SURF

Ann Parker

The Animal Companions of Classical Attic Gravestones

In Classical Athens, many children died before adulthood. For a culture that practiced the exposure, or infanticide, of unwanted newborns, the value of the sub-adult life has been difficult to define. What did a child mean to the Athenian family and state? Once a child had been chosen to rear, its life must have been quite valuable, since the family spent lavish sums on the erection of grave markers for deceased children. These gravestones, carved in relief with images of children, provide iconographic information that may help to fill in the gaps in the understanding of death and childhood in ancient Greece. My research investigates the relief images of children and animals that mark these graves, in combination with ancient literary sources concerning animals and childhood, in order to understand what these monuments communicated about the children who lay beneath them.

Message to Sponsor

Receiving the SURF award has been a wonderful opportunity. Without this grant, I would not have the opportunity to research fulltime, nor travel to view the objects central to my study. This summer, I will not only be able to complete most of the research for my Senior Thesis, but I will also begin to experience real research in the field of art history. The SURF award, as well as the advising and support that has come along with the program has not only improved the quality of my thesis research, but has also significantly contributed to my improvement as a scholar.
  • Major: History of Art, Anthropology (minor)
  • Sponsor: Anselm Fund
  • Mentor: Andrew Stewart, History of Art