This lecture examines the monumentalization of the Roman colonia of Augusta Emerita (Mérida) from its foundation in 25 B.C. to the early second century A.D. Founded by Augustus for demobilized veterans of two legions who fought in his Asturian and Cantabrian Wars, it was soon selected to become the Roman administrative centre of the new province of Lusitania. The lecture will give due weight to the initial town-planning and construction that took place under Augustus, but will stress that the full monumentalization of the colonia, modeled in significant ways on the architecture of the imperial centre, Rome, took over one hundred years to complete. The lecture will also assess the impact of the monumental architecture of the city on the lived experience of those who lived in or visited this impressive monument of Roman power at the western fringe of the Roman Empire.
Our fifth lecture is by Dr. Catherine Lucinda Cooper, Rebanks Research Fellow in Classical Archaeology, Royal Ontario Museum.
Museums are one of the most public arenas of engagement with classical antiquity. The highly visual experience of the museum encounter is subtly but fundamentally determined by how objects are selected and presented for display, and these displays have an enormous impact on perceptions of the ancient world. Yet the academic and practical challenges encountered in creating a display are rarely considered.
Kate takes you behind-the-scenes of the recent redisplay of the Greece and Rome gallery at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (UK), where she worked as curator, to examine the practical and conceptual issues that are involved in creating a display that is at once up-to-date, informative, accessible, and appealing. The Fitzwilliam’s approach will be compared to other recent European displays of classical antiquity, such as that of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and the New Akropolis Museum, Athens.