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June 17, 2020 15 min
After the ancient Roman Empire embraced Christianity under Emperor Constantine in the fourth century A.D., the empire’s culture and politics were significantly transformed. Records of poetic inscriptions found throughout Rome can help us to understand how these public displays both recalled an earlier model of poetic discourse and established new forms of spiritual authority and civic instruction. In this podcast, Dennis Trout, professor of ancient Mediterranean studies at the University of Missouri, shares insights from his interdisciplinary study of such inscriptions. By considering the way that these epigrams were embedded in the architecture of a city and displayed to an empire in transition, he suggests they go beyond considerations of religion, literature, and culture to illuminate the ways that visual and textual cues were used to send messages to a diverse audience in the ancient world.
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