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The Iliad on the Table: Visualising Epic on the Tabulae Iliacae

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Johanna Hanink.

What is the relationship between epic as poetry and epic as picture? Can epic texts ever be turned into images? And how, if so, can viewers hope to recognise the epic within a picture, or indeed the picture within an epic?

This seminar showcases the ways in which these questions were played out on a set of twenty-two inscribed Roman Imperial reliefs that have come to be called , or ‘Iliad tablets’. In juxtaposing visual and verbal media, these miniature objects epitomise the sophistication with which Graeco-Roman artists and poets interrogated the boundaries between visual and verbal media. Exploring and exploiting the many ways in which images might take up, embellish, flirt with, develop, even change outright an audience’s understanding of Greek epic texts (and vice versa), the tablets actively toy with their simultaenous visibility and lisibility – for our collective contemplation, amazement, and delight.

This talk is part of the Queens' Arts Seminar series.

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