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Monuments and Inscriptions in Republican Rome: Linguistic Framework for Interpreting Art and Text

LUCI, FABIO (2019) Monuments and Inscriptions in Republican Rome: Linguistic Framework for Interpreting Art and Text. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This dissertation focusses on the interaction between monuments and inscriptions in Republican Rome, by using a linguistic framework to demonstrate that a strong interconnection exists between them. The communicative power of Roman art was one of the most important way for ambitious men to self-present and to compete in the political arena in Rome, but only by combining the visual elements of their monuments with the language of inscriptions it was possible to make the most of its communicative power. In ancient Rome monuments had a significant role in all aspects of social and political life, but their visuality was only powerful inasmuch as its message could be understood by the audience. Inscriptions, in this sense, had an enormous role in guiding the viewers in understanding the significance of monuments’ messages. Inscriptions required the active participation of their audience in completing the meaning of the monuments and thus they were heavily used by dedicators to create specific strategies for their self-presentation. This dissertation develops a model that relies on linguistic semiotics to demonstrate how the mechanics of interaction between monuments and inscriptions, and between visual and textual compositions as a unique set and their audience work. Monuments and inscriptions are discussed as part of the same syntax, in which their visual and textual elements can be combined in a unique and consistent narrative. The series of observations that this model raises have a significant impact not only on the way ancient people approached inscribed monuments, but also on the way we understand and rethink them. It is argued that monuments now considered lost are only fragmentary, and their fragments are in fact their surviving inscriptions. Inscriptions as such participated in the stylistic and iconographic evolution that Roman self-presentative and celebrative art underwent from the Republic to the Principate.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Roman History, Roman Republic, Inscriptions, Monuments, Linguistics, Semiotics, Rome, Roman Art, Greek Art, Latin Epigraphy.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Classics and Ancient History, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:30 Apr 2019 13:16

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