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Antioch: The Lost Ancient City
     

Antioch: The Lost Ancient City

by Christine Kondoleon
 

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This lavish exhibition catalog brings to life Antioch, the magnificent city known for its Hellenic culture and luxurious way of life, once ranking with Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople as one of the great metropolises of the Roman and early Christian world. Located in what is now southern Turkey, Antioch was the capital of Ancient Syria, a vital marketplace at

Overview

This lavish exhibition catalog brings to life Antioch, the magnificent city known for its Hellenic culture and luxurious way of life, once ranking with Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople as one of the great metropolises of the Roman and early Christian world. Located in what is now southern Turkey, Antioch was the capital of Ancient Syria, a vital marketplace at the crossroads between East and West. It was here that St. Paul preached to the first gentile community to be called "Christians" and where a Greek-speaking Jewish culture flourished alongside Roman, Egyptian, and Near Eastern cults. A large middle-class shared in the wealth and culture of the city, and art abounded in numerous forms, especially in beautiful mosaics depicting scenes from mythology and everyday life. Featuring 118 objects excavated from the city's ruins, all reproduced in full color, Antioch: The Lost Ancient City recreates the spatial sensation, visual splendor, and cultural richness of this urban center.

Devastated by an earthquake in 526 C.E., as well as by fires, plagues and invasions by Persians, Antioch survived only in memory through ancient written accounts until the 1930s, when excavations revealed a wealth of finds from the private houses of its inhabitants, including a large cache of floor mosaics. In addition, archaeologists found several churches, a stadium, a circus, a theater, and several baths. This catalog displays and describes the excavated artifacts--mosaics, sculpture, glass, metalwork, coins--within their architectural and cultural contexts, thereby evoking the street life as well as the domestic lives of Antioch's citizens. Among the treasures are the mosaics The Drinking Contest between Dionysos and Herakles and The Judgment of Paris, the Antioch chalice, gold jewelry from Syria, bronze tyche figurines, and mosaics of river and sea deities. Antioch emerges as a compelling model of a melting-pot city, one that challenges our own notions of civic community and diversity.

The contributors are Susan Boyd, Bernadette Brooten, John J. Dobbins, Anna Gonosová, Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Florent Heintz, Sandra Knudsen, Christine Kondoleon, Michael Maas, William Metcalf, James Russell, Sarolta Takács, Cornelius Vermeule III, and Fikret Yegul.

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE:

The Worcester Art Museum

Worcester, Massachusetts

October 7, 2000-February 4, 2001

The Cleveland Art Museum

Cleveland, Ohio

March 18, 2001-June 3, 2001

The Baltimore Museum of Art

Baltimore, Maryland

September 16, 2001-December 30, 2001

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A handsomely illustrated memoir of ancient Antioch, once lost and now found again."--Choice

"[An] excellent catalog, creating, in effect, a handsomely illustrated memoir of ancient Antioch, once lost and now found again."--Choice

"Seldom can we see a governing class maintain its grip on a city from classical times into the early centuries of the Byzantine Empire. Seldom, also, have such a formidable and resilient group of persons managed to face down a changing world with such apparently effortless charm. It is on this aspect of Antioch that the catalog has concentrated most effectively and with most evident enthusiasm. A serious attempt is made to set the mosaics in their architectural context."--Peter Brown, New York Review of Books

"The more than one hundred color plates, detailed maps, comprehensive chronology, extensive bibliography and readable scholarly texts make the volume more than a mere exhibition catalog. It emerges as a standard text on the art and culture of an ancient civilization."--Lamia Doumato, Art Documentation

Library Journal
It's not true. All roads didn't necessarily lead to Rome; many of them led to Antioch. This great city ranked with Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople as one of the major metropolises of its time, yet it is the least known. Kondoleon, curator of Greek and Roman art at the Worcester Art Museum, uses the treasures of a 1930s archaeological dig to illuminate this important historic city. Scholarly literature is lacking in information on the art and history of Antioch, and this new publication (the catalog for traveling exhibition) fills a great void. Facts are presented logically and thoroughly, and the chronology at the beginning is a nice touch, allowing the reader an overview before plunging into informative essays on people, religions, mosaics (the highlight of the exhibit), household furnishings, sculptures, and coins. Catalog portions of the book are fairly complete, with sidebars including recent finds. The bibliography and indexing are well done, and many issues for further research are enumerated here. Highly recommended for libraries specializing in art and art history.--Nadine Dalton Speidel, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Parma, OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691049328
Publisher:
Worcester Art Museum
Publication date:
09/11/2000
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
9.47(w) x 12.40(h) x 1.10(d)

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