Mourning on the Larnakes at Tanagra: Gender and Agency in Late Bronze Age Greece

by Margaretha Kramer-Hajos

Hesperia, Volume 84, Issue 4
Page(s): 627-667
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2972/hesperia.84.4.0627
Year: 2015


This article offers an iconographic and stylistic analysis of the published painted larnakes (clay sarcophagi) with funerary scenes from Late Bronze Age Tanagra in central Greece. Previous scholarship has failed to account fully for the existence of a small number of depictions that appear to show unexpected gender roles: wailing men and officiating women. The latter offer us an example of women holding official positions in Mycenaean Greece and accord them an unexpected prominence in the burial ritual, which may suggest that they were responsible for the production of some of the larnax burials at Tanagra. The imagery on the larnakes thus provides a rare example of female agency in Mycenaean Greece.