Literary sources (mostly ill-disposed) give us an image of Agathocles which is fully consistent with the more important trends of the Early Hellenistic art. The Syracusan dynast seems to have skillfully adopted the clichés of royal ideology developed by the Diadochs and the Epigons. That is based on the outstanding military prowess and on the charisma of the king, who proves himself worthy to imitate Alexander the Great, and on his extraordinary life-style. Feasts and banquets give him occasion for sumptuous display and magnificence; at the same time, they provide a means to define the new social hierarchies. On the one hand, there is the king Agathocles with his palace, his great dining-hall measuring 60 klinai, his precious vessels, furniture, and entertainments, and the fortification towers of the Small Harbour with his name inscribed on – just like the official coins minted under his name–, and the grand pugna equestris Agathoclis regis in tabulis picta within the temple of Athena at Ortygia. This pictorial cycle amplified in “epic-dramatic” tones the glory drawn from the last victories of the king. On the other hand, material finds give us a lot of “modern-style” artifacts which are characterized, however, by different tones and contents: as a matter of fact, they refer to popular religion or “bourgeois” concerns, showing sometimes a certain “vulgarization” of high-level models. This bifurcation reflects the polarization of Syracusan society around the king – whose personal power strengthens itself through “theatrical” and demagogic attitudes –, and in the same time the eclipse of high-level commissioners. Such a state of affairs can justify the limited survival of Agathoclean art, apart from the coins and the literary record.
|Numero di pagine||53|
|Rivista||ARCHIVIO STORICO SIRACUSANO|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2013|