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.


Meet our Authors: Elizabeth McNamer – February 2018

Dr Elizabeth McNamer is Assistant Professor and holder of the Zarek Chair of Religious Thought at Rocky Mountain College, USA. She serves on the Board of the Bethsaida Excavation Project, and has authored the book The First Century of Christianity in Jerusalem as well as several articles on archaeology and scripture.

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Book Announcement: Palaeoart of the Ice Age

Palaeoart of the Ice Age now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Hardback, pp260, £61.99 / $104.95

Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of Palaeoart of the Ice Age by Robert G. Bednarik.

The many hundreds of books and thousands of academic papers on the topic of Pleistocene (Ice Age) art are limited in their approach because they deal only with the early art of southwestern Europe. This is the first book to offer a comprehensive synthesis of the known Pleistocene palaeoart of six continents, a phenomenon that is in fact more numerous and older in other continents. It contemplates the origins of art in a balanced manner, based on reality rather than fantasies about cultural primacy. Its key findings challenge most previous perceptions in this field and literally re-write the discipline. Despite the eclectic format and its high academic standards, the book addresses the non-specialist as well as the specialist reader. It presents a panorama of the rich history of palaeoart, stretching back more than twenty times as long in time as the cave art of France and Spain. This abundance of evidence is harnessed in presenting a new hypothesis of how early humans began to form and express constructs of reality and thus created the ideational world in which they existed. It explains how art-producing behaviour began and the origins of how humans relate to the world consciously. Continue reading

Book Announcement: The Exploitation of Raw Materials in Prehistory: Sourcing, Processing and Distribution

The Exploitation of Raw Materials in Prehistory: Sourcing, Processing and Distribution now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Hardback, pp656, £80.99 / $138.95

Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of The Exploitation of Raw Materials in Prehistory: Sourcing, Processing and Distribution, edited by Telmo Pereira, Xavier Terradas and Nuno Bicho.

This collection presents state-of-the-art approaches to the use of inorganic raw materials in the period known as prehistory. It focuses on stone-tools, adornments, colorants and pottery from Europe, America and Africa. The chapters intimately merge archaeology, anthropology, geology, geography, physics and chemistry to reconstruct past human behaviour, economy, technology, ecology, cognition, territory and social complexity. The book represents a framework of raw material investigation for those working in science, regardless of the time period, region of the world or materials they are studying. Continue reading

Book Announcement: Symbols and Models in the Mediterranean: Perceiving through Cultures

Symbols and Models in the Mediterranean: Perceiving through Cultures now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Hardback, pp295, £61.99 / $104.95

Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of Symbols and Models in the Mediterranean: Perceiving through Cultures, edited by Aneilya Barnes and Mariarosaria Salerno.

This collection spans a vast chronology and territory, ranging from Old Kingdom Egypt to modern-day Slovenia and moving geographically from the centres to the peripheries of the Mediterranean and back again, including Antinoë, Calabria, Belgrade, and Paris. While this volume can be situated well within the context of Mediterranean studies, each essay serves as a micro-study that demonstrates one of the many ways in which Mediterranean communities have co-opted, appropriated, and adapted symbols from one another. As a result, this interdisciplinary volume adds something unique to each discipline represented within it (including history, anthropology, art history, literature, and philosophy, among others) while contributing to the greater discourse of Mediterranean studies. Furthermore, the essays collectively illustrate how symbols were distributed widely among Mediterranean communities and, consequently, further a dialogue about what “Mediterranean” might mean. Overall, the original content and its accessibility make the volume valuable to academics, graduate and undergraduate students, and general audiences alike. Continue reading

Book Announcement: Varian Studies Volume Three: A Varian Symposium

Varian Studies Volume Three: A Varian Symposium now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Hardback, pp440, £67.99 / $114.95

Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of Varian Studies Volume Three: A Varian Symposium, edited by Leonardo de Arrizabalaga y Prado.

Heliogabalus and Elagabalus are names given since late antiquity to the mythical or legendary avatar of Varius Avitus Bassianus. Varius was Roman emperor AD 218–222, ruling as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. He was simultaneously High Priest of the Syrian sun god Elagabal. Heliogabalus and Elagabalus, names derived from Elagabal, are often used as misnomers for Varius himself, but more properly designate his avatar, who is far better known than Varius. The Varian avatar, under these and other names, survives and thrives in historiography, as well as in more avowedly creative literature, music, dance, the visual arts, and popular culture. Continue reading