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 A&H 305 - Greek Art & Archaeology


​Art, Cult & The Athenian Politeia


From the late seventh century BC onwards, the inhabitants of Athens developed the concept and institution of the politeia, the community of the Athenians. While the politeia is usually identified in civic terms, membership is arguably based on a wider variety of criteria, notably participation in religious festivals and cults. 

This course will explore the art and archaeology in which the politeia is reflected from the seventh century BC until Roman times. We will look at the changing relation between art and architecture, cult, and citizenship in this period, asking questions like: how did dedication practices change, and what can be concluded about the dedicators from these changes? How did old and new cults unify or divide the Athenian community, and how is this reflected in the sanctuaries of Athens? What role did various festivals (the Dionysia, Antestheria, Panathenaia, Thesmophoria, Lenaia, etc.) play in the formation of the politeia? What role did the phratries play in the development of civic identity? What impact did Macedonian, and later, Roman rule have on citizenship, and how can this development be traced in Athenian material culture?

The course will analyse art and cult in archaeological and textual material and in art in the first half of the Fall semester. Individual research projects follow in the second half. In the winter break following the course, students will investigate and present the topics of their research papers in-depth in Athens, in and on the relevant sites and museums. They will attend a specialised library (e.g. British School in Athens), to find material for their research papers, which are due just before the Spring semester. Time and availability of a venue allowing, the course will be complemented by lectures at the Netherlands Institute at Athens.


Dr. Helle Hochscheid






The following courses are required in order to take this course:

  • At least 2 Antiquity courses  

  • ACC 120 Rhetoric & Argumentation
  • Where possible, more relevant courses

Additional costs

  • Flight Amsterdam/Brussels-Athens v.v., accommodation, and an extra fee of c. 100  euros per student (depending on the number of students and other criteria).