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The Mediality of Figurative Scenes on the Funerary Monuments of Gallia Belgica

The project is dedicated to the question of whether and with the help of which medial strategies the figurative representations on Roman funerary monuments initiate communication between clients and recipients. The narrative system and the strategies of guiding the gaze will be examined.

The starting point of the study are the funerary monuments of the 2nd and 3rd century AD from the province of Gallia Belgica, which are particularly well suited for such a study due to their richness of figures and variety of representational themes. In addition to the striking richness of detail, the images are often characterised by the impression of constant movement. The themes of (trade)networks and the crossing of spaces or the bridging of spatial distances play a prominent role. Another narrative strategy that the study focuses on is the diverse use and function of framing elements for the narrative systematics: the scenes are framed on the outside by building ornamentation or figuratively and vegetatively decorated pilasters. The scenes themselves are framed in different ways by furniture, architectural elements or landscape elements. These frames fulfil different, sometimes contradictory functions. They divide and limit the space just as much as they expand and open it for the viewer's gaze, as the figures break through these boundaries in different ways.

This first part of the project is connected to the DFG project started in 2016 at the Institute for Archaeological Sciences at J.W. Goethe University Frankfurt: Roman funerary monuments from Augusta Treverorum in supraregional comparison.

The results of the case study will be presented as a separate part of the final publication of the project. In a second step,  an extended investigation of medial strategies in funerary art in other parts of the Roman Empire will be sought.

Payment scene of the so-called circus monument from Neumagen

(© GDK/Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier, Photo: M. Stark)



Contact Person: Dr. Michaela Stark