Stargazers

The spotlight for Ancient Greece stays pretty firmly on the Classical and Hellenistic periods. You don’t hear much about the time before them.

The ‘Bronze Age’ is divided into periods by region, because bronze technology wasn’t accessible or adopted by everyone at the same time. In the Cycladic islands and parts of Anatolia, for example, they seem to have largely preferred making amazing works in stone than beating around chunks of metal, because the latter was far more rare.

Which is great, because it means we get things like these guys.

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‘Statuette of a Woman,’ c. 3000 BC.  Cleveland Museum 1993.165. 

While a huge range of Early Cycladic (c. early Bronze Age) stone figures and vessels have been found, perhaps the most widely known are the stargazers pictured here. These little figures are marble, carved with stone tools and often polished to a high shine. We don’t know their purpose, so it’s generally assumed (of course) that they have some ritual or votive aspect. You’ll find textbooks and articles debating over whether they are male or female, representing gods, spirits or living worshippers, a Mother Goddess™ or more diverse deities.

More importantly for this post, they’re really cool.

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Marble Female Figure, c.2700-2600 BCE. Metropolitan Museum 34.11.3.

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Upper Part of Marble Female Figure, c.2300-2200 BCE. Metropolitan Museum 1978.258.1.

 

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