Pagans, prefects, and emperors : a reexamination of the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus
Although the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus stands as a foundation for the early Christian sculptural traditional scholars have devoted little serious study to the role it played in its cultural context of350s Rome. For the past four hundred years since its discovery, stylistic and chronological discussion of the Christian intercolumnar scenes has dominated any scholarly interpretations of this monument. The goal of this thesis is to shed light on how the sarcophagus interacted with its audience and patron, rather than to situate the images in a timeline of motifs. The interplay between the Roman elite, both pagan and Christian, the emperor, and the Church influenced the propagandistic goals of the sarcophagus. It is my opinion that the family of Junius Bassus, fixed between their pagan peers and Christian emperor, used the seasonal and calendar-inspired imagery of the ends and the ad sanctos burial of the sarcophagus at St. Peter's Basilica to propagandize Christianity as a religion that offered its members material and eternal wealth.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Visual Arts and Design
Dissertations, Academic -- Visual Arts and Design;Visual Arts and Design -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Astafan, Lauren Elizabeth, "Pagans, prefects, and emperors : a reexamination of the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus" (2010). HIM 1990-2015. 963.