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Title: Roman funerary reliefs and North African identity : a contextual investigation of Tripolitanian mausolea and their iconography
Author: Nikolaus, Julia Salome
ISNI:       0000 0004 6350 7757
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2017
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During the Roman-period, hundreds of mausolea were commissioned by the local Libyan elite in Tripolitania (Libya). While funerary sculpture was rare in pre-Roman Tripolitania, during the Roman period many were vividly decorated with symbolic and figural sculpture. This Ph.D. provides the first extended discussion and comprehensive catalogue of Tripolitanian mausolea and their decorations. Based on the data from this catalogue, it aims to highlight the broad spectrum of decorations, and seeks to demonstrate how aspects of Roman, pan-Mediterranean, and North African imagery were re-formulated to create an iconography with local relevance through which complex layers of identity, beliefs, and symbolism were expressed. After setting the mausolea within their historical, geographical, and social contexts, this Ph.D. will provide an overview of their main architectural types and the principal iconographic themes displayed. Next, the sculptural decorations will be investigated through select case studies by focusing on their regional context together with the inscriptions and the architecture of the monument, along with the local socio-economic circumstances. Finally, this study will explore how the iconography helped to express the different layers of identity of the commissioner, and how other actors, such as the viewer and the craftsmen, may have influenced the range of imagery that was ultimately displayed. This way we can detect subtle differences in the iconography of the sculptural decorations, which otherwise may stay hidden. Instead of viewing this funerary sculpture as a failed attempt of Roman art, or merely a product of resistance against Rome, this study demonstrates that the iconography was very complex. By contextualising the mausolea within their local setting, it becomes clear that North African, Roman, and pan-Mediterranean imagery was reinterpreted to convey messages that were relevant within the regional setting of Tripolitania, reflecting local sociocultural concerns and identities.
Supervisor: Mattingly, David ; Edwards, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available