This study tells the reader much about the barbarians, about Roman art and about the Romans' view of themselves. Ferris examines the literary and historical background to these works, exposing the deep-seated fear of barbarians or primitive which lay at the heart of the Roman world. He analyzes the development of an artistic tradition that reflected the increasing power of barbarians within the Empire. He also demonstrates that, as the Empire declined, the savage characteristics of the barbarians came to be portrayed as virtues, rather than vices. This account of an interesting aspect of ancient history is illustrated with examples of Roman art, from the Dying Gaul and the imperial images commissioned by Augustus, to the columns of Trojan and Marcus Aurelius. It should be useful reading for all those interested in the archaeology and art history of the ancient world.
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