Limit search to available items
Book Cover
Author Allen, Mont, author.

Title The death of myth on Roman sarcophagi : allegory and visual narrative in the Late Empire / Mont Allen, Southern Illinois University
Published Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, 2022


Description 1 online resource (xiii, 278 pages) : illustrations
Series Greek culture in the Roman world
Greek culture in the Roman world.
Contents Cover -- Half-title -- Series information -- Title page -- Copyright information -- Contents -- List of Figures -- Acknowledgments -- Note on the Text -- Introduction: The Death of Myth on Roman Sarcophagi -- Opening -- A Pair of Sarcophagi: Moonstruck Lovers -- Body Divine, Head All Too Human: Mythological Portraiture -- Gods and Barnyard Animals: Shepherds Take the Stage -- Hippolytus and Manly Hunters -- Why Should We Care? -- Production of Pagan Sarcophagi: An Overview -- The Early (Hadrianic) Sarcophagi: Myth Present from the Beginning
Antonine Sarcophagi: A Burgeoning Mythological Repertoire -- Severan and Pre-Gallienic Sarcophagi: Myth Begins to Contract -- The Second Half of the Third Century: A Surge of Mythless Genres -- The Fourth Century: Dissolution of Pagan Sarcophagi -- Scope and Terms -- Focus on Rome -- Focus on Mythological Sarcophagi and Their Replacements -- ''Mythological'' as a Term: Gods and Heroes -- Structure of the Book -- One Myth a Casualty of Christianity -- Christians, ''Neutral'' Sarcophagi, and the Question of Reuse -- Christian Numbers and Purchasing Power
Why Choose Neutral Pieces When Christian Sarcophagi Were Available? -- Christian Conclusions -- Two Bucolic Sarcophagi and Elite Retreat -- A Story of Elite Retreat -- What of Equestrians and Commoners? -- The Villa: Conceived in Agriculture -- The Italian Countryside: Conceived in Cattle -- Philosophers: The Face of Detachment? -- Bucolic Rumination -- Three Refuge from the Third-Century Crisis -- Reaction to the Negative Experiences of the Age? -- A Lack of Control -- A Choice of Horrors -- How Critical Was the Third-Century Crisis? -- A Lack of Home Remedies
Why Not Develop Scenes of Mythic Tranquility? -- Imitating the Soldier Emperors? -- Four Culture, Status, and Rising Populism -- Devaluation of Classical Culture? -- Mythological Imagery: Victim of a Rising Populism? -- Monumentally Expensive Monuments -- The Late Antonine Stilwandel: A Crisis of Elite Culture? -- Strigillated Sarcophagi, Bucolic Imagery, and Popular Interest in Myth -- Demythologization Limited to the Funerary Realm -- Desire to Project Social Status? -- Conclusion: No Unitary Demythologization? -- Five Myth Abstracted: From Narrative to Symbol
Demythologization and Narrative Dissolution -- From Narrative to Symbol: Is There a Direction? -- Myth's Weakening Hold? The Evidence of Painting, Statuary, and Mosaics -- The Question of Typological Assimilation -- Truncated Compositions: Sculpture in the Round -- The Lesson of Mosaics -- Six Distinguishing the Mythological: Function and Form -- ''Scenes of Myth,'' ''Scenes of Life,'' and Realism -- ''Biographical'' Sarcophagi: Grounds for Scare Quotes -- The Fantasy of the Bucolic -- Biography and Mythology: Related Worlds -- Chisel and Drill: Tools of Status
Summary "A strange thing happens to Roman sarcophagi in the middle of the third century: their mythic imagery vanishes. These beautifully carved coffins had featured bold mythological scenes since the very beginning of their mainstream production early in the second century AD, when burial had replaced cremation as the favored means for disposing of the dead. Evocative testament to Rome's ongoing love affair with classical Greek culture, they derived emotional force from their resonance with an artistic tradition centuries old while providing catharsis and consolation to those still living. How then to make sense of this imagery's own death on later sarcophagi, as mythological narratives were truncated, gods and heroes were excised, and genres featuring no mythic content whatsoever - such as the late third century's endless procession of sarcophagi featuring bucolic shepherds and studious philosophers - came to the fore? What could such a profound tectonic shift in the Roman funerary imagination mean? - for our understanding of Roman history and culture, for the development of its arts, for the passage from the High to the Late Empire and the coming of Christianity, but above all, for the individual Roman women and men who chose this imagery as the lens through which they wanted to be remembered, and who took it with them to the grave? A concrete example or two will help to throw the matter into relief. Sometime around 230 or 240 AD, a married (we assume) couple, anticipating their eventual demise, commissioned a pair of lavish sarcophagi to receive their remains. Now, ordering a pair of them - one for each corpse - was indeed unusual. It was far more common for a couple to purchase a single sarcophagus for their joint use. But in this case, our couple clearly had money to spare, and so opted for separate coffins - coffins which, nonetheless, they commissioned to serve as pendants to each other, with dimensions that were almost identical, and carved with scenes that complemented each other, representing female and male variations on a theme"-- Provided by publisher
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and indexes
Notes Description based on online resource; title from digital title page (viewed on February 24, 2023)
Subject Sarcophagi, Roman -- Themes, motives
Sarcophagi, Early Christian -- Themes, motives
Relief (Sculpture) -- Rome -- Themes, motives
Mythology, Classical, in art.
Art and society -- Rome
Art and society
Mythology, Classical, in art
Relief (Sculpture) -- Themes, motives
Sarcophagi, Early Christian -- Themes, motives
Sarcophagi, Roman -- Themes, motives
Rome (Empire)
Form Electronic book
LC no. 2021047848
ISBN 9781009039031