Ida Östenberg

in Staging the World

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780199215973
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191706851 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Ancient Culture & Representation


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It is generally assumed that a ‘triumphal painting’ glorified and commemorated the general's martial deeds by way of a twofold display: first in his triumphal procession, later in a temple or a public place. This chapter argues that commemorative paintings placed in temples and public places were made directly for static display and not for show in the triumphal processions. Battle scenes in the triumphs were other kinds of representations, produced in various media, such as models, sculptures, and dramatic tableaux. Besides war scenes, the triumph included personifications of peoples and rivers that were staged as living captives. Representations of cities, on the other hand, were shown primarily as models of rich materials, such as ivory and silver. The preference for models over personifications reveals a Roman fear of offending the gods by displaying divine, or quasi-divine beings such as cities as living creatures in fetters.

Keywords: triumphal paintings; temples; commemorative paintings; sculpture; dramatic tableaux; personifications; rivers; roman gods

Chapter.  36019 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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