Egypt and the Augustan Cultural Revolution
As part of the VIDI 'Cultural innovation in a globalising society: Egypt in the Roman world', this research explores manifestations of Egypt in the material culture of Augustan Rome. This period was a crucial turning point for the urban landscape of Rome, which was characterised by cultural diversity.
- Marike van Aerde
- 23 April 2015
- Access the publication online
An interpretative archaeological overview
This period was a crucial turning point for the urban landscape of Rome, which was characterised by cultural diversity. Previous studies focus primarily on Greek influences on the development of Augustan material culture, while Egypt remains neglected or simply categorised as exoticism or Egyptomania.
This research, in contrast, set out to investigate whether or not ‘Egypt’ constituted an integral part of Augustan material culture during this period. By comprising for the first time a comprehensive and interpretative overview of manifestations of Egypt in Augustan Rome –including public monuments, paintings, and architectural elements as well as pottery, gems, and jewellery from private contexts– a wide variety of case studies could be conducted, among which object reappraisals as well as new finds and contextual analyses were featured.
By focusing on the archaeological data, this study demonstrates that Egypt was not an exotic Outsider in Rome, but constituted a remarkably diverse part of Roman material culture and the Augustan urban landscape, and was integrally part of the inherently flexible Augustan material culture repertoire.