A Globalised Visual Culture?: Towards a Geography of Late Antique Art [Hardback]

Fabio Guidetti(Editor); Katharina Meinecke(Editor)

ISBN: 9781789254464 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2020 | 416p, H9.4 x W6.7, color illustrations
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A Globalised Visual Culture?


Late Antique artifacts, and the images they carry, attest to a highly connected visual culture from ca. 300 to 800 C.E. On the one hand, the same decorative motifs and iconographies are found across various genres of visual and material culture, irrespective of social and economic differences among their users – for instance in mosaics, architectural decoration, and luxury arts (silver plate, textiles, ivories), as well as in everyday objects such as tableware, lamps, and pilgrim vessels. On the other hand, they are also spread in geographically distant regions, mingled with local elements, far beyond the traditional borders of the classical world. At the same time, foreign motifs, especially of Germanic and Sasanian origin, are attested in Roman territories. This volume aims at investigating the reasons behind this seemingly globalized visual culture spread across the Late Antique world, both within the borders of the (former) Roman and (later) Byzantine Empire and beyond, bringing together diverse approaches characteristic of different national and disciplinary traditions. The presentation of a wide range of relevant case studies chosen from different geographical and cultural contexts exemplifies the vast scale of the phenomenon and demonstrates the benefit of addressing such a complex historical question with a combination of different theoretical approaches.

Table of Contents


Fabio Guidetti (Università di Pisa), Katharina Meinecke (Universität Wien): History of previous scholarship and theoretical introduction.

1. Dynamics of provincial visual cultures in the late Roman empire

Rubén Montoya González (University of Leicester): 'Patrons, viewers and villa mosaics in the 4th century middle Ebro valley (Hispania Citerior)'.

Amy Wale (University of Leicester): 'Clothing Differentiation in a shared visual culture: Dress imagery in provincial mosaic iconography'.

Jelena Andjelkovic Grasar, Dragana Rogić and Emilija Nikolić (Universitet u Beogradu): 'Act locally, think globally: Funerary painting from the territory of the central Balkans'.

Nicola Barbagli (Scuola Normale Superiore): 'The emperors in the province: The tetrarchic images from the imperial cult chamber in Luxor’.

Myriam Pilutti Namer (Scuola Normale Superiore): 'North-Adriatic Romanitas: Venetia et Histria, the eastern Mediterranean and Venice'.

2. Iconography- or genre-related case studies

Renate Rosenthal-Heginbottom (independent scholar): 'Images of the “rider on horseback” in the southern Levant during the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Periods'.

Lindsay Morehouse (Universiteit van Amsterdam): 'The “child with grapes” from Britain to Bahrain: Shared iconography, meaning, and mobility on funerary monuments, 100-500 CE'.

Fabio Guidetti (Università di Pisa): ‘Towards a definition of local styles in late antique ivories’.

3. Connections with Roman visual culture in extra-Roman and post-Roman contexts

Carlo Ferrari (Università di Firenze): 'Central Asiatic influences and the making of post-Roman Gaul'.

Rachel Wood (British Museum & University of Oxford): 'Sasanian sacred iconography in a late antique visual koiné'.

Sarah Japp (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut): 'South Arabia in late antiquity: A melting pot of artistic ideas'.

Esra Akin-Kivanç (University of South Florida): 'Arabic calligraphy and its late antique connections'.

Michelina Di Cesare (Sapienza Università di Roma): 'The mosaic pavement beneath the floor of al-Aqṣā mosque'.

4. Modes of transfer (iconographies, motifs, objects)

Katharina Meinecke (Universität Wien): 'Circulating images: Late antiquity's cross-cultural visual koiné'.

Monica Hellström (Durham University): ‘Saints and souvenirs: Roman gold-glasses as a Christian iconography of life events’.

Michelle Beghelli (Römische Zentralmuseum Mainz), Giulia Marsili (Università di Bologna), ‘The economics of stone between late antiquity and the early middle ages: materials and craftsmen on the move’.

Guo Yunyan (Hebei University): ‘Byzantine coins or bracteates found in China'.

Johannes Preiser-Kapeller (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften): ‘Trading networks in late antique Afro-Eurasia: The case of the Sogdians’.

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