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Title: Shades of identity : an iconographic approach to the early Christian burial chambers in Sopianae (Pannonia)
Author: Csigi, Péter János
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 2568
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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There are several burial chambers in the Late Antique cemetery of the Roman town of Sopianae in Pannonia province (modern Hungary) decorated with wall paintings resembling Roman catacomb art. These underground chambers from the second half of the fourth century contain both specifically Christian images as well as gen-eral motifs in Roman funerary art. Via the iconographic analysis of the decorations in the SS Peter and Paul Burial Chamber and the Burial Chamber with the Jar, the identity of the commissioners can be assumed. The various iconographic elements and the compositions as a whole were used in the different levels of contempora-neous communication, which will be interpreted through the concept of ‘language games’ according to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s epistemology. Six hypotheses explaining the repertoire of biblical scenes in early Christian artefacts are investigated and evaluated. The question of the presence of martyr relics (especially that of the Sancti Quattro Coronati) in this cemetery is considered and relevant hypotheses evaluated. The iconographic parallels of the key motifs in the SS Peter and Paul Bur-ial Chamber, such as the Christogram and the images of Peter and Paul, are pre-sented and compared to examples in art from Rome and the Balkans and inter-preted as showing ‘family resemblances’ also in the Wittgensteinian sense. The identification of an ambiguous wall painting in the same chamber is attempted by proposing a hypothesis of an intentionally ambiguous image combining the Three Youths in the Fiery Furnace and the Adoration of the Magi in a single picture. The religious identification of the Burial Chamber with the Jar is studied by questioning the validity of the concept of ‘neutrality’ in Late Antique art. Late Antiquity is inter-preted in the framework of mutually enriching interactions between different reli-gious groups via the notion of ‘lived religion’.
Supervisor: Quash, Jonathan Ben ; Vinzent, Markus Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available