Hunting and its imagery continued to play a significant role in archaic and classical Greece long after hunting had ceased being a necessity for survival in everyday life. Drawing on vase paintings, sculpture, inscriptions, and other literary evidence, Judith Barringer reexamines the theme of the hunt and shows how the tradition it depicts helped maintain the dominance of the ruling social groups.
Along with athletics and battle, hunting was a defining activity of the masculine aristocracy and was crucial to the efforts of the Athenian elite to control the social agenda, even as their political power declined. The Hunt in Ancient Greece examines descriptions of hunting in initiation rituals as well as the ideals of masculinity and adulthood such rites of passage promoted. Barringer argues that depictions of the hunt in literature and art also served as striking metaphors for the intricacies of courtship, shedding light on sexuality and gender roles. Through an exploration of various representations of the hunt, Barringer provides extraordinary insight into Athenian society.
Judith M. Barringer's book is an important one, precise, full of interesting details, mature, controversial in a positive way, highly recommendable... [It] marks an etape in the study of Greek imaginary. The extensive use of iconography is masterful. -- Charles Delattre Bryn Mawr Classical Review This book is well written and skillfully and persuasively argued. It assembles a wealth of literary and artistic sources for hunting and performs an invaluable service in asking us to look and, more importantly, showing us how to look at the social ideology behind artistic and literary imagery. -- Mary Ann Eaverly American Historical Review Judith Barringer's study of the hunt in Greek art is an exemplary work that sheds new light on the social dimension of the art and some of its themes. -- Mark Stansbury-O'Donnell CAA.Reviews