Ancestor Masks and Aristocratic Power in Roman Culture

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9780199240241: Ancestor Masks and Aristocratic Power in Roman Culture

Flower explains why the Roman elite commemorated politically prominent family members with wax masks worn by actors at the funerals of the deceased. She looks at literary sources, legal texts, epigraphy, archaeology, numismatics, and art, tracing the functional evolution of ancestor masks, from the third century BC to the sixth century AD. By putting these masks into their legal, social, and political context, Flower elucidates their central position in the media of the time and their special meaning as symbols of power and prestige.

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In the first comprehensive study of Roman ancestor masks in English, Harriet Flower explains the reasons behind the use of wax masks in the commemoration of politically prominent family members by the elite society of Rome. Flower traces the functional evolution of ancestor masks, from their first attested appearance in the third century BC to their last mention in the sixth century AD, through the examination of literary sources in both prose and verse, legal texts, epigraphy, archaeology, numismatics, and art. It is by putting these masks, which were worn by actors at the funerals of the deceased, into their legal, social, and political context that Flower is able to elucidate their central position in the media of the time and their special meaning as symbols of power and prestige.

About the Author:

Harriet I. Flower is at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

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Book Description Book Condition: New. Oxford University Press, 1999. 434p. Paperback. timely contribution to ancient cultural history . in thoroughly reconsidering an important element of Roman culture, this book reaffirms its profoundly political nature. Jane D. Chaplin, The Classical Review (Publisher's information). Condition: New Print on Demand. Printed on Demand. Bookseller Inventory # 36913

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