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Art and Rhetoric in Roman Culture


Michel Meyer, Jaś Elsner, Edmund Thomas, Francesco de Angelis, Jennifer Trimble, Eve D'Ambra, Katharina Lorenz, Verity Platt, Barbara Borg, Zahra Newby, Caroline Vout, Michael Squire
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  • Date Published: October 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107000711

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About the Authors
  • Rhetoric was fundamental to education and to cultural aspiration in the Greek and Roman worlds. It was one of the key aspects of antiquity that slipped under the line between the ancient world and Christianity erected by the early Church in late antiquity. Ancient rhetorical theory is obsessed with examples and discussions drawn from visual material. This book mines this rich seam of theoretical analysis from within Roman culture to present an internalist model for some aspects of how the Romans understood, made and appreciated their art. The understanding of public monuments like the Arch of Titus or Trajan's Column or of imperial statuary, domestic wall painting, funerary altars and sarcophagi, as well as of intimate items like children's dolls, is greatly enriched by being placed in relevant rhetorical contexts created by the Roman world.

    • Proposes a fresh view of Roman art grounded in ancient rhetoric
    • Provides a series of new and path-breaking essays by a number of the most important younger scholars in the field
    • Extends the understanding of Roman rhetorical theory and its uses of visual exempla
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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107000711
    • length: 524 pages
    • dimensions: 253 x 178 x 30 mm
    • weight: 1.2kg
    • contains: 129 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface Michel Meyer
    Introduction Jaś Elsner
    Part I. Architecture and Public Space:
    1. On the sublime in architecture Edmund Thomas
    2. Sublime histories, exceptional viewers: Trajan's Column and its visibility Francesco de Angelis
    3. Corpore enormi: the rhetoric of physical appearance in Suetonius and imperial portrait statuary Jennifer Trimble
    4. Beauty and the Roman female portrait Eve D'Ambra
    Part II. The Domestic Realm:
    5. The Casa del Menandro in Pompeii: rhetoric and the topology of Roman wall-painting Katharina Lorenz
    6. Agamemnon's grief: on the limits of expression in Roman rhetoric and painting Verity Platt
    Part III. The Funerary:
    7. Rhetoric and art in third-century AD Rome Barbara Borg
    8. Poems in stone: reading mythological sarcophagi through Statius' Consolations Zahra Newby
    9. The funerary altar of Pedana and the rhetoric of unreachability Caroline Vout
    10. Rational, passionate and appetitive: the psychology of rhetoric and the transformation of visual culture from non-Christian to Christian sarcophagi in the Roman world Jaś Elsner
    Part IV. Rhetoric and the Visual:
    11. The ordo of rhetoric and the rhetoric of order Michael Squire
    Coda: the rhetoric of Roman painting within the history of culture: a global interpretation Michel Meyer.

  • Editors

    Jaś Elsner, Corpus Christi College, Oxford
    Jaś Elsner is Humfry Payne Senior Research Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Visiting Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago and Senior Research Keeper at the British Museum. His publications include numerous articles and books including Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph: The Art of the Roman Empire AD 100–450 (1998) and Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (2007).

    Michel Meyer, Université Libre de Bruxelles
    Michel Meyer is Professor of Rhetoric, Philosophy and Aesthetics at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. He has published many works of philosophy, covering literary criticism, rhetoric, the passions, art, theatre and Roman art. Several of his works have appeared in English. He is known to be the father of a new philosophy based on the priority of questioning in thought, called problematology. Recent books include Rome et la naissance de l'art européen (2006) and Principia Rhetorica (2008).


    Michel Meyer, Jaś Elsner, Edmund Thomas, Francesco de Angelis, Jennifer Trimble, Eve D'Ambra, Katharina Lorenz, Verity Platt, Barbara Borg, Zahra Newby, Caroline Vout, Michael Squire

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