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date: 22 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Roman statues frequently survive today only in a headless, mutilated, or otherwise fragmentary state. This chapter aims to provide an overview of the different contexts that produced such a broken sculptural landscape and to review some of the apparent problems that are faced when attempts are made to interpret this material from both historical and archaeological perspectives. Recent years have witnessed a blossoming of interest in the study of Roman iconoclasm, a positive development that contributes to expanding scholarly engagement with the broader cultural biographies and the entire life histories of statuary, rather than exclusively on the primary contexts for which pieces were produced. It is argued here that the exploration of iconoclasm constitutes an important component in the social history of Roman sculpture.

Keywords: iconoclasm, damnatio memoriae, memory, forgetting, destruction, mutilation, transformation, religious conflict

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