Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The goal of this study was to examine the fresco decoration from tombs in the area of the Roman Near East and Asia Minor in relation to the material found in the domestic sphere to reveal any iconographical relations between the two spheres. An examination of both spheres revealed a considerable connection. While fresco decoration in tombs was chosen to be appropriate for its surroundings, it is clear that most of the motifs were shared with the domestic sphere.
The first pattern to emerge from the painted tombs in the Near East and Asia Minor was the commemoration of the deceased in way of portraits and scenes recalling favourite pastimes. The use of painted portraits in tombs were used in much the same way as wax masks and shield-portraits placed in the atria of affluent homes were used, to commemorate and essentially create an important ancestor to be honoured by the family. Allusions to banqueting in the form of servants and scattered flowers, and other luxuries of life including gardens were also popular motifs in the tombs. In addition to recalling activities and settings from an affluent household, these two motifs also appear as decoration on home walls. Finally, mythological scenes used in the tombs were usually picked for their chthonic associations and rarely appeared in homes. The use of chthonic myths in the tombs was appropriate with their messages of victory over death and the inevitably of fate. Likewise, tales of bodily desecration portrayed the punishments inflicted on those who unjustly treated a family member.
Hembrey, Jessica, "Domus Aeterna and Decor: Funerary Fresco in the Roman Near East and Asia Minor" (2008). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5321.
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