Roman Egypt: change amid continuity in the art and architecture of an Eastern Imperial Province
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The Roman province of Aegyptus has most often been considered from an administrative, governmental, or economic perspective while its art and architecture has usually been examined through a focus on individual elements, usually from a strictly Egyptological or Classical viewpoint. This dissertation fills a gap in the literature on Roman Egypt by creating a comprehensive survey of not only romanized artistic elements that enter but the continuation of indigenous imagery in the first centuries of Roman rule. Instead of seeing Egypt in an overly simplistic way as it was either like or unlike the Ptolemaic period or like or unlike the other eastern imperial provinces as in previous research, the material has been put forth to allow a more nuanced view. As has been done for other provinces, the surviving art and architecture from the period has been compiled and with the addition of literary and papyrological evidence to fill the gaps in the archaeological record, the province can now be viewed as a whole. The material finds and influences can be broken down into two main parts. The first was the influence and policies of the Roman state on the art and architecture that included coinage, imperial and pharaonic sculpture and reliefs, urbanization, city architecture, differences approaches toward cities and villages, and temple structures. This part of the examination pointed to an overall separation between artistic Graeco-Roman and Egyptian styles and forms. The second focus was the individual's response to the new environment as seen in religious forms (terra-cotta and bronze figurines) and funerary works (treatment of the body, tomb decoration, stelae imagery, and death assemblages). In these elements there is a greater amount of style and form mixing as well as the opportunity for individual choice. The art and architecture of Egypt exhibits both changes and continuities in the Roman period that connect it in many ways with other eastern provinces.
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