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Visual Copies And Memory

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Chapter Summary

While classicists have long been accustomed to the idea of variations between stories and manuscripts, classical art historians approach the problems of copies with an ingrained bias toward Greek art that makes them treat Roman copies, if they judge them aesthetically fine, as exact replicas of lost Greek originals. This chapter redresses that lack of balance. It deals with a consideration of what Greeks and Romans thought about copies. The most obvious extant example of Roman copies of a Greek original is that of the Erechtheion caryatids with replicas in the Forum of Augustus in Rome and at Hadrian's villa at Tivoli. In classical antiquity gist always trumped precision, because even in the rare cases where precision was possible no one could really check. Orality governs not just the world of texts but also of art.

Keywords: classical art historians approach; Erechtheion caryatids; Forum of Augustus; Greek art; Hadrian's villa; Roman copies; visual copies



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