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Couched in Death

Klinai and Identity in Anatolia and Beyond

Elizabeth P. Baughan

Publication Year: 2013

In Couched in Death, Elizabeth P. Baughan offers the first comprehensive look at the earliest funeral couches in the ancient Mediterranean world. These sixth- and fifth-century BCE klinai from Asia Minor were inspired by specialty luxury furnishings developed in Archaic Greece for reclining at elite symposia. It was in Anatolia, however—in the dynastic cultures of Lydia and Phrygia and their neighbors—that klinai first gained prominence not as banquet furniture but as burial receptacles. For tombs, wooden couches were replaced by more permanent media cut from bedrock, carved from marble or limestone, or even cast in bronze. The rich archaeological findings of funerary klinai throughout Asia Minor raise intriguing questions about the social and symbolic meanings of this burial furniture. Why did Anatolian elites want to bury their dead on replicas of Greek furniture? Do the klinai found in Anatolian tombs represent Persian influence after the conquest of Anatolia, as previous scholarship has suggested?
            Bringing a diverse body of understudied and unpublished material together for the first time, Baughan investigates the origins and cultural significance of kline-burial and charts the stylistic development and distribution of funerary klinai throughout Anatolia. She contends that funeral couch burials and banqueter representations in funerary art helped construct hybridized Anatolian-Persian identities in Achaemenid Anatolia, and she reassesses the origins of the custom of the reclining banquet itself, a defining feature of ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Baughan explores the relationships of Anatolian funeral couches with similar traditions in Etruria and Macedonia as well as their "afterlife" in the modern era, and her study also includes a comprehensive survey of evidence for ancient klinai in general, based on analysis of more than three hundred klinai representations on Greek vases as well as archaeological and textual sources.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-xiii

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pp. xiv-xvi

This book represents more than ten years of research and reflects the support of many colleagues, mentors, friends, and students. It began as a PhD dissertation at Berkeley, under the supervision of Crawford H. Greenewalt Jr., and since then has been expanded in some ways and trimmed in others, ...

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Abbreviations and Guidelines for Use

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pp. xvii-xviii

Abbreviations for journals and standard scholarly works cited in the notes, appendices, and bibliography follow the guidelines of the American Journal of Archaeology or the German Archaeological Institute. Abbreviations for ancient authors and works follow those listed in the Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd edition (1996). ...

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Introduction: Approaches to Klinai and the Cultures of Anatolia

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pp. 3-14

The image of a person relaxing on a banquet couch endured as a funerary icon in the ancient Mediterranean from the Archaic Period through Late Antiquity. Whether on sarcophagus lids or grave reliefs or in tomb paintings, such images are easily called to mind and understood as expressions of the deceased’s identity or status ...

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Chapter 1. Archaic and Classical Greek Klinai: Realities and Representations

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pp. 15-86

The couch in antiquity served many more functions, both real and symbolic, than the sofa normally does today: not only relaxation, but also dining, drinking, having sex, and sleeping, as well as serving as a deathbed, bier, and permanent resting place in the grave. These are the functions, at least, that we can infer from scenes on Greek vases; there may have been many more. ...

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Chapter 2. Funerary Klinai in Anatolia

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pp. 87-176

The Kerameikos burials discussed in Chapter 1 are among the earliest attestations of klinai used as burial receptacles, but they are exceptional in Greece, and their associated finds point strikingly toward a West Anatolian cultural affiliation. In fact, it is in western Anatolia that the practice of burying the dead on a kline is best attested in the Archaic and Classical periods. ...

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Chapter 3. Origins of the Kline-Tomb

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pp. 177-232

Where did the kline-tomb concept originate? It has sometimes been assumed that the custom of burying the dead on a kline was imported to Anatolia from Persia after Cyrus the Great’s conquest of Lydia ca. 545.1 Dusinberre has suggested that this burial type amended a preexisting concept of funerary banqueting in Lydia to reflect new dining habits ...

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Chapter 4. Banqueting and Identity in Achaemenid Anatolia

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pp. 233-266

Despite the evidence presented above for the Anatolian roots of the kline-tomb concept and the “Lydian-ness” of funerary klinai, the fact remains that most securely dated instances of this burial type in Anatolia come from the Persian period or later. ...

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Chapter 5. Conclusions: Legacies and Meanings

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pp. 267-280

The earliest roots of the custom of kline-burial, the preceding chapters show, seem to lie in Anatolia in the late seventh or early sixth century BCE, when existing traditions of bed-burial and funerary banqueting coalesced in the use of multifunctional sympotic furniture as a burial receptacle. ...

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pp. 281-282

The discovery of a remarkably well-preserved kline-tomb near Daskyleion in 2012 was reported by Kaan İren, director of the Daskyleion excavations, at the 35th International Symposium of Excavations, Surveys, and Archaeometry in Muğla, Τurkey, on 30 May 2013, after the completion of this manuscript. ...

Appendix A: Catalogue of Anatolian Tombs with Funerary Beds or Couches, ca. 600–400 BCE

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pp. 283-335

Appendix B: List of Vases Cited in the Text

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pp. 336-348


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pp. 349-424


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pp. 425-478


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pp. 479-488

Wisconsin Studies in Classics

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pp. 516-518

E-ISBN-13: 9780299291839
E-ISBN-10: 0299291839
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299291808
Print-ISBN-10: 0299291804

Page Count: 517
Illustrations: 162 b/w illus., 12 color illus., 4 maps, 2 tables
Publication Year: 2013