Filippos Roussos

My thesis aims to address a lacuna in the study of the Late Bronze (LBA) / Early Iron Age (EIA) Aegean by focusing on the way(s) through which the construction of gendered identities, particularly masculine identities, was articulated in early Greece. To best illustrate the wide spectrum of possibilities across time, but also grounding the study in a particular region which allows for an in-depth consideration of specific material evidence, I have selected LBA (14th–12th centuries BC) through EIA (11th–7th centuries BC) and Archaic (6th century BC) Crete as a case study. 

The rich and diverse archaeological record of Crete lends itself to an exploration of the modes of elaboration of masculinity in early Greek societies. Burials and funerary offerings, sanctuaries and votive objects, and settlement evidence for buildings with supposed masculine associations (andreia) all occur amply on the island, providing the opportunity to reconstruct in as much detail as possible each stage of male life, from birth to boyhood, adolescence to adulthood, old age and, ultimately, death, as well as intermediary transitional stages. Further exploration will centre around issues of inter-gender relations, between men, women, and more ambiguous gendered expressions, but also of sexuality, scrutinising heterosexual, homosexual, and other relationships in life and art. This way, I will elucidate the heterogeneous models of masculinity that prevailed in LBA–Archaic Crete, acknowledging the fluidity and malleability of the concept in contrast to more rigid notions, stemming from modern, Western ideologies. 

Past scholarship has involved some consideration of aspects of masculinity in early Crete, yet notable remains the absence of a comprehensive, diachronic treatment of the subject not just for the island, but for the Aegean as a whole; that is precisely what will be accomplished through this thesis for the first time.