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Crisis and Ambition: Tombs and Burial Customs in Third-century Ce Rome

Crisis and Ambition: Tombs and Burial Customs in Third-century Ce Rome

Hardback Oxford Studies in Ancient Culture & Representation

By (author) Barbara E. Borg

$175.74

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 190mm x 248mm x 28mm | 900g
  • Publication date: 15 November 2013
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199672733
  • ISBN 13: 9780199672738
  • Illustrations note: 140 in-text black and white illustrations and 8 pages of colour plates

Product description

Tombs and burial customs are an exquisite source for social history, as their commemorative character inevitably expresses much of the contemporaneous ideology of a society. This book presents, for the first time, a holistic view of the funerary culture of Rome and its surroundings during the third century AD. While the third century is often largely ignored in social history, it was a transitional period, an era of major challenges - political, economic, and social - which inspired creativity and innovation, and paved the way for the new system of late antiquity. Barbara Borg argues that during this time there was, in many ways, a return to practices known from the Late Republic and early imperial period, with spectacular monuments for the rich, and a large-scale reappearance of collective burial spaces. Through a study of terraced tombs, elite monuments, the catacomb nuclei, sarcophagi, and painted image decoration, this volume explores how the third century was an exciting period of experimentation and creativity, a time when non-Christians and Christians shared fundamental ideas, needs, and desires as well as cemeteries, tombs, and hypogea. Ambition continued to be a driving force and a determining factor in all social classes, who found innovative solutions to the challenges they encountered.

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Author information

Barbara E. Borg is Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Exeter. She has worked on a wide range of topics, often linking her core subject Greek and Roman art and archaeology with neighbouring disciplines such as Egyptology, Classical Literature, Ancient History, and Geology.

Review quote

In this important new study Borg shows the importance of the much neglected thirdcentury to the study of classical archaeology. By a meticulous examination of the periods tombs and burial customs she throws new light on some of the most fundamental concerns of the study of Roman material culture, from how to analyse sarcophagus iconography to the possible iconographical interpretations of catacomb decoration... This book will be essential reading not only for specialists in the field of Roman archaeology but also for graduates and undergraduates. Helen Ackers, Pegasus a thoughtful re-assessment which draws together a vast range of scholarship to present a holistic picture. Zahra Newby, Sehepunkte This ambitious and daring monograph on a deserving subject is likely to stimulate discussion among specialists in Roman funerary culture and imperial history, but it also provides a welcome synthesis for graduate students and scholars who look for an immersion in the funerary monuments and artistic conventions of the time period. Dorian Borbonus, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Table of contents

PREFACE ; LIST OF FIGURES ; LIST OF PLATES ; ABBREVIATIONS ; 1. Introduction: The third Century ; 2. Traditional Cemeteries and Tombs ; 3. Innovation and New Designs ; 4. Underground Tombs ; 5. Long-Term Use and Re-Use ; 6. Sarcophagi ; 7. Sarcophagi in Context ; 8. Interior Decoration ; 9. Conclusions ; BIBLIOGRAPHY ; INDEX