Evaluating Sources

Why do we need to evaluate our sources?

Sources are biased. Such is their nature. Whether we’re dealing with literature, vase painting, or even modern archeological works the mode with which we receive the information both enriches and obscures our understanding of the Greeks.

It’s important to take everything with a grain of salt: how did the status of the makers of our sources color their perspective? How did writers/artists decide what was useful to talk about? What were their motives in creating what they did? How did the medium the creators chose impact the form of the work? How would an ancient audience have received the work?

Similarly, our own biases obscure how we perceive the information we receive – there was a period in the history of the study of Classics when scholars believed the Romans didn’t know how to use sarcasm!

These pages don’t attempt to answer all those questions. This first page endeavors to provide some perspective on the geographical constraints of our exhibit. The second is a quick overview of major biases in the type of evidence we used.

They will hopefully provide a broad understanding of the types of agendas different media had.


Further Reading


Brown, Shelby, and Robin Hagg. "Osteology and Greek Sacrificial Practice." American Journal of Archaeology 105.4 (2001): 734. Print. Ancient Greek Cult Practice from the Archaeological Evidence. Proceedings of the Fourth International Seminar on Ancient Greek Cult, Organized by the Swedish Institute at Athens, 22-24 October 1993

Faraone, Christopher A., Naiden, F. S. Greek and Roman Animal Sacrifice: Ancient Victims, Modern Observers. Cambridge University Press, 2012. Electronic.

Evaluating Sources