Grief in Roman art

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Grief in Roman art

Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Sat Apr 23, 2005 4:13 pm

Salvete omnes,

For the cover page of my thesis report, I am looking for an image of a Roman artwork that shows a person suffering from grief, or something similar. Does anyone here have a suggestion ?

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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Sun Apr 24, 2005 4:37 am

Maybe a depiction of Niobe or one of her children? One such image is available at http://www.norwichfreeacademy.com/slate ... ghter.html

Also see
http://www.beazley.ox.ac.uk/CGPrograms/ ... A100b.html
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sun Apr 24, 2005 9:14 am

Salve Attice

I think such a scene is depicted many times in art throughout the history of both Rome and Hellas. You just have to know where to look for it. If I find anything I will let you know. But do check the Perseus Digital library, they do have pictures and might be worth checking out if they don't have what you are looking for.
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An odd place

Postby Aldus Marius on Mon Apr 25, 2005 5:42 am

Avete omnes:

An odd place to look, and possibly not what you're after, but...I believe the military monuments like Trajan's Column and the Column of Marcus Aurelius do sometimes feature scenes of barbarian women and children yanking their hair, beating their chests and otherwise displaying anguish as their men are slain, or led off into captivity, and their villages burn.

Also, many coin reverses show a personification of a conquered Province slumped sadly underneath a local tree (IUDAEA CAPTA being the most famous).

These are certainly Roman art depicting grief; though it is not the grief of Romans, that diminishes its effect on me not one bit.

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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:50 am

Thank you all for the hints,

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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Tue Apr 26, 2005 3:49 am

Salve Attice

If you have a copy of Toynbee's Death and Burial in the Roman World there is one plate with a scene of eight people seated around the body of a young girl. They are seen with bowed heads in their hands as though weeping. The relief is listed in the Musee de Cluny, Paris.

Roman funerary art does not usually show mourning or grief as in the above relief. Sometimes though a funeral scene is shown with the professional mourners. One such scene is on a relief from the Tomb of the Haterii in the Lateran Collection. In that case the traditional gesture of mourning is with both hands placed on the chest. It is the same gesture described for a devotio when praying to the Manes. Perhaps you have seen such scenes and did not realize the gesture is a Roman depiction of mourning.

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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Tue Apr 26, 2005 4:05 am

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Postby Cleopatra Aelia on Sun May 29, 2005 2:49 pm

I just finished reading a book on the religion of Roman soldiers and there it had also the topic of the afterlife. Romans didn't believe in an afterlife like the Celts and Germanic people that's why they weren't buried with much things. Only the coin for the ferryman Charon and an oil lamp which should light the darkness. They believed in a joyless afterlife as bloodfree shadows in a dark Hades, therefore it wasn't necessary to give the deceased many things he used in this life.

Their grave stones are very stereotyped showing the deceased in his profession, e.g. an auxiliary soldier on horse back riding over his enemy, a centurion in full uniform and stating maybe his data, how old he got and how long he served and in which unit. One fine example is the grave stone for the Centurion Marcus Caelius who fell in the Varus battle. If you go to www.kalkriese-varusschlacht.de and use the German site (Deutsch) and then click onto "Varusschlacht" you will see a picture of this stone on the left side. Unfortunately this was not linked seperately and is not shown on the English page.

Another comon relief on grave stones is the banquet of the deceased where he lies on a clina being served by a servant.
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