The presence of standardized funerary goddesses as markers of the tombs in the monumental and huge rock-cut necropolis of Cyrene is attested since early periods and was originally the direct representation of a lithic or marble version of a wooden xoanon, representing the agalma of a female indefinite and unnamed local goddess, with a strong chthonic vocation, represented initially as a pole dressed up and with a wig. In the case of the funerary goddesses, the use of the marble seems to be more attested than not the limestone. The type was in origin a local chthonic deity, which saw originally possible wooden versions, then monumentalised though their transposition/translation in marble and stone statues, but keeping for long the memory of the original xoana. In the Late Archaic period these original semata became female funerary busts, originally cut just below the shoulders and then slowly under the armpits and later under the hips. The role and iconography of the local female goddess or goddesses was then syncretized, with a gradual Hellenization, with Persephone/Kore, assuming the iconographic schema of Kore and for some aspect also Demeter, evoking in some way both of them. Recently a new iconographic schema has been found with three examples: one at Cyrene in a tomb which has been partially destroyed for the an unplanned urbanization; a second one just found on the black market in Tobruk but coming from Cyrene, and a third one is in sale. The paper is presenting the new typology and then trying to 'recontextualise' the statues.

From semata to schemata: iconography, illicit traffic and contextualization of new and old Funerary Goddesses at Cyrene

Luca Cherstich
;
Oliva Menozzi
2020

Abstract

The presence of standardized funerary goddesses as markers of the tombs in the monumental and huge rock-cut necropolis of Cyrene is attested since early periods and was originally the direct representation of a lithic or marble version of a wooden xoanon, representing the agalma of a female indefinite and unnamed local goddess, with a strong chthonic vocation, represented initially as a pole dressed up and with a wig. In the case of the funerary goddesses, the use of the marble seems to be more attested than not the limestone. The type was in origin a local chthonic deity, which saw originally possible wooden versions, then monumentalised though their transposition/translation in marble and stone statues, but keeping for long the memory of the original xoana. In the Late Archaic period these original semata became female funerary busts, originally cut just below the shoulders and then slowly under the armpits and later under the hips. The role and iconography of the local female goddess or goddesses was then syncretized, with a gradual Hellenization, with Persephone/Kore, assuming the iconographic schema of Kore and for some aspect also Demeter, evoking in some way both of them. Recently a new iconographic schema has been found with three examples: one at Cyrene in a tomb which has been partially destroyed for the an unplanned urbanization; a second one just found on the black market in Tobruk but coming from Cyrene, and a third one is in sale. The paper is presenting the new typology and then trying to 'recontextualise' the statues.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/720278
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