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Isabell Wagener

Who am I? Representations of personifications as expression of resonant self-world-relations in the Old comedy

(Klassische Archäologie / Klassische Philologie)

My dissertation examines the relationship between dramatic performances (i.e. comedies) on the one hand and the performing arts (mainly vase painting and sculpture) on the other hand in classical Greece by means of personifications of various abstract concepts. After a theoretical classification of the topic and its difficulties, a total of 7 personifications are examined in detail and traced in their development. Finally, various modern concepts of religious studies and sociology are applied as explanatory models that may explain the development of these personifications in detail.

Even though not explicitly, the word "relationship" is already present in the title: In terms of socio-religious practices and resonance, the theater is particularly intriguing in this regard, as it can be understood as a space of encounter in which the actors, the audience, and even the poet can interact directly with the personifications portrayed in the play and on the stage. These entanglements are supported by the ritual embedding of the comedy itself in the religious discourse of the polis, but also of the personifications in the course of the work. Thus, the experience of a resonant, reciprocal connection may be understood as the initial spark of sacralization processes as well as the reformation, elaboration, and reshaping of these personifications.

Especially the connection of modern theories with archaeology met with rejection for a long time, but gained momentum in recent years. My study makes a contribution to this without neglecting the source material. Furthermore, it shows that the consideration of scarcely attested personifications on the one hand or already well documented finds/personifications on the other hand with the help of new questions is quite rewarding, because new facets come to light.


Coordination Erfurt

Dr. Elisabeth Begemann


Coordination Graz

Dr. Anna-Katharina Rieger

Phone:+43 316 380 - +43 (0)316 380 - 2391

Doctoral positions are open for the study year 2023/24. Deadline extended (end of April. For further information on the call see here.

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