Luxury Arts, Literature, and Memory: the Construction of a "Golden Age" in the Mediterranean and Near East, 1200-600 BCE


Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars


Near Eastern Studies


For residence at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences during academic year 2008-2009


Sumptuous Phoenician and North Syrian ivories and metal vessels, with striking formal connections to Late Bronze Age (1600-1200 BCE) luxury arts, flooded the Mediterranean and Near East during the early Iron Age (1200-1600 BCE). This project investigates the ways in which these artifacts drew upon the earlier arts, alongside contemporary literature, to construct a golden age (or ages) through the intentional selection of artistic elements freighted with Late Bronze Age connotations of heroic kingship. Incorporating cross-disciplinary concerns (politics, economics, comparative literature) to pursue a contextualizing art historical analysis, the study offers new perspectives on the visual culture of the period by reinstating the arts in the rich historical setting of their production and use.