantharos. On the left an African female is painted a dark, glossy black with white brows, teeth and corneas. Facing opposite the African woman on the right side of the vase is a Caucasian woman. Starting from the bottom up the column of the two necks combine to form one cylinder. The figures jaws are at nearly the same level although the African’s jaw is 32 H. McC, “Kalos-Names on Attic Vases,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (Oct., 1921) under “Kalos,” http://www.jstor.org/stable/3254707 (accessed January 15, 2009) 211. 33 Ibid., 146. 34 Biers, 121. 35 J.D. Beazely categorizes these vessels into Group F, also known as the Castellani Group. 9
  10. 10. slightly lower and displays evidence of prognaithism, where the jaw juts forward beyond the brow. The Caucasian woman’s lips are closed and much thinner than the African’s who thick lips are opened to reveal her large, white upper teeth. The aquiline nose of the Caucasian woman’s nose begins at her brow and slopes down to a well defined tip. The African’s nose is broad and elegantly sculpted. Arguably, the care taken by the artist creates a believable representation that gives the impression of individuality. The African woman wears a gold earring while the Caucasian woman does not wear any jewelry.36 Both of the women’s eyes are almond shaped, but the Caucasian woman’s eyes are outlined in black and sit under black, arched brows. The African woman’s eyebrows are white and her hair is quite light. This creates more interest by breaking up the expanse of black that black skin, dark brows and dark hair create. The use of white and red for the brows and hair further serves to delineate the difference between the features. The hair of the African is depicted by small raised dots and is red in color. An example of the Procles method wherein the skin is glazed black and the hair, depicted by small raised pieces of clay, and lips are finished in red-figure.37 The small dots represent the tight coils that create the “wooly” texture of the African’s hair. The Caucasian woman’s hair is also represented in an unusual manner. Her hair is rendered plastically in waves, it is red in color where the hair meets the forehead and then is black further back. The red hair is outlined with a black line. Her ear is visible in both vases, covering the edge of her sakkos in the Villa Giulia kantharos. The sakkos’ worn by both the figures on the Villa Giulia vase is decorated with a pattern of ivy, which was often worn on the heads of Dionysus’ followers, the maenads. 36 The earring worn by the African woman is the same design that is painted on the kantharos at the Villa Guilia. 3730 Beardsley, 31. 10
  11. 11. On both vases, along the lip, are two inscriptions that read ΗΟΓΑΙΣΚΑΛΟΣ and ΚΑΛΟΣΗΟΓΑΙΣ which translate as “The boy is handsome”.38 The presence of the word kalos indicates that the inscription is probably indicates a “love-name” as kalos literally means beautiful or handsome.39 A fitting epithet as the craftsmanship is excellent and the vessels are well preserved. The differences are in the painted surface decoration and the hair and sakkos which was added after the basic shape was freed from the mold. The two vases are variations of a type produced in Athens during the sixth century BCE. The symposium of Archaic Greece functioned as a structured extension of Greek society; it served to both exclude, those outside of the Greek power structure, and to equalize, for the symposiasts feast and drink as equals.40 The symposium would open with a tasting of neat wine before the three kraters were mixed. As a myrtle branch was passed by the participants, the possessor of the branch picked up singing the song where the previous symposiast left off and the singing would continue in the pattern. During the komos the symposiasts take to the streets as the make their way to the house of an admired person to lure them out.41 It is easy to imagine the kantharoi as the central conversation pieces, prompting revelers to tell stories, inspiring intellectual discourse or a game of “comparisons”.42 As a visual representation of the differences between the African and Caucasian races, the Attic kantharoi of the Castellani group may have inspired discussions on topics ranging from anthropology to theatre at the symposium and/or banquet. Debates such as 38 “Charinos”, 39. 39 McC, “Kalos-Names on Attic Vases,” 211. 40 A. M. Bowie, “Thinking with Drinking: Wine and the symposium in Aristophanes,” The Journal of Hellenic Studies 117 (1997) under “wine” http://www.jstor.org/stable/632547 (accessed May 10, 2009) 2-3. 41 Ibid,. 42 Ewen L. Bowie and L. Pernot, “Greek Table-Talk before Plato,” Rhetorica 11 (1993) under “wine” http://www.jstor.org/stable/20135388 (accessed May 7th, 2009) 368. 11
  12. 12. these at the banquet or symposium were an ideal opportunity for the host and his guests to display their superior education and knowledge of Greek culture. Norms of sympotic conduct involved the praising of the individual symposiasts as the vessel was passed around the room.43 The ritual of toasting elevated the significance of the vessel as well as the attendees of the symposium. While the participants enjoyed a sumptuous feast, the kantharos’ whimsical decoration would have inspired various threads of conversation. The iconography decorating the vases’ surface reinforces these vases association with the symposium. In previous scholarship, little attention has been paid to the figure of the Caucasian in the Attic janiform vase. She is often described as a maenad though some scholars have discussed the appearance of an “Eastern Princess” in later Attic janiform head-vases.44 There is no definitive evidence to support this idea but the presence of the ivy on the women’s head coverings causes this inference to gain in attraction. However, the suggestion of an Eastern Princess and/or a maenad is interesting because it connects the East, the origin of wine and the Dionysian cult, to the head-vase.45 When combined with the image of the black African, a symbol of banqueting such as a maenad or “Eastern Princess” reinforces the association of the vases with the symposium and wine culture. It is possible, however, that the women were meant to be seen and discussed in relation to the exotic associations of Ethiopians, implying the exotic provenance of the wine. The association of Ethiopians with the exotic is not tenuous. As a mythical people that resided at the farthest ends of the earth, Ethiopians would have been considered 43 Bowie, “Thinking with Drinking”, 368. 44 Biers, 121. 45 Greek geography can be difficult because locations are not exact and terminology is broad. The East in reference is the East of the ancient Greeks and consists of primarily Asia Minor, the Levant and a vague understanding of the geography of India. 12
