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Journal Article

Honorific Practices and the Politics of Space on Hellenistic Delos: Portrait Statue Monuments Along the Dromos

Sheila Dillon and Elizabeth Palmer Baltes
American Journal of Archaeology
Vol. 117, No. 2 (April 2013), pp. 207-246
DOI: 10.3764/aja.117.2.0207
Stable URL:
Page Count: 40

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Topics: Statues, Portraits, Sculptors, Sons, Bronzes, Signatures, Aretes, Book dedications, Honorifics, Merchants
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Honorific Practices and the Politics of Space on Hellenistic Delos: Portrait Statue Monuments Along the Dromos
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The statue landscape of Hellenistic cities and sanctuaries was constantly changing, but the process of the gradual accrual of statues is customarily elided on site plans, which tend to show—if they represent statue bases at all—the final phase of this long and complex process. Investigating the way statue landscapes developed over time can provide a better understanding of the political, social, and spatial dynamics at play in portrait dedication. This article takes as a case study for such an approach the portrait statue monuments set up along the dromos of the Sanctuary of Apollo on Delos. Our aim is to unpack the processual dimension of this statuary display by representing this process visually through phase plans and a three-dimensional model of the dromos made in Trimble SketchUp. Parsing into phases the gradual accumulation of statues along the dromos reveals the historical dimension of statue dedication and exposes the tensions between individual and group identity that could be negotiated visually through the location, material, and size of a portrait monument. Finally, we argue that imaginative reconstruction can help us think through the implications of display context for sculptural style: the ever-increasing number of portrait statues in the Late Hellenistic period may have been a driving force behind the stylistic changes that occurred in Late Hellenistic portraiture. A short video presenting our Trimble SketchUp model of the dromos of the Sanctuary of Apollo on Delos can be found under this article’s abstract on AJA Online, along with a free, downloadable table version of the appendix.

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