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Statues and CitiesHonorific Portraits and Civic Identity in the Hellenistic World$
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John Ma

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199668915

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199668915.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Statues and Cities

John Ma

Oxford University Press

This book explores the power of civic ideology to control powerful outsiders and insiders — as well as the limits of this power — by focusing on honorific portraits of the Hellenistic period. It considers the workings of images, representations, and memory, since honorific statues, as public art, tell us a lot about these themes, along with processes of competition and assertion on the ground and the role of families in these processes. Drawing on epigraphical sources combined with archaeology and art history, the book examines the honorific portrait within the context of social relations studied under the modern term ‘euergetism’. More specifically, it shows how the phenomenon of portraits in ancient art relates to the historical and anthropological context of city-states honouring worthy individuals through erecting statues, as well as the development of families imitating this practice. A number of test cases are discussed and approached from a variety of angles — Athens, Priene, the Oropian Amphiaraion, and the Epidaurian Asklepieion.

Keywords:   civic ideology, Hellenistic period, images, representations, memory, honorific statues, social relations, honorific portraits, city-states, families

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