Judith M. Barringer
ifk Senior Fellow

Zeitraum des Fellowships:
01. Oktober 2011 bis 31. Januar 2012

A Cultural History of Olympia and Its Monuments


What did designers at Olympia have in mind, and what interpretations were available to the ancient viewer? How do earlier monuments influence the siting, design, thematic significance and reception of later monuments? How are interpretations of individual monuments shaped by other objects (e.g., tropaia) and the activities that took place at Olympia? These questions lie at the heart of “A Cultural History of Olympia and its Monuments”, a monograph that examines the visual and written evidence for Olympia, its monuments, and events. Monuments at Olympia—buildings and sculpture—were actively recruited to foster and propagate ideas about religion and politics to the thousands of visitors to the ancient site. Uniting documentation and interpretation, the study provides a comprehensive reading of the site and its monuments (great architectural ensembles and free-standing votives)—their motivation, design, interrelationship, and reception—in a chronologically organized treatment from the 6th century B.C. through the 4th century A.D.


Judith M. Barringer is Professor of Greek Art and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, where she has taught since 2005. Her scholarly work centers on the archaeology, art, and culture of Greece — with a focus on the intersection between art, myth, and religion — from the Archaic through Hellenistic periods. More specifically, she is interested in why images, particularly sculpture and vase painting, appear as they do and how they acquire meaning for ancient patrons and viewers from their physical and social contexts.


Art, Myth, and Ritual in Classical Greece, Cambridge, UK, New York, 2008; with J. Hurwit (eds.), Periklean Athens and its Legacy: Problems and Perspectives, Austin, TX, 2005; The Hunt in Ancient Greece, Baltimore, MD, 2001; Divine Escorts: Nereids in Archaic and Classical Greek Art, Ann Arbor, MI, 1995.

23 Januar 2012
  • Lecture
Judith M. Barringer

A Cultural History of Olympia

Judith M. Barringer’s lecture gives an overview of her work, which focuses on the sculptural monuments at Olympia as part of a changing, dynamic landscape. She investigates patrons’ intentions and how activities (religious, athletic, political) at Olympia, together with existing monuments, influenced viewer perception and the siting of later monuments.