Lecture 29

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Classics 456  Dr. Soren         Roman Painting and Mosaics


              Lecture 29: The Basilica of Herculaneum


A. Vespasian 69- 79 A.D.

   l. Virile leader of the people

   2. Painting scenes- glorify Theseus and Hercules

      a. Programmatic

      b. Full Fourth Style- close rapport with original and radiant,

         large figures      

      c. Long sides- Labors of Hercules


B. Back Wall Niche

   l. Sculptures of imperial family

   2. Flanking central sculpture area

      a. Lower niches- education of Achilles by Chiron

                       Marsyas teaches Olympos

                       May copy saepta groups in Rome  

      b. Upper niches- Theseus and Hercules scenes

      c. Therefore, Vespasian is among heroes

         l. Apotheosis

         2. Return to lost glory and harmony, knowledge


C. Hercules Discovers Telephos

   l. Telephos- Hercules and Auge of Tegea

      a. Tegea- center of Arcadia

      b. King Aleus- Telephos causes blight

      c. Ordered drowned, saved by hind and suckled

      d. Auge flees to Asia Minor and weds Teuthras of Mysia    

      e. Telephos to Delphi- ordered to Mysia but meets Greeks      

      f. Achilles

      g. Captures son of Agamemnon at Argos

      h. Guide of Greeks to Troy

      i. Oikist of Pergamon

   2. Praised by Goethe- instantly famous

   3. Arcadia- maternal essence of the world

      a. Ingres- Madame Moitessier

      b. Great Mother type- lion, sacred mountain of Pergamon

      c. Lion moved from normal place

      d. Faun= vegetation god, fertility

      e. Pomegranates and grapes- fecundity, immortality


   4. Hercules

      a. Compared to Vespasian and Theseus

      b. Why Hercules?

         l. Heroic male who struggles on earth

         2. Human error yet divine

         3. Sons of Telephos Tarchon and Tyrsenus, the

             grandparents of Etruscan people      

         4. Tyrsenus' daughter Rhome wed Aeneas

         5. Hercules as ancestor of Rome

         6. Poses as Hellenistic Warrior

         7. Saved Rome- slays fire-spitting son of Vulcan Cacus

             who stole cattle of Geryon       

         8. Ara Maxima- Forum Boarium  

            a. Time of Evander- altar of Jupiter

            b. Hercules worshipped as god here

            c. Potitii and Pinarii families

            d. Receives tithes in war and peace

            e. Ratify treaties and witness oaths

            f. By Hercules!

   5. Theseus- Founder of the glory of Athens


For a PowerPoint of this lecture please click here.