Michael Koortbojian: Myth, Meaning, and Memory on Roman Sarcophagi

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Myth, Meaning, and Memory on Roman Sarcophagi

University of California Press, 1995

Michael Koortbojian brings a novel approach to his study of the role of Greek mythology in Roman funerary art. He looks at two myths—Aphrodite and Adonis and Selene and Endymion—not only with respect to their appearance on Roman sarcophagi, but also with regard to the myths' significance in the greater fabric of Roman life. Moving beyond the examination of these sarcophagi as artistic achievements, he sets them in their broader historical and social contexts. Remembrance was an important factor in ancient social life and fueled the need for memorials. In helping us to understand the powerful allusions that Greek myths presented for the Romans, and the role of those allusions in preserving the memory of the dead, Koortbojian effectively widens our vision of the ancient world.

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