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date: 18 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter deals with the production and the use of sculpture during the period of late antiquity, that is from the middle of the third to the late sixth centuries AD. It concentrates on sculpture in the round and especially on imperial portraits, honorific statues of the elite, and mythological sculpture. Instead of a traditional approach that aims at dating individual pieces of sculpture by using stylistic criteria, a more comprehensive model is proposed here that tries to contextualize late antique sculpture by reconstructing its original setting both in spatial terms and within contemporary society. Due to the specific workshop conditions in late antiquity, the chapter considers not only freshly carved sculpture, but also the different ways people dealt with the numerous pieces of sculpture they had inherited from earlier times.

Keywords: late antiquity (AD 300–600), imperial portraits, honorific statues, mythological sculpture, reuse of earlier sculpture, problems of (stylistic) dating, Christianity

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