This paper presented by Kelly Wrenhaven, Cleveland State University, examines artistic examples of figures that have been identified as comic slaves and consider how these characteristics reflect the ways in which slaves are depicted in Athenian comedy.
Kelly Wrenhaven is Associate Professor of Classics and the Director of the Minor in Classical Studies. Her research interests include ancient Greek slavery; epigraphy, especially manumission documents; the construction of civic and cultural identity through opposition; perceptions of the body, especially ancient ideas about beauty and ugliness and perceived differences between slave and free, barbarian and Greek bodies; how language can be used to construct identity; the use of evidential torture in Greek law courts; ancient sepulchral inscriptions and relief sculpture, with a concentration upon how status was illustrated; depictions of courtesans in art and literature and, more broadly, ancient ideas about prostitution and sexuality.
Her recent book, Reconstructing the Slave (Bristol Classical Press, 2012), examines how the Greeks used literary, lexical, and artistic images of slaves to justify, naturalize, and perpetuate the institution of slavery in Classical Greece. Professor Wrenhaven is currently working on her second book, which is a comparative study of themes in Classical and American slavery.