Lecture: Prof. Luca Bombardieri – Portrait of a Lady

The Research Training Group 1876 "Early Concepts of Man and Nature" invites to the lecture "Portrait of a Lady - ‘Real’ women, ‘imagined’ women and the development of female representation in Prehistoric Cyprus" by Prof. Luca Bombardieri (Università di Torino).

Thursday, 22.06.2017, 6:15 p.m.
Hegelstr. 59, 55122 Mainz, room 00-309

Abstract:

Myth assigned to Cyprus the primary role of being the island of Aphrodite, thus creating an archetypical association between the place and the female Goddess par excellence.

The island of Aphrodite, rather than producing a narrative scenario, become a metaphor, a sort of cohesive foundation myth that strongly influenced the contemporary imaginary and perception of ancient Cyprus. Quite expectedly, it also impacted on the scholarly debate related to the nature and role of woman in the early society of Cyprus. While traditional approaches tend to trace back any possible evidence of the supposed ‘Prehistoric Aphrodite’, recent trends in Cypriote archaeology move towards the analysis of peculiar aspects of ‘real’ women and their representations in the figurative art of Neolithic to Late Bronze Age Cyprus.

The developmental trajectory of Cyprus in the recent Prehistory is rather different to that of surrounding cultures. While elsewhere in the Near East and eastern Mediterranean basin many societies were progressing towards urbanisation, those in Cyprus remained at the village level and there is no evidence for writing, complex administrative systems, or major inequalities in wealth or status till the very end of Middle Bronze Age (ca. 1750-1600 BC).

Our sources of evidence for the lives of women and their representation are three-fold: excavated domestic buildings (houses or households) and their contents; mortuary data; and figurative documents. Each of these will be discussed, before turning to look at what they and other avenues of enquiry, including technology and ritual, might together tell us about ‘imagined’ and ‘real’ women in Prehistoric Cyprus.

 

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