Changing tastes in votive offerings from early Italy: from enthroned goddesses to wine and sex

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Please join us for the final talk of the year, where our very own Alexandra Sofroniew will be discussing her research on votive offerings! As always, light refreshments will be provided.

Alexandra Sofroniew (UC Davis)

“Changing tastes in votive offerings from early Italy: from enthroned goddesses to wine and sex”

Thursday, May 25 @ 4.10 pm   –    53a Olson Hall

 

Abstract:

Thousands of terracotta figurines have been recovered from sacred sites across central and southern Italy, remnants of a lively religious tradition of dedicating gifts to the gods during worship alongside prayer and sacrifice. Beginning in the 7th century BC in the coastal Greek colonies, the practice spreads inland to the native Italic communities over the subsequent centuries. The subject-matter of these votive figurines is relatively conservative: remarkably similar forms – prim seated women – are found across the region and over the course of several hundred years. However, in the Hellenistic period, there appears to be a shift to figurines depicting Aphrodite, goddess of love, and Dionysiac themes. Why? How does this relate to changing social mores? Is it an age of new religious freedom?