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Oblivion And Reinvention

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Chapter Summary

Reuse of sculpture was common in Roman times, so common in fact that attempts at systematising all the surviving examples are tasks of Sisyphean proportions. In the 1st and 2 nd centuries CE, the recarving of portraits was undertaken mainly in connection with the destruction of images of emperors subject to memory sanctions. In the 3 rd century CE, the situation changed. The extant material suggests that the practice of moving sculptures into a new context to illustrate power strategies, traditionally associated with Constantine, began in the middle of the 3rd century CE. The number of recarved private portraits also increased during the 3 rd century CE. Despite the complexity of the phenomenon of late-antique reuse, practical aspects were always present and indirectly responsible for various forms of reuse in both public and private venues.

Keywords: private portraits; sculpture



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