B A B E S C H Annual Papers on Mediterranean Archaeology
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Abstract

Katia Margariti
A Mother’s Gaze: Death and Orphanhood on Classical Attic Grave Reliefs

The present paper examines the classical Attic grave reliefs of deceased mothers depicted with their infants or children, thus identifying the iconographical differences between reliefs in which the emphasis lies solely on the death of the young women, while the presence of their children merely serves to indicate their maternal status, and reliefs that do not focus on the death of these women alone, but also emphasize the orphaned state of their offspring. Special attention is assigned to the latter, since their iconography succeeds in highlighting both the maternal role of the deceased females and the tragic consequences of their death. The iconography of the reliefs under consideration enhances the sadness for a mother’s loss through the touching scenes of dead women responding to their offspring’s gestures for the last time, interacting with them, or handing over their infants to a living female, as well as the depiction of children struggling in vain to attract their deceased mother’s gaze.

Article in volume 91, 2016, pages 87-104

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