Editorial Advisory Board’s ‘Recommended Read’ – March 2019

As we march into March, take a reconnoitre of Reflections of Roman Imperialismsan invaluable hoard of essays which examine and interact with Roman identity and imperialism, chosen by our Editorial Advisory Board member, Dr Julia C. Fischer, as her recommended read for this month.

Julia is an art historian who specializes in Roman imperial cameos, relief sculpture, and iconography. Her research focuses on iconography, reception, and propaganda of Roman imperial cameos along with issues of art crime, looting, and cultural heritage. In 2016, Julia was named Lamar University’s Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, one of the highest honours that can be bestowed upon an Lamar University faculty member and one that is reserved for outstanding teachers and scholars.

We are offering all of our readers a 50% discount on Julia’s choice. To redeem your discount, please enter the promotional code EABMAR2019 during checkout. Please note that this is a time-limited offer that will expire on the 5th April 2019.

Dr Julia C. Fischer’s ‘Recommended Read’:

Reflections of Roman Imperialisms

Editors: Marko A. Janković and Vladimir D. Mihajlović

The papers collected in this volume provide invaluable insights into the results of different interactions between “Romans” and Others. Articles dealing with cultural changes within and outside the borders of Roman Empire highlight the idea that those very changes had different results and outcomes depending on various social, political, economic, geographical and chronological factors.

“Published in 2018, Reflections of Roman Imperialisms is a compendium of the latest research presented at the biannual conference, “Imperialism and Identities at the Edges of the Roman World” (IIERW). The book, like the conference, focuses on issues of Roman Imperial authority and ideology as seen and reflected within the art of the Roman provinces. Taking advantage of current research trends, like examining identity and social change and using a contextual approach, Reflections of Roman Imperialisms adds to the dynamic scholarship on the art of the Roman provinces.

Edited by Marko A. Janković and Vladimir D. Mihajlović, Reflections of Roman Imperialisms is organized into fifteen chapters; each is written by a leading art historian or archaeologist in the field. The book is varied in geography, methodology, and media. First, the provinces examined within Reflections range from Roman Britain and Ireland to the ancient Near East and interactions with China. As for methodologies, some scholars focus on a group of objects, like Jason Lundock’s chapter on the copper alloy vessels in Roman Britain, while others are more general, like Marko A. Janković’s chapter on Roman imperialism and the construction of Dardanian collectivity. All scholars, though, utilize a contextual approach, placing the objects that they study within its historical, social, and geographical contexts. Finally, a range of media are studied within these chapters, though the minor arts are especially represented. As a specialist in Roman Imperial cameos and minor arts, this pleases me as often the minor arts are neglected. While Reflections of Roman Imperialisms has some chapters that focus on sculpture, most of the scholars investigate a the minor arts, like metalwork, pottery, and games. Furthermore, epigraphy and literature are explored in two chapters, expanding the scope of the research into inscriptions and prose.

Because of my background in the minor arts and Roman Imperial cameos, I was intrigued when the editors discussed the sculpture that graces the cover and how this artwork relates to the theme of the book. The Gema Augustea, not to be confused with the Gemma Augustea cameo, is a sculpture that was found in modern day Serbia but was most likely a product of a provincial workshop. The marble sculpture has a strong connection to the Imperial cameo as it is a copy of the upper register of the sardonyx gemstone, though its style is unmistakably of the Roman provinces. Made in the third century CE, two centuries after the cameo, the Gema Augustea brings up many questions that relate to the theme of this book, including issues of style, copying, meaning and how the sculpture ultimately imparts an imperialistic message within the provinces. Subsequent chapters explore these types of themes, all at an attempt to learn more about how Roman imperialism was reflected in the Roman provinces. And this word, reflection, is a deliberate choice by the editors because art in the Roman provinces was not a mirror or exact copy of what was being produced in Rome. Rather, in the far-flung territories of the Roman Empire, art became a reflection of Rome, with changes and adaptations made to suit that province.

Ultimately, Reflections of Roman Imperialisms is on-trend with its exploration of identity and adaptation in the art of the Roman provinces. Scholars of classical antiquity, especially Roman archaeologists focused on the provinces, will want to have this invaluable resource at their disposal and will want to participate in upcoming IIERW conferences.”

Dr Julia C. Fischer

For further information on Dr Fischer, please click here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s