An Introduction to Votives in the Classical World

  • Henry Moore Institute
  • Wednesday, 3 May 2017
  • Lecture by Simon Barker in the Institute's seminar room, starting at 6pm

Dr Simon Barker (King’s College London and Henry Moore Foundation Sculpture Fellow, British School at Rome, 2016-17) gives an introduction to Votives.

Religion was a key aspect of everyday life in the ancient world from the political to the domestic realm. Sacrifices were performed for a variety of reasons, including religious festivals, political activities, military victories, and for private concerns. In addition to religious buildings, votive offerings and images provide important evidence for ancient ritual practice and belief. Votive reliefs and sculpture in the round were an important ritual act (dedication) and a means of decorating religious spaces, while promoting the social position of the dedicator.

This talk will provide an introduction to the visual expression of ancient religious activities – votive dedications. It will explore the relationship between these votives and the buildings and rituals of which they were a part. The talk will address these issues through a discussion of sculpture – stone, bronze and terracotta – from votive contexts. An important aspect of this investigation will be a consideration of the reliefs and altars, which specifically depict ritual activity in order to explore the function of sacrifice and ritual in ancient religion.

Since completing his doctorate in Roman Archaeology at the University of Oxford, Simon Barker has twice held an associate lectureship in Roman Archaeology at Birkbeck, University of London (2015, 2016). Between 2015 and 2016 he held a Fernand Braudel IFER Fellowship at the Centre Camille Jullian (Université d’Aix-Marseille) where he worked on Roman sculptural recycling in the Western Provinces. In 2016 he was the Henry Moore Foundation Fellow in Sculpture at the British School at Rome, where he worked on sculptural production and re-carving practices in Rome and Italy (first to fifth century AD). Simon’s research revolves around the art, architecture and archaeology of Rome and Roman Italy. He has worked on fieldwork projects in the UK and in Italy at Pompeii, Herculaneum, Stabiae, Ostia and the Palatine in Rome.

Venue details

Venue address

Henry Moore Institute
The Headrow
United Kingdom
T: 0113 246 7467

Opening times

Galleries: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am - 5pm

Research Library: Monday to Saturday, 10am - 5pm; Sunday, 1 - 5pm
Archive of Sculptors' Papers: Tuesday to Friday, by prior appointment