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Lecture: Before Statuary: Victor Statues, Commemoration, and Power, Dr. Leslie Kurke

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Speaker: Dr. Leslie Kurke, Gladys Rehard Wood Professor, Classics and Comparative Literature Departments, UC Berkeley

This presentation will reexamine the ancient Greek practice of erecting life-size bronze statues of athletic victors, most often placed at the site of the games but also in the victor’s home community. This practice, appearing suddenly in the Greek world at the end of the 6th century BC and proliferating especially in the first half of the 5th century, is usually regarded as unproblematic, viewed through the lens of the later practice of setting up honorific statues for victors, statesmen, and generals. But rather than thinking about these as images, the speaker wants to consider them as magical objects and agents, asking not “What do they represent?” but “What do they do?”

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