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Unity and Individuality: Reflections on Images of Animals from South Syria in the Roman Imperial Period

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrates the importance of studying animal images in Roman South Syria as integral features of local architectural and sculptural design. The approach employed involves the identification of the features and functions of these images in the complex cultural area of South Syria in the late Hellenistic and the Roman Imperial periods in order to provide new insights into possible conditions and consequences of the contacts between local craftsmen or donors and the new circumstances after the integration of this area into the Roman world. Part of this analysis considers the significant local "language" of style, not only as a hint for chronological classifications but also as a bearer of cultural concepts and intentional messages. The final section concentrates on select animal-related images from Late Antiquity. An attempt is made to explain their evidence in the light of space, ritual and daily life at crossroads in the Levant.

Keywords: animal images; chronological classification; craftsmen; Roman South Syria



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