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


The project is dedicated to exploring how figurative representations on Roman funerary monuments facilitate communication between patrons and recipients, and the medial strategies employed for this purpose. The study will examine the narrative systems and gaze-guiding techniques used.

The research is based on funerary monuments dating from the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD from the province of Gallia Belgica. These monuments offer rich figurative content and diverse representational themes, making them ideal subjects for investigation. In addition to their detailed imagery, these monuments often convey a sense of motion, depicting themes such as trade networks and spatial connections.

One focus of the study is the use of framing elements to structure narratives. Scenes are often framed externally by architectural ornamentation or decorated pilasters, while internally, they may be framed by furniture, architectural features, or landscape elements. These frames serve various, sometimes contradictory, functions, both defining and expanding the viewer's perspective.

This project is linked to a DFG project initiated in 2016 at the Institute for Archaeological Sciences at J.W. Goethe University Frankfurt (Roman funerary monuments from Augusta Treverorum in supraregional comparison). The findings from this case study will be presented as a distinct section in the final project publication. Subsequently, the project aims to conduct a broader investigation into medial strategies employed in funerary art across different regions of the Roman Empire.

Contact: Dr. Michaela Stark