Anacreontic or Dionysian? : ethnic and gender ambiguity on the Anacreontic vases

This thesis is an investigation of the “Anacreontic” vases, produced in late-sixth and early-fifth century Athens, with a particular focus on their iconography, background, and whether the men depicted on them are dressing in Eastern or feminine costume. However, the themes o f gender and ethnic ambiguity, which are the primary feature of the vases, extends more deeply. I look at the context o f the vases particularly related contemporary iconography, aspects of the Greek symposium, and traditions surrounding Dionysus and his cult in order to trace a broader theme of “Anacreontism,” and I conclude that the debate of “Eastern” vs. “feminine” regarding the Anacreontic vases disregards a more complex background for these vases and their iconography. Instead, I argue that the vases represent a tradition of sympotic indulgence in Dionysian ambiguity.