Statues and Cities

Statues and Cities : Honorific Portraits and Civic Identity in the Hellenistic World

By (author) John Ma


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Why say thank you with a portrait statue? This book combines two different and quite specialized fields, archaeology and epigraphy, to explore the phenomenon of portraits in ancient art within the historical and anthropological context of city-states honouring worthy individuals through erecting statues, and the development of families imitating this practice. This transaction tells us a lot about the history of these cities and how ancient art worked as a construction of relations during the Hellenistic period (c. 350 BC- c. AD 1), which is marked by a political culture of civic devotion, common decision making, and publicness. As honorific statues were considered public art, the volume also investigates the workings of images, representations, memory, and the monumental public form of permanent inscription, to see what stories the Hellenistic city-states can reveal about themselves.

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  • Hardback | 406 pages
  • 196 x 250 x 28mm | 1,079.98g
  • 24 Aug 2013
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford
  • English
  • 73 in-text illustrations and plans
  • 0199668914
  • 9780199668915
  • 1,621,270

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Author Information

John Ma is a Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. A former Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, he has taught at Princeton and has held visiting appointments in Paris. He is interested in ancient history, especially Greek, and archaeology.

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Review quote

This book is well illustrated and contains 17 plans at the end. It is a very thorough look at what kinds of statues were set up, where, by whom, at what cost, and why. Recommended. J .J. Gabbert, emerita, Wright State University, CHOICE

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