Selling Sacrifice on Classical Athenian Vases

by Sheramy D. Bundrick

Hesperia, Volume 83, Issue 4
Page(s): 653-708
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2972/hesperia.83.4.0653
Year: 2014


Examination of the chronological development of sacrificial representations on 5th-century Athenian vases reveals a movement from procession to altar-based scenes, heightened emphasis on the preparation and consumption of meat, and increased focus on the reciprocity between mortals and gods. Sacrificial practice itself likely did not change during the Classical period. Vase painters' interest in different stages and themes, however, may suggest shifting attitudes toward thysia, as well as toward Athenian citizenship and citizen identity. Broadening the consideration of sacrificial imagery from the reconstruction of ritual to include its physical and historical contexts allows for a greater understanding of its meaning. Three appendixes supplement the discussion with examples of sacrifical procession and altar scenes.