Rome et ses provinces. Genèse et diffusion d'une image du pouvoir. Hommages à Jean-Charles Balty
Edited by Cécile Evers and Athéna Tsingarida (Lucernae Novantiquae). Pp. 302, figs. 80. Le Livre Timperman, Brussels 2004. $92.50. ISBN 90-71868-56-7 (paper).
This volume consists of 21 articles written in honor of Balty when he retired from the University of Brussels. The papers in this Festschrift are written by well-known scholars and cover a wide variety of topics, both historical and archaeological. The articles (11 in French, the rest in English, German, and Italian) are devoted to a vast subject: Rome and its provinces. The subtitle of the book suggests an emphasis on how an image of Rome’s power was and is conveyed through epigraphic, literary, and material evidence. The approaches are, of course, dependent on the various specialties of the authors.
The articles range from presenting one item and interpreting it within the context of the archaeological and historical circumstances (R.-Alföldi) to dealing with a broader view of archaeological or epigraphic material (Gros, Sartre, Van Rengen). Some concern sculpture, both relief and in the round (Boschung, Fittschen, Hannestad, von Hesberg, Wrede). Numismatic evidence is treated by Coarelli, Turcan, and R.-Alföldi (who examines the famous silver skyphos from the Boscoreale collection). Aspects of architecture and urban development are considered in other articles (Étienne, Gros, Torelli). Other papers discuss subjects such as dynastic ideology in the Roman west, linguistic development in Languedoc in the Roman period and in the Roman army, and a survey of the routes in the eastern desert of Egypt.
There is no obvious thread in this volume, apart from the overarching topic, nor is it divided into thematic sections. Rather, the articles simply appear in alphabetical order by author. What does link them is the variety of Balty’s research interests. He has published on sculpture, mostly portraiture, and on architecture and urban development, mainly in his role as chief excavator at Apamea in Syria. He has been a highly active contributor to discussions of many aspects of the material culture of Rome and its provinces. This collection of papers testifies to his position among his colleagues as a renowned and respected scholar. Nonetheless, some sort of grouping by theme or category would have been helpful, or at least would have made the book more accessible to the reader.
A useful feature, for which the editors should be praised, is an extensive bibliography of Balty’s main publications from 1964–2000, including forthcoming works. This is definitely one of the great advantages of the book, and one wishes that such a comprehensive bibliography would be a part of any Festschrift.
The relationship between Rome and its provinces is one of the matters most often discussed within the field of classical archaeology and ancient Roman history. It is a theme to which scholars can take manifold approaches, and the answers can be as varied and diverse as the questions. Rome et ses provinces is another testament to this topic’s enduring appeal.
Book Review of Rome et ses provinces. Genèse et diffusion d’une image du pouvoir, edited by Cécile Evers and Athéna Tsingarida
Reviewed by Rubina Raja
American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 111, No. 1 (January 2007)
Published online at www.ajaonline.org/online-review-book/484