The Invitation to the Dance
Article , Content / 2021-10-21

Opuscula 14 is published with open access. Printed edition distributed by AB. Also available at, Adlibris, and Bokus. View volume at ERIH PLUS. The Invitation to the Dance. An intertextual reassessment By Julia Habetzeder (Uppsala University, Sweden) Abstract With its original manifestation generally dated to c. 150 BC, the Invitation to the Dance is a textbook example of Hellenistic sculpture. But despite much scholarly attention there is still no consensus as to what motif the sculpture group depicts. Inspired by intertextual theory, this study catalogues and re-examines 35 sculptures of the female figure and 34 sculptures of the satyr. The article focuses on preserved sculptures, rather than a reconstructed model image. Variations of the repeated forms are highlighted as significant for the interpretation of the types. The reading of the Invitation to the Dance thus put forward suggests that the group composition displays the moment after the satyr has pulled the female’s garment down from her upper body. It is furthermore emphasized that both satyr and female figure were at times—perhaps even predominately—displayed as solitary figures. The satyr’s foot-clapper is suggested to have been included primarily in instances where the satyr was displayed on his own. Sculptures of the…

Book reviews
Book review , Content / 2014-12-02

Opuscula 7 (2014) is now available for purchase and free download at Also available at,, and Books reviewed in Opuscula 7 (2014) Kristian Göransson | G. Ceserani, Italy’s lost Greece: Magna Graecia and the making of modern archaeology, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2012. 352 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-974427-5 & J. Arthurs, Excavating modernity: The Roman past in Fascist Italy, Ithaca & London: Cornell University  Press 2012. 232 pp. ISBN 978-0-8014-4998-7. Örjan Wikander | R. Spain, The power and performance of Roman watermills. Hydro-mechanical analysis of vertical-wheeled watermills (BAR-IS, 1786). Oxford: Archaeopress 2008, xiv + 107 pp. ISBN 978-1-4073-0217-1. Gullög Nordquist | T.F. Tartaron, Maritime networks in the Mycenaean world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2013. ISBN 978-1-107-00298-2. Julia Habetzeder | Kunst von unten? Stil und Gesellschaft in der antiken Welt von der »arte plebea« bis heute (Palilia, 27), eds. F. de Angelis, J.-A. Dickmann, F. Pirson and R. von den Hoff, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Rom. Wiesbaden 2012. 184 pp. ISBN 978-3-89500-915-0. P.J. Rhodes | C.H. Lyttkens, Economic analysis of institutional change in Ancient Greece: Politics, taxation and rational behaviour (Routledge Explorations in Economic History, 58), London & New York: Routledge 2013. xiii +…

The impact of restoration
Article , Content / 2012-12-02

Opuscula 5 (2012) is now available for purchase and free download at Also available at,,, and The impact of restoration. The example of the dancing satyr in the Uffizi By Julia Habetzeder Abstract The aim of this article is to show that reputed restorations may have an unexpected impact on the study of ancient sculpture. During the 17th–19th centuries, a number of restored antiques were held in exceptionally high regard. One of the consequences of their renown was the production of copies and adaptations in different scales and media. Such reproductions did not distinguish between the ancient and the restored parts of the work. Today these reproductions are centuries old, and in many cases their provenance has long since been forgotten. Therefore, such post-Antique sculptures are easily misinterpreted as ancient. Subsequently, they are at times used as evidence of ancient sculptural production. Needless to say, this may cause flawed notions of Classical sculpture. The complexity of this relationship, between the ancient and the restored, is here exemplified by tracing the impact that a restored motif—“Satyrs with cymbals”—has had on the study of an ancient sculpture type: the satyr attributed to “The invitation to the dance”….

Dancing with decorum
Article , Content / 2012-12-02

Opuscula 5 (2012) is now available for purchase and free download at Also available at,,, and Dancing with decorum. The eclectic usage of kalathiskos dancers and pyrrhic dancers in Roman visual culture By Julia Habetzeder Abstract This article examines two groups of motifs in Roman visual culture: females modelled on kalathiskos dancers, and males modelled on pyrrhic dancers. Eclecticism is emphasized as a strategy which was used to introduce novelties that were appropriate within a Roman cultural context. The figures representing kalathiskos dancers and pyrrhic dancers were both changed in an eclectic manner and this resulted in motifs representing the goddess Victoria, and the curetes respectively. Kalathiskos dancers and eclectic Victoriae occur on many different media at least from the Augustan era and into the 2nd century AD. It is argued here that the establishment of these two motifs in Roman visual culture is closely related to the aesthetics which came to the fore during the reign of Augustus. Thereafter, both kalathiskos dancers and eclectic Victoriae lingered on in the Roman cultural context until many of the material categories on which they were depicted ceased to be produced. Unlike the kalathiskos dancers, the male figures…

Marsyas in the garden?
Article , Content / 2010-12-02

Opuscula 3 (2010) is now available for purchase and free download at Also available at,,, and Marsyas in the garden? Small-scale sculptures referring to Marsyas in the forum By Julia Habetzeder Abstract While studying a small-scale sculpture in the collections of the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, I noticed that it belongs to a previously unrecognized sculpture type. The type depicts a paunchy, bearded satyr who stands with one arm raised. To my knowledge, four replicas exist. By means of stylistic comparison, they can be dated to the late second to early third centuries AD. Due to their scale and rendering they are likely to have been freestanding decorative elements in Roman villas or gardens. The iconography of the satyrs of the type discussed is closely related to that of a group of fountain figures. These fountain figures are believed to refer to a motif well known in Roman times: the Marsyas in the forum. In this article I argue that the satyrs of the type discussed refer as well to this once famous depiction of Marsyas. Bibliographical information Julia Habetzeder, ‘Marsyas in the garden? Small-scale sculptures referring to Marsyas in the forum’, Opuscula. Annual of the…