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The Mosaics of Zeugma on the Euphrates: Visual Culture on the Roman Frontier

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The Near Eastern Archeology Foundation Public Lecture Series

Tuesday 20 July 2010: 6.30 - 8.30 pm
Menzies Room, Women’s College, University of Sydney

The Mosaics of ZeugmaIn the summer of 2000, as the city of Zeugma was about to be partially submerged under the waters of the new Turkish dam across the upper Euphrates, archaeologists from various nations worked hard to reveal all that they could about the areas of the city that were fated to disappear. The most spectacular of the finds, and certainly those which attracted the greatest media attention, were the magnificent mosaics which adorned the houses of the city’s elite, mosaics often of very high quality, and decorated with a wide range of figured scenes. This talk aims to look at those mosaics in their context, to replace them where possible in their original architectural settings, and to use them as evidence for the wider culture of the individuals who commissioned, made, and looked at them. Zeugma was a frontier city, Greek in origin, but undoubtedly of very mixed population; yet the mosaics reveal a cultural atmosphere that seems remarkably homogeneous, clearly deliberately cultivated by their proprietors as an assertion of identity.

Katherine M.D. Dunbabin is Professor Emerita, Department of Classics, McMaster University. Publications include The Mosaics of Roman North Africa, Oxford: OUP, 1978; Mosaics of the Greek and Roman World, Cambridge: CUP, 1999; The Roman Banquet: Images of Conviviality, Cambridge: CUP, 2003; and numerous articles on Graeco-Roman mosaics, dining practices, and iconography, many of them published in the Journal of Roman Archaeology. She has given the Jackson lectures at Harvard in 1998. and the Townsend lectures at Cornell in 2005, was a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford in 2001, and has held a Killam Research Fellowship from the Canada Council for the Arts in 2004-6. She is currently engaged on a book on the representation of theatre and spectacle in Roman art.

NEAF/FNM Members: $20.00
Student Members of NEAF: $5.00
Non members: $25.00

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