EWALD, B.C. and C.F. NOREÑa, (eds.),
The Emperor and Rome. Space, Representation, and Ritual.
Cambridge University Press, 2015. First paperback ed. XXI,365p. Paperback. Series: Yale Classical Studies, 35. 'The themes of this book are well chosen for exploring the complex and changing relationship of the Roman Emperor with the Imperial city. The themes of course overlap: ritual and representation both have a spatial dimension, and buildings through which urban space was transformed were often decorated with representational sculpture and intended to accommodate public rituals. In tune with recent developments in ancient history and archaeology, the themes invite approaches that cross the barriers between these disciplines and combine literary, epigraphic and archaeological evidence. Interdisciplinarity indeed characterises many of the papers here, which cast important new light on the realities of imperial power and the ancient urban experience. The focus is on the period from the reign of Augustus to that of Constantine. The majority of the articles began as papers presented at a conference at Yale University in 2005. The exceptions are Paul Zanker’s contribution, which is a translation of an article previously published in German with a revised and updated bibliography, and the article by Klaus Fittschen, who did not participate in the conference but was invited by the editors to contribute to the publication. The list of authors gathered here is a roll call of eminent scholars in Roman history and archaeology. The standard of scholarship throughout is as high as would be expected and the papers all connect well with the themes and provide much food for thought. The introductory chapter by the editors is a tour de force. It makes a strong case for the importance of the lines of enquiry pursued here and provides a sophisticated and up-to-date survey of scholarship in these areas, with extensive references. It also lucidly charts the theoretical terrain that has informed this research. More than simply an introduction to this book, it is a useful introduction to the current state of scholarship on Roman urbanism, art, ritual and imperial power. These issues have broader relevance for students of other parts of the Roman Empire and other periods of ancient history and the chapter, as such, deserves to be widely read. (...) The last two articles are the closest in subject matter of any in the volume and are among the highlights of this book. Both have to do with the significance of imperial funerals. Here we move away from the (semi) permanent impact of buildings and statues in shaping space and representing power and into the ephemeral world of pyres (Eve D’Ambra) and effigies (Javier Arce). Such temporary structures and monuments are shown to have had a powerful effect in shaping the experience of the crowds who gathered at Imperial funerals. The one-off use of pyres and effigies in these highly charged public ritual events is persuasively argued to have played an important role in cementing and reproducing cultural values and imperial power. Ephemeral architecture and monuments, as argued in these chapters and in the introduction, are a promising area for further research.' (CHRISTOPHER DICKENSON in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2012.05.41).