Dionysian triumph sarcophagi

Leveritt, William A.G. (2016) Dionysian triumph sarcophagi. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis explores the meanings of those Roman sarcophagi which show the Indian triumph of Dionysus. This group, found from approximately the early Antonine to just after the Severan period, shows the same mythological characters in similar positions and surroundings. They --- together with other groups --- tend to be approached from a methodology which either explicitly anticipates homogeneity of meaning or tacitly implies it through the transferral of interpretations from one piece to another. This study attempts to reconsider such actions by exposing the different effects that individual sarcophagi draw.

As a group, these sarcophagi cover a period of significant change in the funerary realm. Since the group straddles important divisions between public imagery and private expression, we can more readily anticipate the latter through knowledge of the former. While studies of the triumph as ritual have begun to recognise it as a rite in flux, to be understood in its various instantiations rather than as a trans-historical event, such an analytical shift has not been applied to sarcophagi.

In explicitly moving away from the assumption that we can assert genre-level meanings, this thesis undertakes an assessment sensitised to the possibility of case-by-case variation in meaning. This approach is also recommended by the intensely personal nature of the function of the sarcophagi: as the final resting places of lost loved-ones.

First, a survey of prior approaches is made. Next, the group is rigorously defined with a methodology designed not with an intent to imply ancient applicability, but rather to be explicit about the generation of a working set. Subsequently, the sarcophagi are decomposed into their constituent elements and analysed, before in the next chapter being reconstituted and their effect in collusion analysed. Finally, the group is studied as a whole and the reasons behind its development, modifications and decline explored.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Lorenz, Katharina
Kropp, Andreas
Keywords: Sarcophagi, Roman, Roman Art, Sarcophagus, Dionysus, Bacchus, Dionysian
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NB Sculpture
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 33668
Depositing User: Leveritt, William
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2016 12:46
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2018 16:52
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/33668

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