What do we imagine the city of Rome to have been like in the 8th century AD? With the supremacy of Constantinople as the political and administrative centre of the empire, the Rome of this period – its buildings falling into disrepair and bedevilled by threats from the north – is popularly considered to be something of a vacuum, a place whose nature is difficult to assess due to the absence of documentary evidence.
In this new book, John Osborne seeks to develop a more rounded and informed view of this underexamined period in the life of the city, using visual culture as documentation. Osborne considers different types of buildings and their decorative schemes in order to interrogate the nature of Rome during the 8th century and to establish if the city had become a cultural and political backwater or, conversely, whether it was beginning to establish a completely different identity.
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ROMAN DISCOVERIES AT ANCIENT AUGUSTODUNUM
More than 230 graves have been uncovered at a necropolis in the French city of Autun, revealing a diverse mix in burial practices over a period of nearly 200 years, as well as luxury grave goods from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD that highlight the wealth of some of its ancient inhabitants.
SHAPING THE WORLD: SCULPTURE FROM PREHISTORY TO NOW
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Amelia Edwards (1831-1892)
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THE GREAT BEYOND
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INTO THE VALLEY OF THE QUEENS
The Great Royal Wife of Ramesses II, Nefertari, was buried in one of the most spectacular tombs of Egypt’s Valley of the Queens. Well-educated and well-travelled, Nefertari played a crucial part in the political life of the pharaoh, and her importance was reflected through her magnificently decorated tomb. Lucia Marchini speaks to Jennifer Casler Price to find out more.
DEIR EL-BAHRI, 1894
Tensions were already high among the archaeologists, surveyors, and artists of the Archaeological Survey of Egypt in 1891 when an eventful dispute arose on Christmas Eve.
When the Etruscans expanded to the south and the vast plains of Campania, they found a land of cultural connections and confrontations, as luxurious grave goods found across the region reveal. An exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples sheds light on these ancient Italians at the frontier. Paolo Giulierini, director of the museum, is our guide.
CUZCO 'CENTRE AND HEAD OF ALL THE LAND'
Cuzco was the heart of the vast Inca empire, but all changed in the 16th century when the capital was conquered by Spanish invaders. Michael J Schreffler investigates the Inca city, and how it went from the centre of one empire to the periphery of another.
A STUDY IN PURPLE
A tiny speck of purple paint from the 2nd century AD may yield clues to how ancient artists created the extraordinary portrait panels that accompanied mummified bodies into the afterlife.
Rome In The 8th Century: A History In Art
John Osborne CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, £75 HARDBACK - ISBN 978-1108834582
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New excavations have revealed the wealth and prestige of an ancient center of learning
Speaking Fluent Fatherlish
Dads have a language all their own, one that’s not difficult to decipher
Stealthily Wielding Caesar's Sword
Sohrab Ahmari’s case for tradition conceals an authoritarian agenda.
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The Swiss kept missing until a throwback performance in the Eternal City
NO, REALLY, ARE WE ROME?
The sack of the Capitol was thwarted. But history suggests that corrosive change can be hard to see while it’s happening.
Fresh Pasta, Frozen Feet
Braving the elements for a taste of Rome off the Bowery.
EMPIRE OF SIN
A new boss is in town to take over the forgotten gangster sim genre
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From Italy to New York
2 flights and 5 angels got me home