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Abrstract

Depictions of Aphrodite in art and literature were numerous in antiquity and as such it has been necessary to limit this dissertation to a specific area. Therefore, this work provides detailed insight into the representation of Aphrodite’s sphere of influence and how this is communicated through red-figure vase painting. It is argued that Aphrodite is represented differently to other gods and goddesses in red-figure vase painting because of the belief in the power of her influence over the spheres of love, beauty and desire. In order to achieve this a catalogue of vases was developed using the Beazley Archive and Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae. Through the catalogue the representations of Aphrodite and a small number of other gods and goddesses were analysed. The vase catalogue focuses specifically on red-figure vases but is not restricted to a specific period of their production as this allowed the greatest breadth of analysis. It is identified that the belief in Aphrodite’s influence is well attested to in red-figure vase painting through items and attributes she possesses, members of her entourage and how she is depicted in the vase painting in comparison to other gods and goddesses. The analysis undertaken in this dissertation is specific to red-figure vases but provides the foundation for further investigation into the study of the representation of Aphrodite’s influence within art and literature more widely.

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