NEH banner [Return to Query]

Products for grant FA-55099-10

Ancient Iconoclasm: Destroying the Power of Images in Greece, 480-31 B.C.
Rachel Kousser, CUNY Research Foundation, Brooklyn College

Grant details:

The Afterlives of Greek Sculpture: Interaction, Transformation, and Destruction. (Book) [show prizes]
Title: The Afterlives of Greek Sculpture: Interaction, Transformation, and Destruction.
Author: Rachel Kousser
Abstract: This book is the first comprehensive historical account of the afterlives of Greek monumental sculptures. Scholars have concentrated on the creation of such images, examining issues of patronage, artistic practice, and initial reception by viewers. I analyze instead the later histories of these artworks, using archaeological and textual evidence to reconstruct the processes of damage, repair, and reparation that characterized the lives of images in the Classical and Hellenistic period. With an approach informed by anthropology as well as iconoclasm studies, I describe how damage to sculptures was part of a broader cultural context, that of the use and abuse of images in ancient Greece. At the same time, I track the development of an anti-iconoclastic discourse in Hellenic society from the Persian wars to the death of Cleopatra. This study offers a fresh perspective on the role of the image in ancient Greece; it also sheds new light on the creation of Hellenic cultural identity and the formation of collective memory in the Classical and Hellenistic eras.
Year: 2017
Access Model: available for purchase
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 110769468X 9
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes

The Mutilation of the Herms: Violence toward Sculptures in the Late Fifth Century B.C (Book Section)
Title: The Mutilation of the Herms: Violence toward Sculptures in the Late Fifth Century B.C
Author: R. Kousser
Editor: M. Miles
Abstract: The mutilation of the herms is among the best-documented and most notorious episodes of the Greeks’ violence toward their own religious sculptures. This article draws on archaeological and artistic evidence to analyze how the Athenians responded to the mutilation of the herms. It identifies a range of visual strategies, from the retention of intact monuments to the repair of damaged ones and the ritual disposal of those too injured to restore, and also examines the creation of counter-monuments. Taken together, these works suggest a forceful yet nuanced response to the attack in its immediate aftermath, centered upon the maintenance of traditional religious sculptures and the erection of new monuments celebrating the power of the Athenian demos.
Year: 2015
Access Model: Access through JSTOR and EBA Central
Publisher: Oxbow Books
Book Title: Autopsy in Athens: Recent Archaeological Research on Athens and Attica
ISBN: 1-78297-859-3

Mutilating goddesses: Aphrodite in Late Antique Aphrodisias (Book Section)
Title: Mutilating goddesses: Aphrodite in Late Antique Aphrodisias
Author: R. Kousser
Editor: Julia Katharina Koch, Christina Jacob, Jutta Leskovar
Abstract: Under Roman rule, Aphrodisias in south-western Turkey profited considerably from its self-proclaimed status as the city of Aphrodite. It attracted rich donations and special privileges from Late Republican generals such as Sulla — who sent a golden double axe to the goddess’s temple, with an elaborate, self-aggrandizing dedication (Appian, Civil Wars 1.97) — as well as from Roman emperors, above all Augustus, the first princeps (Smith 1993, 2-8). By the Late Antique era, however, the city’s association with the pagan goddess of love and beauty was no longer an advantage; rather, it was a problem in an increasingly Christian culture. This paper examines the means by which the citizens of Aphrodisias eradicated the cult of Aphrodite, and in so doing transformed the visual landscape of their city. Aphrodisias’s rich archaeological and epigraphic record and the prominence of Aphrodite there make this a useful case study for the dissolution of a pagan goddess’s cult in late antiquity.
Year: 2020
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: URL for book publisher
Access Model: The book is available for purchase
Publisher: Waxman
Book Title: Prähistorische und antike Göttinnen
ISBN: 978-3-8309-419

Monument and Memory in Ancient Greece and Rome: A Comparative Perspective (Book Section)
Title: Monument and Memory in Ancient Greece and Rome: A Comparative Perspective
Author: R. Kousser
Editor: Karl Galinsky and Kenneth Lapatin
Abstract: This article uses case studies of major artworks to compare and contrast Greek and Roman forms of commemoration through monuments. The goal is a deeper understanding of how monuments functioned in Greece and Rome. Also, since in the ancient world memory was constructed above all through monuments rather than texts, this has important implications for cultural memory.
Year: 2015
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Getty website
Access Model: the book is available by subscription only.
Publisher: Getty Publications
Book Title: Cultural Memories in the Roman Empire
ISBN: 9781606064627