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Colour and Meaning in Ancient Rome

About the Book

The study of colour has become familiar territory in recent anthropology, linguistics, art history and archaeology. Classicists, however, have traditionally subordinated the study of colour to form. By drawing together evidence from contemporary philosophers, elegists, epicwriters, historians and satirists, Mark Bradley reinstates colour as an essential informative unit for the classification and evaluation of the Roman world. He also demonstrates that the questions of what colour was and how it functioned – as well as how it could be misused and misunderstood – were topics of intellectual debate in early imperial Rome. Suggesting strategies for interpreting Roman expressions of colour in Latin texts, Dr Bradley offers new approaches to understanding the relationship between perception and knowledge in Roman elite thought. In doing so, he highlights the fundamental role that colour performed in the realms of communication and information, and its intellectual contribution to contemporary discussions of society, politics and morality.

Colour and Meaning in Ancient Rome

About the Author

Mark Bradley is Lecturer in Ancient History at Nottingham University. He completed his BA, MPhil and PhD at King's College, Cambridge and moved to Nottingham in 2004. As well as Colour and Meaning in Ancient Rome (Cambridge University Press, 2009), he has also published several articles on aspects of ancient visual culture. He is editor of Classics and Imperialism in the British Empire (Oxford University Press, 2010) and Rome, Pollution and Propriety: Dirt, Disease and Hygiene in the Eternal City from Antiquity to Modernity (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, 2011). As General Editor, he is also developing a series of volumes on ‘The Senses in Antiquity’ for Acumen Publishing.

Mark Bradley