Egypt in Italy: Visions of Egypt in Roman Imperial Culture
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This book examines the appetite for Egyptian and Egyptian-looking artwork in Italy during the century following Rome's annexation of Aegyptus as a province. In the early imperial period, Roman interest in Egyptian culture was widespread, as evidenced by works ranging from the monumental obelisks, brought to the capital over the Mediterranean Sea by the emperors, to locally made emulations of Egyptian artifacts found in private homes and in temples to Egyptian gods. Although the foreign appearance of these artworks was central to their appeal, this book situates them within their social, political, and artistic contexts in Roman Italy. Swetnam-Burland focuses on what these works meant to their owners and their viewers in their new settings, by exploring evidence for the artists who produced them and by examining their relationship to the contemporary literature that informed Roman perceptions of Egyptian history, customs, and myths.
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real connections between communities of people living vast distances apart, so far that the producers and consumers were necessarily unknown and unknowable to each other except in the most general way. All of these kinds of cultural contact – whether trade-based or conquest- driven – created curiosity. Those who visited and subsequently wrote about Egypt invariably left behind documents filtered through the lens of personal and cultural experience, testifying to as many “Egypts” as there