HYDE Lecture: Jonathan Edmondson, York, "The elogium of Aeneas in the Forum of Augustus at Rome: new insights from Mérida and Pompeii"

Thursday, April 14, 2016 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm

402 Cohen Hall

In 1986 excavations in the portico of the so-called “Marble Forum” of the Roman colonia of Augusta Emerita (Mérida, Spain) uncovered a fragment of an inscribed elogium of Aeneas, along with parts of a sculptural group of Aeneas, Anchises and Ascanius. This allowed another fragment of the same plaque to be identified in the epigraphic collection of the Museo Nacional de Arte Romano (J.L. De la Barrera and W. Trillmich, RM 103, 1996, 119-138 = AE 1996, 864a-b). These fragments from Mérida call into question some of Attilio Degrassi’s restorations of the copy of the same elogium known since the early 19th century from Pompeii (Inscriptiones Italiae XIII.3, Fasti et elogia, 1937, no. 85). This paper presents an authoritative new reading of the elogium from Emerita and considers how its text requires us to correct aspects of Degrassi’s restoration of the copy from Pompeii. A careful re-examination of the fragments of the latter in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples permits yet more textual improvements. This study of the copies from Emerita and Pompeii stimulates some reflections on the nature of the original elogium of Aeneas, allegedly composed by Augustus himself, which once stood beneath the statue-group of Aeneas, Anchises and Ascanius in the Forum of Augustus at Rome.