Tyler Jo Smith (University of Virginia) will address the topic “My Family and Other Animals: Pets in Ancient Greek Art”.
There is abundant evidence that the ancient Greeks, kept pets of various kinds. Dogs, cats and birds are among the most well-attested in ancient imagery and literature, but exotic creatures are not unknown. Drawing on recent approaches to the growing field of Animal Studies, this paper will explore the types and roles of pets visible on Greek vases and in other arts. Particular attention will be given to human-animal interactions and their possible meanings, the thematic categories of religion, death, pleasure and humor, and the visual mechanism employed by ancient artists to enable one to identify an animal as a companion.