Centaur-Musicians in Classical Iconography

Centaur-Musicians in Classical Iconography Centaurs, hybrid mythical beings, were associated with barbarism in antiquity, due to the fact that the widely disseminated iconography of the Centauromachy portrayed them as violent creatures against the Lapiths, creating an opposition between man/beast, order/chaos. However, the role of the divine centaur Chiron as Achilles’ teacher offered another vision of these beings, especially in connection with music. This paper proposes a new interpretation of the iconographic evolution of the centaurs in association with music: as part of the heroes’ education, the Dionysian and Marine thiasos and their presence in funerary art. A progressively humanised representation of these creatures might be explained by the role of music as a civilising influence, enabling their elevation to a higher spiritual level and as a way to obtain immortality. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Greek and Roman Musical Studies Brill

Centaur-Musicians in Classical Iconography

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
2212-974X
eISSN
2212-9758
D.O.I.
10.1163/22129758-12341310
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Centaurs, hybrid mythical beings, were associated with barbarism in antiquity, due to the fact that the widely disseminated iconography of the Centauromachy portrayed them as violent creatures against the Lapiths, creating an opposition between man/beast, order/chaos. However, the role of the divine centaur Chiron as Achilles’ teacher offered another vision of these beings, especially in connection with music. This paper proposes a new interpretation of the iconographic evolution of the centaurs in association with music: as part of the heroes’ education, the Dionysian and Marine thiasos and their presence in funerary art. A progressively humanised representation of these creatures might be explained by the role of music as a civilising influence, enabling their elevation to a higher spiritual level and as a way to obtain immortality.

Journal

Greek and Roman Musical StudiesBrill

Published: Mar 22, 2018

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