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The Roman House and Social Identity

The Roman House and Social Identity

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Shelley Hales
Cambridge University Press, 13/08/2009
EAN 9780521735094, ISBN10: 0521735092

Paperback, 308 pages, 25.3 x 17.7 x 1.7 cm

Examines a diverse range of house types in an effort to understand how people imagined and articulated their place in the Roman world, from Britain to Syria. Shelly Hales considers the nature and role of domestic decoration and its role in promoting social identities. From the Egyptian themes of imperial residences in Italy, to the viticultural designs found in the rock-cut homes in Petra, this decoration consistently appeals to fantasies beyond the immediate realities of their inhabitants. Hales contends that fantasy served a key role in allowing individuals and communities to meet expectations and indulge aspirations, to confirm and to compete within the diverse empire. Employing a wide range of approaches to the study of the house and acculturation in the Roman Empire, her book serves as the first synthesis of Roman domestic architecture and offers new insights into the complexities and contradictions of being Roman.

'The author ... explores the way in which many such paintings were fantastical manipulations of nature, and were not so much pale imitations of reality, but actually surpassed reality.' JACT