Date of Award

Spring 5-23-2021

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Maria Bruno




In this thesis, I research the prevalence of satyr images on two types of ancient Greek vessels: kraters (used to dilute wine) and wine cups (kylikes). Building upon the historical significance of the satyr figure in ancient Greek culture, I develop an argument about the evolution of the satyr symbol in light of the theories of Clifford Geertz, Victor Turner and Edward Alsworth Ross. The artifact data I collect from the Beazley Archive Pottery Database, which I then graph and analyze, reveals an increase in the percentage of satyr images appearing on kraters and cups at the beginning of the 5th century. I also discover that satyr images appear on these wine vessels more frequently independent of Dionysos, despite the satyr’s historical association with the deity. Drawing upon the well-documented Greek ethos of moderation in all things including alcohol consumption, I argue this trend is a social response to an uptick in intoxication connected with Dionysian Cult activities which become increasingly popular from 575 to 475 BC. A specific rise in the appearance of satyr images independent of Dionysos images supports my view that the familiar satyr—an unrestrained companion of the wine god—is harnessed by Athenian society and imbued with an additional meaning: “uncivilized” immoderation, which should be eschewed. It is my hope that a new application of the tools of symbolic anthropology, art history and archaeology to satyr iconography on kraters and wine cups will contribute an original interpretation of this popular figure.