The Institute’s fifth lecture of 2019 will take place on Wednesday 27
March, starting at 7.30 pm in the in the library of the Institute
(Dionysiou Aiginitou 7, ground floor, Ilisia. Metro: Megaro Moussikis).
Barbara N. Scarfo (Homer and Dorothy Thompson Fellow, The Canadian
Institute in Greece; Ph.D. candidate, Department of Classics, McMaster
University) will give a lecture entitled, “Representations of Mothers and Infants in Funerary Commemoration: A Cross-Cultural Study”
“This paper will explore the depictions of mothers and infants on
Classical Attic funerary monuments. By pairing mothers and infants, the
monuments’ iconography helped to convey that the woman depicted had
either achieved, or attempted to achieve, the goal that was set out for
her by the Athenian polis
and her oikos
: she had
become a mother to a legitimately recognized heir, an Athenian citizen.
In certain cases, however, the absence of an inscription makes it more
difficult to interpret the iconography. This paper will attempt to fill
in the gaps that such ambiguities present and will discuss the social
and cultural circumstances that surrounded motherhood in Classical
Athens and the expectations that were placed on women within their own oikoi
by the state, chiefly marrying and reproducing at a relatively young
age. The paper will also analyze these monuments alongside ones from the
Roman period that feature mothers and infants, a comparison to the
Attic material that can help further our understanding of these
You are all most welcome to join us next Wednesday evening for what promises to be a most interesting presentation.