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Priest or Priestess

Currently, I am working on a set of black and white ink drawings for coloring pages; the first is now available for download for a small fee at Deviant Art.

At present, I'm working on the third drawing in the series, entitled "The Loving Cup."  This drawing is based off a fresco depicting some kind of sacred feast; the original was found in the West Wing at Knossos, in a chamber upstairs from the Throne Room Sanctuary.

The figure at left is clearly a woman, but the figure at right is more enigmatic.  The caption describing the picture states that the second figure is also a woman, but based on the differences in clothing, especially the many fringes in his/her garment, I'm more inclined to think the figure might be a priest.  What's interesting about this fresco that that both figures are colored ocher brown; we usually only see this kind of coloring on males.  Notice, too, that the original fragments don't include the female's body.  The reconstruction might have it wrong, then, and the scene depicts two priests.

This fresco belongs to the series that includes the famous "La Parisienne."


Favorite Historical People

First things, first.  The first draft of Danae is finished and in the hands of my alpha reader.  He is, however, in the midst of another project, and so the editing process will be slow.  Which is fine by me, even though the manuscript comes in at 412 pages, or 191,000 words.  Gives me time to work on the interior artwork.

Now to the meat of this post.  A question over at Goodreads ("Who is your favorite historical person?") had me answering outside the box.  Don't expect me to name somebody famous.  My favorite historical people are the real-life men and women listed on the Linear B tablets, mostly because we know just enough to be curious enough to want more information.  We can argue till next week whether Helen of Sparta was a real woman (I personally think she was a composite of several real Mycenaean royal women and goddesses), but there's no arguing that the priestess Eritha of Spaghianes, for example, was a real 13th century B.C. woman of Pylos.

What happened with the court case between Eritha and the local damos, anyway?  The elders claimed the land she leased was on her own behalf, rather than a god's holding, meaning she owed taxes on it.  Eritha, on the other hand, claimed that she owned the land on behalf of a god, making it tax-exempt.  Frustratingly, the judgment on that case is lost.  Or was Pylos and its districts sacked and burned, and the litigants possibly killed, before a judgment was rendered?  I would have to check my reference materials, but I believe the tablets also name two of Eritha's subordinates, who held property on behalf of the gods.

I smell the possibility of an interesting story here.

It reminds me of the court case of the free woman Justa, daughter of a freed slave, heard in Pompeii/Herculaneum on the eve of the Vesuvius eruption in August, A.D. 79.  Justa had done fairly well for herself (there is also evidence suggesting that she was a secret Christian), but the members of her mother's master's family claimed she was a slave belonging to them (which would have made her fortune theirs, incidentally).  What happened, or would have happened had Vesuvius not erupted, no one knows.  Did Justa survive the eruption?  One hopes she did, and that she went on to prosper as she had done before.

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