COLLOQUIUM: Alan Shapiro, Johns Hopkins, "Theseus and Democratic Family Values"

Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm

402 Cohen Hall

Theseus was in some ways an odd choice as "Athenian National Hero," since he was not a native born Athenian, had a non-Athenian mother, and never had a stable family life that could be a model for his people. This paper explores how, in the wake of the Periklean Citizenship Law of 451/50 BCE, visual artists constructed for Theseus the semblance of a stable domestic life and a nuclear family by combining elements of his story in unexpected ways. The Theseus of Classical Athenian red-figure vase-painting turns out to be a very different figure from the Theseus of contemporary Attic tragedy.