Apulian Warrior-Heroes and Greek Citizens: Mortuary Constructions of Identity in Ruvo di Puglia and Metaponto
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The purpose of this thesis is to shed light on the socio-political ideology of the warrior-aristocracy of Ruvo di Puglia and the inhabitants of the Greek polis of Metaponto through observation of the motifs on the figured vessels placed in wealthy tombs. By examining the mortuary deposits of the Ruvo tombs alongside those from Metaponto, we will be able to see some similarities between the two cities. While these similarities imply a level of cultural sharing, they more succinctly show that the indigenous inhabitants of Ruvo were quite selective in borrowing from the Greeks. However, the differences provide the best insight into the fascinating practices of the Apulians. I show that the Apulian chieftains coveted a warrior-hero status and were not hesitant to liken themselves to the legendary Achilles or Herakles, while the Greeks saw such practices as a breach of the fundamental principles of their polis-centered egalitarianism. This is significant for the understanding of the cultural environment of Magna Graecia since only little remains in terms of primary sources on the subject.