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The River Nile fascinated the Romans and appeared in maps, written descriptions, texts, poems and paintings of the developing empire. Tantalised by the unique status of the river, explorers were sent to find the sources of the Nile, while natural philosophers meditated on its deeper metaphysical significance. Andy Merrills' book, Roman Geographies of the Nile, examines the very different images of the river that emerged from these descriptions - from anthropomorphic figures, brought repeatedly into Rome in military triumphs, through the frequently whimsical landscape vignettes from the houses of Pompeii, to the limitless river that spilled through the pages of Lucan's Civil War, and symbolised a conflict - and an empire - without end. Considering cultural and political contexts alongside the other Niles that flowed through the Roman world in this period, this book provides a wholly original interpretation of the deeper significance of geographical knowledge during the later Roman Republic and early Principate.Read more
- Explores the full range of ways in which the physical world was represented in classical society through six case studies, including cartography, triumphal display, landscape painting, itineraries, natural philosophy and poetry
- Proposes a new view of classical geographical thinking, which moves beyond traditional 'geographical' texts, and reveals the influence of other media in shaping attitudes to the wider world
- Brings together various different traditions of scholarship for the first time, allowing readers to see how art historical, philological, philosophical and archaeological approaches to the study of ancient conceptions of space are inter-related
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'… Merrills has performed an enormous scholarly service in reconstructing the diversity of the Roman geographical imagination in this stimulating and scholarly volume.' Robert Mayhew, Isis
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- Date Published: March 2017
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107177284
- length: 354 pages
- dimensions: 235 x 158 x 20 mm
- weight: 0.7kg
- contains: 28 b/w illus.
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
Introduction: what we talk about when we talk about Roman geography
1. A world full of maps? Public 'chorographies' in late Republican and early Imperial Rome
2. The dismembered Nile: the geography of triumphs and monuments
3. Gazing on the Nile: the domestication of the river
4. Creatio ex Nilo: metaphysics and the unknowable river
5. This river is a jumbled line, perhaps? (4): journeys and lines
6. Triumph and disaster: rendering the river in verse
Afterword: the many Niles of the Elder Pliny.
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