Seventh Cyprus Research Fund Lecture

The Cyprus Research Fund Nominating and Special Events Committee is very pleased to announce this 2016 Cyprus Research Fund Lecturer, Prof. Erin Walcek Averett from Creighton University.

Like the previous seven (!) Cyprus Research Fund Lecturers, on March 3rd a 3 pm, she will be giving a public lecture in the exotic East Asia Room of the Mighty Chester Fritz Library. She is an Associate Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Creighton and the Assistant Director of the Athienou Archaeological Project on Cyprus. The folks at Athienou helped us get our little project started at Pyla-Koutsopetria many years ago. So it’s particularly nice to have one of their people come to Grand Forks to present on Cypriot material. With any 

The title of her lecture is “Frightening the Frightful: Grotesque Visages from Ancient Cyprus.”

Here’s her full abstract:

“The image of fright set to frighten the frightful,” was Jane Harrison’s memorable evocation of the apotropaic power of masks and “ugly faces” (gorgons, satyrs, etc.) as part of what she called an “apparatus of a religion of terror among the Greeks.” While Harrison’ views on Greek religion have been challenged over the past century, few studies have tackled the complex role of the grotesque, the monstrous, and the strange in Mediterranean religion and society. This talk investigates monstrous, apotropaic imagery in Iron Age Cyprus. Such demonic images are a common part of the island’s material culture, from sculpted figures and masks found in sanctuaries to furniture appliques and amulets associated with funerary and domestic contexts. The iconography attracts the viewer’s gaze and highlights the grotesque and uncanny through disembodied heads or faces (masks), distorted or exaggerated features, gaping mouths with extended tongues and prominent teeth, or theriomorphic traits. Grotesque visages and monstrous figures have been found in wealthy tombs and palaces and on jewelry and monumental sarcophagi, but also in industrial workshops, sanctuaries, and on furniture, household items, and religious paraphernalia. Thus, the efficacy of their apotropaic power was not reserved (or restricted) to an elite, ruling class, but also protected artisans, worshippers, and even children. By casting these images within the realm of otherworldly, they break the monotony of human and animal subjects and become visually distinct and powerful protective objects.

Here’s a cool flyer.

Cyprus Research Fund 2016 Poster 01

Here’s a pdf: Cyprus Research Fund 2016 Poster.pdf

As per usual, Prof. Averett will give a more technical (and informal) talk at lunch on Friday March 4th. Once we have material for that talk and a title. It’ll likely be something cool and digital. So stay tuned!

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