Boeotian Kabeiric ware: the significance of the ceramic offerings at the Theban Kabeirion in Boeotia

Bedigan, Kirsten M. (2008) Boeotian Kabeiric ware: the significance of the ceramic offerings at the Theban Kabeirion in Boeotia. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This study presents a re-evaluation of the ceramic material from the sanctuary of the Kabeiroi at Thebes in Boeotia. The lack of relevant literary evidence necessitates a reliance on the archaeology as the primary means of interpretation. In particular the archaeological context and iconography of the ceramics offer an interesting and highly unusual perspective into the secretive and often peculiar nature of the Kabeiric cult.

Previous studies conducted on the ceramic material have only considered it in iconographic terms, yet by reappraising the data using an analytical approach and socio-archaeological theory it is possible to acquire a deeper understanding of the operation of this cult. By examining the form and function of the ceramics we can elicit inferences relating to the role of wine and intoxication within the rituals of the sanctuary. Comparative studies between form and iconography can further develop our interpretations of the scenes as representations of cult practices.

The evidence is further scrutinised for indications as to whether the Theban site is characteristic of the Kabeiric cult as a whole, or if its unique iconography demonstrates its individuality within the ancient world. The data from other Kabeiric and non-Kabeiric sanctuaries clearly indicates that cults within the Greek world were experiencing parallel development in relation to their ceramic usage. Furthermore, the ceramic material from purely Kabeiric sites also shows the same biases in the archaeological record with an emphasis on the preparation and consumption of wine. Extending this research to other archaeological material also implies a common iconographic heritage stretching beyond the boundaries of the Theban site.

By considering the ceramics in a more analytical manner than that of previous research – combining archaeological, anthropological and art historical models – we can move away from the premise that the decorated Greek vase is merely a work of art. Instead it is possible to detail the sanctuary’s evolution through the development of the ceramics and to offer insights into the society that produced and utilised them.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Kabeiric, Kabeirion, Kabeiroi, Cabiric, Cabirion, Cabiri, Boeotia, Thebes, Thiva, Greece, Pottery, Ceramics, Kabeiric Ware
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > DF Greece
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > Classics
College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Supervisor's Name: Moignard, Prof E. and Jones, Dr R.E.
Date of Award: 2008
Depositing User: Dr Kirsten M Bedigan
Unique ID: glathesis:2008-503
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2008
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:19

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