Julia Kretschmer

Whose Voice? Exploring the Phenomenon of ‘Speaking Objects’ in the Late Geometric and Archaic Periods (Arbeitstitel)

One of the most intriguing phenomena in the early phases of writing in the Greek world is related with a large and heterogeneous group of inscribed objects that address their reader in the first person, thus creating the illusion of ‘speaking objects’. This exceptional phenomenon has attracted an unbroken scholarly attention over the past years, lying at the juncture of several disciplines (Classical Archaeology, Ancient History, Epigraphy, and Classical Philology). The basic objective of the PhD thesis will be a comprehensive study of this class of inscribed objects that will include numerous recent finds. The major issues which arise from the survey of this material revolve around the materiality of these ‘speaking objects’, their context and finally the manifold ways of interaction with their reader. Recent theoretical models help us to construct a multi-levelled analytical approach that does justice to the complexity and high historical significance of this phenomenon. This approach is created a posteriori, i.e. after a first systematic encounter with the most important facets of this group. This will focus on an exhaustive documentation of the inscriptions not as historical sources but as the very object of scientific enquiry, thus exploring the dynamic relationship between object and reader and striving to reconstruct praxeological contexts of speaking/reading in ancient Greece.

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