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portraiture, Greek  

Sheila Dillon

Portrait statues were a major component of Greek sculptural production, and many of these statues were made by the most famous sculptors of Greek antiquity. A public honorific portrait statue was in fact the highest honour an individual could receive and as such was much coveted. However, as most of these monuments were of bronze, very few have survived. Given the absence of the statues themselves, we are left to reconstruct the history and appearance of Greek portraiture primarily through other kinds of evidence: later literary sources, Roman-period copies primarily of portrait heads, inscribed statue bases, decrees recording the decision to award an honorific portrait. Based on this evidence, it is clear that portrait statues were a prominent feature of the statuary landscape of Greek cities and sanctuaries, particularly in the Hellenistic period, when their numbers increased and the range of people represented by them came to include women and children.


Julius Caesar, reception of  

W. Jeffrey Tatum

The reception of Caesar constitutes, for obvious reasons, an immense topic. As a political idea, Caesar exhibits from the very beginning a tension between his role as dictator and destroyer of the Republic and his standing as the political and military genius who founded the Empire. This contrariety, not least by way of the analytic category of Caesarism, is especially marked in the political discourse of the 19th and 20th centuries. Caesar’s literary reception, though influenced by contemporary political conflicts, is not always tethered to them in straightforward ways. The Caesar of literature is often a reaction to the Caesar of Shakespeare. And there are other important issues: Caesar as a problem in the recovery of authenticity, or Caesar, because he is a canonical author, as a symbol of the conservative claims of the established order. In art, Caesar the god and Caesar the chivalrous king gradually give way to Caesar the slain dictator or Caesar the imperious conqueror. In popular culture, however, Caesar’s manifestations vary wildly: although he continues to register at a political level, he can also signify imperial excess or martial prowess, and he is available as a medium for lampooning the various guises of his own reception.


Ara Pacis  

Diane Atnally Conlin

A marble monument commissioned by the Roman Senate consisting of a sculpted precinct wall and a stepped altar, the Ara Pacis was consecrated to the political and military peace established by Augustus following his recent, successful diplomatic campaigns in the western provinces. Originally located on the Via Flaminia to serve as one component of a grand Augustan topographical program in the northern Campus Martius, the monument’s Carrara precinct walls and the surfaces of the altar proper are carved with an interconnected thematic display of mythological panels, architectural motifs, historical friezes, and allegorical reliefs. The sculptures decorating the Ara Pacis are famous examples of the preponderance of the classicized style in Augustan art.The Ara Pacis (Ara Pacis Augustae) is a monumental marble altar (11.6 × 10.6 m) originally located on the western side of the via Flaminia in the northern Campus Martius region of Rome and decreed by the senate (.


temple, Greek  

Philip Sapirstein

By the 8th century bce, the temple was emerging in Greek sanctuaries as a new type of building which served symbolically as a deity’s house and accommodated the cult image and votives. After a period of intensifying investment and experimentation with new forms, the Doric and Ionic styles emerged in the first half of the 6th century bce and soon became the two dominant systems. As richly adorned monumental temples proliferated throughout Greece in the ensuing centuries, innovation occurred within these two frameworks through continuous adjustments to proportion and profiles, refinements, and the blending and remixing of elements from both systems. A new type of capital known as the Corinthian was developed during the Classical period and deployed as a third architectural system in its own right by the later Hellenistic era. We learn much of Greek architectural practice from the ancient writer Vitruvius as well as construction accounts, but current knowledge of the origins of Greek architecture and its developments over the Archaic through Hellenistic periods is most deeply informed by the architectural study of the archaeological remains of Greek temples.


art, funerary, Greek  

Nathan T. Arrington

Art was an essential component of funeral practices in ancient Greece. From inexpensive vases deposited with the dead to monumental statues standing over tombs, graves are one of the most important sources of evidence for Greek material culture. These archaeological contexts provide data on the chronology and regional variation of Greek art. The funeral setting allows scholars to study the relation of art to its social, political, and cultural contexts. Literary sources, such as texts that describe burial rituals or attitudes toward the dead, complement this study. The picture, detailed as it is, remains selective. Some physical materials, such as textiles, do not survive well in the archaeological record, despite their ancient value, and poor or simple graves may remain invisible to excavators. The looting of archaeological sites and the absence of detailed publications from excavated sites preclude scholarly access to the full spectrum of material culture in funeral settings.


sculpture, Roman  

Glenys Davies

Roman sculpture was produced in a variety of materials (bronze, marble, other stones, precious metals, terracotta), but it is *marble that is seen as typically Roman because so much that survives is in this medium. Sculpture was used for commemorative purposes (for display in public and in private contexts, especially the tomb), for state *propaganda, in religious settings, and for decorative purposes, and various different forms were developed: statues and busts, relief friezes and panels, and architectural embellishments.Early sculpture in Rome (e.g. the bronze she-wolf of c. 500 bce) was heavily influenced by *Etruscan work, and Etruscan sculptors would appear to have worked in Rome in the regal period and the early Republic. Rome's contacts with the Greek world, at first with the colonies of southern Italy and later through wars of conquest in Greece and Asia Minor, resulted in a knowledge of and growing taste for Greek sculpture: at first statues arrived as war *booty, but growing demand created a flourishing trade in new work.


polychromy, sculptural, Greek and Roman  

Jan Stubbe Østergaard

The term “polychromy” has been in use since the early 19th century to denote the presence of any element of colour in Greek and Roman sculpture. The evidence for such polychromy is literary, epigraphical, archaeological, and archeometric; research on the subject therefore requires collaboration between the humanities, conservation science, and natural science. Such research should go hand in hand with the investigation of the polychromy of Greek and Roman architecture, since it is symbiotically related to sculpture, technically as well as visually.

Knowledge of Greek and Roman sculptural polychromy is still very uneven. Scholars have focused on stone sculpture, and most research has been directed towards the Archaic, Early Classical, Hellenistic, and Imperial Roman periods. For terracottas, the Hellenistic period has enjoyed the most research, while investigation of the polychromy of bronze sculpture has only recently begun.

The scientific research methodology applied concerns the materials and techniques employed. The main colouring agents are paints, metals, and coloured marbles. Pigments are based on inorganic and organic materials applied with proteins, wax, or plant gums as binding media. Metals used are bronze, copper, silver, and gold. A range of coloured marbles came into use in the Roman Imperial period, but in all periods, assorted materials such as semi-precious stones and metals were used for inlaid details and attached objects like jewelry and weapons.



Michael Thomas

Ancient Oplontis was a seaside area, located approximately five kilometers to the west of Pompeii. The name Oplontis appears in only one source, the Tabula Peutingeriana, a 12th-century copy of a Roman map. From that map, archaeologists have argued that ancient Oplontis lies under the modern town of Torre Annunziata. In the area of Torre Annunziata known as Le Mascatelle, excavations have revealed two major sites, Oplontis A and B. Although knowledge of the area dates back to the late 16th century, when the track of the Sarno Canal cut through the southern part of Oplontis Villa A, modern excavation at the villa did not begin until 1964. Work at Oplontis B began in 1974 when construction on a new school discovered evidence of the ancient structure. Though near to each other, the two sites represent very different buildings. Oplontis A was a luxury villa perched on a cliff overlooking the Bay of Naples with sophisticated architecture, spectacular wall painting, sculptures, manicured gardens, and a sixty-meter swimming pool. Oplontis B was a large commercial building that was used for the exportation of wine.