Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Early Greek Portraiture
Monuments and Histories

  • Date Published: June 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107162235


Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • In this book, Catherine M. Keesling lends new insight into the origins of civic honorific portraits that emerged at the end of the fifth century BC in ancient Greece. Surveying the subjects, motives and display contexts of Archaic and Classical portrait sculpture, she demonstrates that the phenomenon of portrait representation in Greek culture is complex and without a single, unifying history. Bringing a multi-disciplinary approach to the topic, Keesling grounds her study in contemporary texts such as Herodotus' Histories and situates portrait representation within the context of contemporary debates about the nature of arete (excellence), the value of historical commemoration and the relationship between the human individual and the gods and heroes. She argues that often the goal of Classical portraiture was to link the individual to divine or heroic models. Offering an overview of the role of portraits in Archaic and Classical Greece, her study includes local histories of the development of Greek portraiture in sanctuaries such as Olympia, Delphi and the Athenian Acropolis.

    • Offers a new explanation for the origins of civic honorific portraits
    • Features local histories of the development of Greek portraiture
    • Makes the case that the goal of classical portraiture was often to link the individual to heroes or gods
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'The first four chapters of this excellent scholarly study focus primarily on Greek portrait images, their origins, meaning, and various contexts from the Archaic to the late classical periods (sixth–fourth centuries BCE). The last chapter deals with the Hellenistic period down to the Roman conquest of Greece, a time when new portraits of contemporary Greeks were set up in various locations, and a number of old Greek sculptural images were removed to Italy by the Romans, or were reused in Greece by local authorities to represent Roman personages (especially prominent military men and statesmen) by providing them with new identifying inscriptions on their bases. Throughout the book Keesling makes excellent use of ancient primary sources, including dedicatory inscriptions and their significance for understanding the social, political, and religious contexts in which these images were set up. Two appendixes list, and provide pertinent information about, known portrait statues set up (c. 600–300 BCE) at the religious sanctuaries of Olympia and Delphi.' Choice

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107162235
    • length: 324 pages
    • dimensions: 261 x 183 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.88kg
    • contains: 62 b/w illus. 3 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: Why portraits?
    Part I. Portraits among Heroes and Gods:
    1. From votive statues to honorific portraits
    2. Arete, heroism, and divine choice in early Greek portraiture
    3. Portraits in Greek sanctuaries
    Part II. Documenting Archaic and Classical Greek History:
    4. Retrospective portraits as historical documents
    5. Early Greek portraits under Roman rule: removal, renewal, reuse, and reinscription
    Conclusion: The limits of representation.

  • Author

    Catherine M. Keesling, Georgetown University, Washington DC
    Catherine M. Keesling is Associate Professor of Classics at Georgetown University. She is the author of The Votive Statues of the Athenian Acropolis (Cambridge, 2003), as well as journal articles and book chapters on Greek sculpture of the Archaic and Classical periods and its reception, Greek epigraphy and commemorative monuments.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.