Masks, Maidens and Men: Gender and Interpretations of the Cult of Artemis Orthia at Sparta

  • Author / Creator
    Suddaby, Toryn A.
  • This interdisciplinary and intersectional thesis addresses the cult of Artemis Orthia at Sparta and particularly the 6th century BCE grotesque terracotta masks recovered there by the British School of Athens in the early 20th century. Using both material culture and literary data as primary sources, this thesis seeks to re-evaluate interpretations of the site and these objects through a deconstructive, post processual approach with a particularly gender based focus. Explicit archaeological findings and implicit references to the site in literature are first detailed in an overview of the accessible classical material. Grounding the objects and the site in both an ancient Greek context and a wider understanding of classical reception of Greece, Greek religion, drama, art, and the Spartan mirage in Western thought, this thesis then seeks to discuss both Artemis and Orthia as separate and assimilated. Perpetuated accounts of the site as solely concerned with the flagellation of young men, marriage, and coming of age ceremonies are opened to new questions regarding origins and purposes of the cult, participation by people with a diversity in age, gender, and social classes, and new questions regarding marginalized perspectives in both classical material and the classical tradition of scholarship. This thesis concludes with an argument against repeated assumptions about the purpose of the objects, the site, the participants, the nature of the goddesses, and Spartan exceptionalism; questions once thought to have been answered are once again drawn to the forefront of the discussion.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2017
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.