Rough Rocks

Milette Gaifman

in Aniconism in Greek Antiquity

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199645787
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741623 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Ancient Culture & Representation

Rough Rocks

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  • Greek and Roman Archaeology


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This chapter considers a range of cases where rough rocks appear to have been the focus of attention in cult practice. It examines instances in which a rock was singled out through epigraphy, architectural structure, or the carving of a seat, but also retained at least some of its original roughness. The ancient decision to preserve such stones reveals that, in contrast to other aniconic monuments that were shaped by human hands, it was these rocks' inherent qualities — their unique location, their specific form, their very materiality — that invited the act of distinguishing. In other words, the stones themselves were perceived as inherently related to the divine. The final part of the chapter turns from tangible cultic stones to their representation in minted images and considers the implications of the act of replication.

Keywords: cult practice; epigraphy; architectural structure; seat carving; divine; stones; replication

Chapter.  19951 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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