David's Reviews > The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus

The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus by Paul Zanker
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's review
Apr 11, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: ancient-world-nonfiction, nonfiction, read-2014, history
Read from November 02, 2013 to September 20, 2014

Zanker pulls together so many different Roman media and makes sense of them in the light of the monumental shift that Augustus brought to the Mediterranean world. Images, symbols, and designs that may seem random or meaningless suddenly have significance, communicating a message of peace, stability, and prosperity ushered in by the princeps. Zanker starts with the competition for self-aggrandizement in the Old Republic, shows how Octavian participated in this himself in his rivalry against Marc Antony, and then traces the gradual change toward an attitude of pietas (devotion) and virtus (courage).

I loved the images chosen. Many were very familiar--the Ara Pacis reliefs, the Prima Porta statue, the veiled Augustus; but many were not, and some were obscure, which was fun for me. I especially enjoyed the comments on wall paintings. The only complaint I had was that none of the images are in color, which is understandable due to publishing costs, and the absence of any dimensions for the individual works.

Incredible book, though. I hope to you read Zanker's other books on Pompeii and Roman Art.

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Reading Progress

11/02/2013 marked as: currently-reading
11/23/2013 marked as: to-read
07/31/2014 marked as: currently-reading
09/21/2014 marked as: read

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