In the framework of studies into ancient economies, the research by the University of the Salento focused on those contexts of southern Puglia where imported goods have been discovered have thrown some light on the role played among the Messapians by the purchase of luxury goods, above all bronzes and Greek vases. The discoveries in dwellings, sanctuaries and funerary areas reveal that from the 6th to the 4th centuries BC the phenomenon - linked to the dynamics of self-representation on the part of aristocratic groups and the consolidation of power in the settlements - presents features that are distinct to the various types of context. This takes us considerably beyond the generic equation ‘luxury goods = indicators of status’: indeed, analysis of the objects in contexts makes it possible to determine, case by case, the meaning that the purchasers attributed to the luxury goods selected with reference to their ‘function’ and, in the case of vases, ‘images’. Given their symbolic value, the latter were fundamental in the communication strategies adopted by the aristocracies, who, thanks to knowledge handed down from one generation to the next, felt an affinity for the myths and cultural phenomena of the Greek world. These luxury goods constituted an important tool for the aristocrats, for whom the objects were elements of a shared language, used as a strong sign of cultural identity, communicating a range of messages useful for the affirmation of the individual groups.

Consumption of luxury goods and art among Messapian aristocrats

Katia Mannino
2018

Abstract

In the framework of studies into ancient economies, the research by the University of the Salento focused on those contexts of southern Puglia where imported goods have been discovered have thrown some light on the role played among the Messapians by the purchase of luxury goods, above all bronzes and Greek vases. The discoveries in dwellings, sanctuaries and funerary areas reveal that from the 6th to the 4th centuries BC the phenomenon - linked to the dynamics of self-representation on the part of aristocratic groups and the consolidation of power in the settlements - presents features that are distinct to the various types of context. This takes us considerably beyond the generic equation ‘luxury goods = indicators of status’: indeed, analysis of the objects in contexts makes it possible to determine, case by case, the meaning that the purchasers attributed to the luxury goods selected with reference to their ‘function’ and, in the case of vases, ‘images’. Given their symbolic value, the latter were fundamental in the communication strategies adopted by the aristocracies, who, thanks to knowledge handed down from one generation to the next, felt an affinity for the myths and cultural phenomena of the Greek world. These luxury goods constituted an important tool for the aristocrats, for whom the objects were elements of a shared language, used as a strong sign of cultural identity, communicating a range of messages useful for the affirmation of the individual groups.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11587/427351
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