Aesthetic, Sociological, and Exploitative Attitudes to Landscape in Greco-Roman Literature, Art, and Culture
This article introduces and discusses ancient and contemporary approaches to landscape and proposes model readings for their evaluation. Model readings suggest strategies drawn from environmental and ecocritical studies alongside art historical, and more traditional literary studies approaches. This article emphasizes in particular the benefits of evaluating architectural and agricultural interventions in nature alongside one another. Perceptions of landscape in the Greco-Roman world were strongly associated with cultivation and human invention. In order better to understand how and why aesthetic interest, sentiment, mood, and movement can also be significant, this article explores what makes for “improvement” and value in landscape. It also investigates how contemporary theory offers new ways of evaluating ancient depictions of landscape and responses to the natural environment.
H. A. Shapiro
This chapter explores the influence of Hesiod’s Theogony on Greek visual artists of the archaic period (ca. 700–480 bce). Since dozens of divinities and heroes mentioned in the poem appear in sculpture and (more often) vase painting and cannot be systematically treated, one major work with strong Hesiodic associations is examined as a test case. The Attic black-figure dinos signed by the painter Sophilos and dated ca. 580 bce includes more than thirty gods and goddesses participating in the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, future parents of Achilles. All of these can be found in the Theogony, and the poem can be a helpful guide to understanding how the individual figures are placed in the procession. The unique depiction of Okeanos on the dinos illustrates especially well the complex relationship of text and image.