A Matter of Life and Death : "Reading" a Funerary Relief
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"Funerary monuments from the eastern Roman Empire are both numerous and varied. The Museum of Art and Archaeology at the university of Missouri has a particularly interesting one -- a relief that commemorates a woman named Levitha, who lived in the later part of the first century C.E. The Missouri monument raises many questions: What is its provenance? What does the inscription tell us about the woman depicted? Why is it in Greek instead of Aramaic, the most commonly spoken language of the region, which is usually seen on relief sculpture of this type? Was Levitha roman? or Syrian? or did she belong to one of the other cultures (Greek, Palmyrene, Parthian, and so on) that are represented in the interconnections of this period in the near East? Finally, can we ascertain who the artist was?"--Introduction.
Originally published in: Muse, 2009, volume 43, pages 31-45
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