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Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1993
From: David Meadows
Subject: heraldry

Just some idle musings ... Did the ancient Greeks have anything approaching heraldry? I initially wondered this while musing about the Lion's Gate at Mycenae and then, in one of those amazing bits of synchronicity, while glancing through a touristy guidebook to the Acropolis Museum, I saw a reproduction of two lions pulling down a Bull. Could such imagery represent the Lions of Mycenae's defeat of the Bull of Minos? Or am I wandering rather close to the edge of the abyss of unwarranted connections ...

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1993
From: John R Lenz
Subject: Re: heraldry

The lions goring bulls and the like is an old artistic motif, very common; but the Archaic coinage of Athens does show emblems (like the three-legged pattern) thought to be associated with aristocratic families.

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1993
From: Eugene Lane
Subject: Re: heraldry

As well as the so-called Wappenmuenzen of Athens, one's thoughts go immediately to the shield-devices described in the Seven Against Thebes, as well as to var ious representations of shield-devices in vase paintings of battle scenes. Here at MU we have a preserved bronze triskelis intended for attachment to a leath er shield.

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1993
From: Penny Small
Subject: Re: heraldry

For any device to be considered heraldic, I assume that longevity and/or repeated use of the symbol is required. In which case, it might interest those interested in the subject that the shield devices described by Aeschylus in the Seven against Thebes NEVER appear in classical art. The closest one might get are "emblematic motifs" like Athena's owl for Athena's.

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1993
From: Joe Cotter
Subject: Heraldry--Greek Shield Devices

There is a good discussion by Leon Lacroix, "Les 'blazons' des villes grecques"in "Etudes d' archeologie classique" I 1955-6, 89-115. Some years ago I argued at AIA meeting that the device of a crab playing a double flute on the shield of the boy in the center of the arming scene on the reverse of the Euphronius Sarpedon vase in the Met might be read as a visual synekdoche for the oligarchical crab song that survives as one of a group of Alcmaeonid scolia (Page, "Poet. Mel. Gr. 892). The crab playing a double flute also occurs on the Karkinos Painter's name vase (also in the Met). For the sort of problems that such interpretations have to confront one might consider Boardman's use of Greek Vases as mirrors of political propaganda. (See Dyfri Williams "Herakles, Peisistratos and the Alcmeonids" in "Image et Ceramique Grecque". NB Plutarch's comment on Alcibiades' use of a Thunderbolt-bearing Eros for his own shield's device (as opposed e.g. to the communitarian "Lambdas" of ordinary Spartan hoplites).

Date: Sat, 13 Mar 1993
From: "John D. Muccigrosso"
Subject: Re: heraldry

John R Lenz writes: > The lions goring bulls and the like is an old artistic motif, very common

True, but doesn't the use of the bull getting killed or attacked by lions or men appear more frequently in the Myc (vs. Min) stuff? It seems to me that it's used often enough to be at least potentially heraldic. This would likely be not a family heraldry but a cultural thing. Like the US flag, maybe? OR closer to the statue of liberty?
Culled from classics.log9303.
Copyright © 2001 David Meadows
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