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VIRTUAL - Dicing with Death: Games, Contests, and the World of Play on Roman Sarcophagi

November 12, 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm CST

This is an online event.

This lecture will be presented virtually on Zoom. All are welcome. To join the Zoom meeting, use the button below.

The public face of Roman art is painfully sober. In the privacy of their tombs however, free to cast off their stern public personae, Romans surrounded themselves with art of a different nature. Here, on the elaborately carved sarcophagi that dominated the Roman visual imagination of the second and third centuries, the imagery does something entirely different: it plays. Diminutive Pans wrestle with wee goat kids, Sirens face off against Muses in singing competitions, and Cupids role-play as charioteers, giddily racing their carts around the Circus Maximus. Scenes of games, contests, and play appear with astonishing frequency here—on the sides of coffins, in the face of death—as nowhere else in Roman art. What forms did this play take on Roman coffins? Why did Romans ground play so deeply in the domain of death? And what would happen with the coming of Christianity?

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November 12, 2020
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm CST
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Robert Simmons
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