The Ancient Art of Transformation: Case Studies from Mediterranean Contexts examines instances of human transformation in the ancient and early Christian Mediterranean world by exploring the ways in which art impacts, aids, or provides evidence for physical, spiritual, personal, and social transitions. Building on Arnold van Gennep's notion of universal rites of passage, papers in this volume expand the definition of "transformation" to include widespread transitions such as shifts in political establishments and changes in cultural identity. In considering these broadly defined "passages," authors have observed particular changes in the visual record, whether they be manifest, enigmatic, or symbolic. While several papers address transitions that result in hybrid states, others suggest that the medium itself can be integral to interpreting a transition, and in some cases, be itself transformed. Together, the volume covers not only a broad chronological span (c. 6th century BC to 5th century AD), but also various regions across the Mediterranean (Egypt, Greece, and Italy). Reflecting upon issues central to a variety of Mediterranean cultures (Egyptians, Etruscans, Greeks, Romans, and early Christians), The Ancient Art of Transformation documents how personal, societal, and historical changes become permanently fixed in the material record.
The Ancient Art of Transformation: Case Studies from Mediterranean Contexts
Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2018