Chapter

Pausanias and the Chest of Kypselos

Anthony Snodgrass

in Archaeology and the Emergence of Greece

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780748623334
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653577 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623334.003.0023
Pausanias and the Chest of Kypselos

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Pausanias's account of the Chest of Kypselos takes up some 170 lines in the best-known text. The remarkable correspondences between Pausanias's account of the iconography and epigraphy of the chest and the iconography and inscriptions on surviving Corinthian vase scenes are enough to prove beyond reasonable question that he was describing a genuine product of archaic Corinth, dating perhaps from somewhat after 600 BC. In his statistical study of the incidence of legendary subjects in earlier archaic art, Robert Cook lists the chest in exactly the same way as the surviving vases and sculptures. Cook points out that only a minority of the subjects on the chest (perhaps eight in all) are taken from either the Trojan or the Theban cycle of legends; and that, of these, precisely two figure in Homer's poems Iliad and Odyssey. One lesson has emerged from this reexamination of the iconography of the Chest of Kypselos: namely, that the ‘Homerist hypothesis’ in the interpretation of early Greek art may itself go back to Pausanias's time.

Keywords: Pausanias; Chest of Kypselos; iconography; epigraphy; inscriptions; Corinth; Robert Cook; Homer; poems; Greek art

Chapter.  8650 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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