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Dr Gina Salapata’s research stands at the intersection of ancient Greek art, archaeology and religion. From terracotta relief plaques to miniatures and other inexpensive offerings, Dr Salapata examines the materiality of Greek religion and considers the practices and meanings behind the offering of tangible gifts to the gods.
Her book, Heroic Offerings: The Terracotta Plaques from the Spartan Sanctuary of Agamemnon and Kassandra (University of Michigan Press, 2014), examines more than 1000 terracotta plaques and their representations.
With an interest in the religious behaviour of everyday Greek people, and not those of importance who fill the history books, Dr Salapata is also examining other small and inexpensive offerings, such as miniatures. These often crude, but symbolically valuable, offerings are mainly made from clay or lead and trigger a great deal of questions. Why are they reduced in scale? Are these offerings a reflection of a person’s wealth and status, or a common ritual practice performed by all?
Her research poses questions about the overall interactions between people and the gods. Why were offerings important? Did they build an enduring relationship with and secure the goodwill of the gods? What was more important – offering precious objects or offering small inexpensive objects on a frequent basis? How did practical considerations (like portability or availability) affect the choice of offerings?
Puzzled by the actions of those in the past, Dr Salapata remains determined to uncover the stories that are yet to be told.
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Last updated on Tuesday 16 August 2016