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Creating ConsilienceIntegrating the Sciences and the Humanities$
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Edward Slingerland and Mark Collard

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199794393

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794393.001.0001

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Quantifying the Importance of Motifs on Attic Figure-Painted Pottery

Quantifying the Importance of Motifs on Attic Figure-Painted Pottery

(p.194) 10 Quantifying the Importance of Motifs on Attic Figure-Painted Pottery
Creating Consilience

Peter Schauer

Oxford University Press

This chapter applies population-level, quantitative analysis to the development of motifs on figure-painted pottery in ancient Greece. It shows that the frequencies of motifs known to be important from other sources, such as Theseus, are dwarfed by more popular motifs such as Nike. This indicates that cultural importance cannot be inferred from frequency alone. The examples also show that correlations with contemporary events occur in predicted locations in some motifs, as in the example of Boreas, but in the example of Pan, it is shown that, although an historical correlation exists, a larger increase at a later time has been left unexplained. The example of Nike demonstrates that a hitherto unseen peak in popularity shows up clearly when the motifs are viewed as frequencies.

Keywords:   quantitative analysis, motifs, ancient pottery, ancient Greece, frequencies, Theseus, Nike

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