  13. 13. exotic.46 Africa was home to exotic fragrances, materials and animals. It is natural that Africans would be prized for their exotic origin and unique appearance. Exotic goods came from distant lands and therefore they would naturally be more expensive, thus becoming a symbol of prosperity. The excellent craftsmanship of the Castellani kantharoi suggests that these vases were expensive and highly prized symposium ware. Along with their practical and aesthetic functions, these vases were a way for the host to display his wealth. Black Africans were symbolic of wealth in the ancient world in several ways. Nubia was the leading supplier of gold to the Egyptians and therefore was widely associated with the metal.47 As an exotic race known to inhabit a country rich with gold, the black African may have come to symbolize wealth and prosperity. The fact that the black African on the Castellani group wears a gold earring may be a reference to Nubian wealth and gold. Through Nubia’s gold trade, it is possible that black Africans may have been somehow associated with great wealth. In addition to their association with great wealth, the Ethiopians also held the favor of the gods. They were special to the Greek gods as they hosted a banquet for the Olympians which lasted twelve days.48 Moreover, Poseidon was known to visit them alone to participate in a large sacrifice of bulls and sheep.49 This honor of being chosen by the aquatic deity for an additional visit outside of the annual banquet including the other Olympians makes evident the favor the Ethiopians held with the Greek gods. The Ethiopian banquet was often used by playwrights and poets to conveniently explain the 46 Snowden, Before Color Prejudice, 67. 47Ibid., 23. 48 Homer, the Illiad, 1.423-425 49 Homer, the Odyssey, 1.22-26. 13
  14. 14. god’s absence and subsequent inattention to earthly proceedings.50 As the hosts of this divine banquet, the link between black Africans and banqueting culture is apparent. The Ethiopians played host to the most powerful beings in the Greek universe, providing them with a feast worthy of their station. In order to tempt the gods the Ethiopians must have put together the definitive banquet. Perhaps theirs was the standard to strive for when hosting a banquet. Beardsley however, saw no connection between the black African and the banquet or symposium and postulated that the African was only included because they may have served as slaves at the banquet.51 Beardsley’s view, however, perhaps speaks of her own subconscious association between black people and slavery, reflective of her experience living in twentieth century America. A black slave was rare in ancient Greece; the majority of slaves were Caucasian.52 Recall that the Ethiopians of Homer lived in the land of the Table of the Sun, and were a race that feasted with the gods. Therefore in the ancient Greek world the Ethiopian was more likely to be associated with banqueting than with slavery. If we accept the maenad theory as probable, when combined with the connection between the Ethiopian and the banquet, the artist’s selection of these two figures becomes clearer. These vases served as the centerpiece of the banquet inspiring conversation and allowing the participants to display their knowledge of art, history, culture and literature. The aryballos was the first form used for the head-vase as well as for the janiform head-vase therefore head-vases in the shape of an aryballos are quite common. The term kalos appears on the Castellani kantharoi. Both vessels in the Castellani 50 James S. Romm, The Edges of the Earth in Ancient Thought (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1994), 51. 51 Beardsley, 33. 52 Biers, 120. 14
  15. 15. group bear the inscriptions: ΗΟΓΑΙΣΚΑLOΣ, "the boy is handsome” or ΗΟΓΑΙΣΚΑLOΣΝΑΙ meaning “The boy is handsome indeed”. This inscription is common on Attic vases bearing kalos-names, or love-names; this general inscription appears on many vases instead of a specific name.53 It has been suggested that these vases may have been given as gifts to the admired youth or as “favors” to the guests of the symposium at which the favored youth was present.54 These vessels were compliments to the aristocratic youths who were admired in Athens. If so, the inclusion of the term kalos in the inscriptions written on the vases associates these vases with the aristocratic Attic youths of the sixth century BCE.55 The repeat appearance of the term kalos combined with the high level of craftsmanship evident in the Attic kantharoi is highly suggestive of the positive connotation associated with these vases or what was represented on it. It has been suggested that kalos vases may have been given youths of Athens and this type of vase. Insert Kalos info The iconography of the black African as it appears on the Attic head-vase was strongly associated with banqueting, and the symposium. The Castellani kantharoi, and vases like them, may also have held a specific function within an important aspect of Athenian male society that revolves around the symposium and the relationship between erastes and eromenos. The evidence obtained by a detailed analysis of the iconography decorating the surface of these vases suggests a strong connection to themes of banqueting, wealth, and pederasty. Symbolic images such as gold jewelry, when factored in with the function of the vase type and the implications of its use, reinforce the correlation of these vessels and their iconography with that of the banquet and the 53 Ibid. 54 Ibid. 55 McC, 211. 15
  16. 16. aristocratic Athenian society. Ancient literary sources were invaluable to establishing the timeline of Greek knowledge of black Africans as well as for their descriptions of the Ethiopians physiognomy. The “otherness” of the Ethiopian inspired Greek writers to expound on the various identifying features of the race and the environmental theories used to explain the dissimilarity between the appearance of the Greek and the black African. While race may have been a factor in the composition of the vases, it is secondary to their link with the culture of the symposium. The black African was primarily a vehicle for artists to communicate concepts of prevalent in banqueting and the symposium, and to his audience who in turn would be well versed in the language of these objects. 16

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