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Title: Carmen heroum : Greek epic in Roman friezes
Author: Pollard, Alison
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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Roman wallpainting has been the subject of innumerable studies from the eighteenth century to the present day, but the epic-themed friezes of Late Republican and Early Imperial Italy have been comparatively neglected throughout this history of scholarship. This thesis therefore seeks to examine the three painted and stucco Iliad friezes from Pompeii, all found on the Via dell'Abbondanza, and the Odyssey frescoes from a house on the Esquiline in Rome, as four examples of a type which had a long history in the Graeco-Roman world, even if their survival in the archaeological record is scant. The primary aim of the study is to understand each frieze in the knowledge of how they might have been regarded in antiquity, as elucidated in Pausanias' commentaries on Polygnotus' Iliupersis and Nekyia frescoes in Delphi, and to understand their extra-textual insertions and spelling discrepancies not as artistic errors but as reflections of the geographical and chronological contexts in which the friezes were displayed. Through detailed study of their iconography and epigraphy, alongside contemporary writers' discussion of the epic genre and its specific concerns for a Roman audience, this study aims to show that the most fruitful course of enquiry pertaining to the friezes lies not in an argument about whether they are entirely faithful to the Homeric epics or depart from them in puzzling ways, but in the observation that reliance on the text and free play on it go hand in hand as part of the epic reception-culture within which these paintings belong.
Supervisor: Stewart, Peter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Classical antiquities ; Roman wallpainting ; Roman art ; Iliad ; Odyssey ; Roman ; Gladiators ; Wallpainting ; Fresco ; Epic