Art in the Lives of Ordinary Romans Visual Representation and Non-Elite Viewers in Italy, 100 B. C. -A. D. 315

ISBN-10: 0520248155
ISBN-13: 9780520248151
Edition: 2006
Authors: John R. Clarke
List price: $45.00
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Description: This splendidly illustrated book brings to life the ancient Romans whom modern scholarship has largely ignored: slaves, ex-slaves, foreigners, and the freeborn working poor. Though they had no access to the upper echelons of society, ordinary Romans  More...

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Book details

List price: $45.00
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 4/17/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 418
Size: 7.00" wide x 9.75" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 2.288
Language: English

This splendidly illustrated book brings to life the ancient Romans whom modern scholarship has largely ignored: slaves, ex-slaves, foreigners, and the freeborn working poor. Though they had no access to the upper echelons of society, ordinary Romans enlivened their world with all manner of artworks. Discussing a wide range of art in the late republic and early empire--from familiar monuments to the obscure Caupona of Salvius and little-studied tomb reliefs--John R. Clarke provides a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of ordinary Roman people. Writing for a wide audience, he illuminates the dynamics of a discerning and sophisticated population, overturning much accepted wisdom about them, and opening our eyes to their astounding cultural diversity. Clarke begins by asking: How did emperors use monumental displays to communicate their policies to ordinary people? His innovative readings demonstrate how the Ara Pacis, the columns of Trajan and of Marcus Aurelius, and the Arch of Constantine announced each dynasty's program for handling the lower classes. Clarke then considers art commissioned by the non-elites themselves--the paintings, mosaics, and reliefs that decorated their homes, shops, taverns, and tombstones. In a series of paintings from taverns and houses, for instance, he uncovers wickedly funny combinations of text and image used by ordinary Romans to poke fun at elite pretensions in art, philosophy, and poetry. In addition to providing perceptive readings of many works of Roman art, this original and entertaining book demonstrates why historians must recognize, rather than erase, complexity and contradiction and asks new questions about class, culture, and social regulation that are highly relevant in today's global culture.

John R. Clarkeis Annie Laurie Howard Regents Professor of History of Art at the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author ofArt in the Lives of Ordinary Romans(UC Press, 2003),Roman Sex(2003),Looking at Lovemaking: Constructions of Sexuality in Roman Art,100 B.C.- A.D. 250(UC Press, 1998), andThe Houses of Roman Italy: 100 B.C.- A.D. 250: Ritual, Space, and Decoration(UC Press, 1991).

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Imperial Representation of Non-Elites
Augustus's and Trajan's Messages to Commoners
The All-Seeing Emperor and Ordinary Viewers: Marcus Aurelius and Constantine
Non-Elites in the Public Sphere
Everyman, Everywoman, and the Gods
Everyman and Everywoman at Work
Spectacle: Entertainment, Social Control, Self-Advertising, and Transgression
Laughter and Subversion in the Tavern: Image, Text, and Context
Commemoration of Life in the Domain of the Dead: Non-Elite Tombs and Sarcophagi
Non-Elites in the Domestic Sphere
Minding Your Manners: Banquets, Behavior, and Class
Putting Your Best Face Forward: Self-Representation at Home
Conclusions
Notes
Bibliography
Illustration Credits
Index

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