AIA Lecture - Early Hellenistic royal ideology in the marine thiasos of the neorion on Delos

Lecture | April 18 | 7 p.m. | 370 Dwinelle Hall

 Kristian L. Lorenzo, Monmouth College

 Archaeological Institute of America - San Francisco Society

In Greek mythology the most important thiasos, or procession of individuals dancing and singing in honor of a god, was that of Dionysios and his followers or just his followers. Its aquatic counterpart, the marine thiasos, included Poseidon (sometimes), Nereids and Tritons accompanied by both mythical and real marine creatures. Demetrios Poliorketes built the neorion on Delos to house a dedicated warship and decorated it with a monumental marine thiasos celebrating his naval victory at Cypriot Salamis (ca. 306 B.C.). Scholars have mostly concentrated on the physical placement of the neorion’s thiasos, while noting that its fragmentary condition makes its meaning largely lost. In this lecture based on the archaeological and textual evidence as well as the historical context I argue that the meaning of neorion’s thiasos can be reconstructed and given its placement on a naval victory monument, conveyed aspects of early Hellenistic royal ideology.