Dr Carrie Sawtell (BSA, Macmillan-Rodewald Student), “Χρηστὸς / χρηστή in 4th and 3rd century BC Attic Epitaphs”
Variously translated as excellent, good, useful and worthy, among others, the epithet χρηστὸς / χρηστή when used in fourth-century BC Attic epitaphs is taken as denoting the servile status of the deceased. The epithet was used across the Greek world, though more commonly in the vocative χρηστὲ, with varying degrees of popularity at different times at least down to the late imperial period. Outside of Attica, the epithet does not have consistently servile connotations. In fact, there seem to be few places where the epithet and servile status are associated. In my project undertaken as BSA Macmillan-Rodewald Student, I have been researching the use of the epithet across the Greek world in the Classical and Hellenistic periods, considering when and where the adjective is used to denote slaves, and how it is used differently of men and women.
In this lecture, I will focus on the use of χρηστὸς / χρηστή in fourth- and third-century BC Attica, drawing on onomastic evidence, other epigraphic indicators, and – where the epitaph is associated with any – iconographic evidence, to consider how consistently the epithet was used exclusively for slaves. In so doing I will draw out two of the key strands in my research: master-slave relationships; choice and expression in the Attic cemeteries.
This lecture will be presented virtually over Zoom. Please register here: