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The Column of Marcus AureliusThe Genesis and Meaning of a Roman Imperial Monument$
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Martin Beckmann

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834619

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877777_beckmann

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The Frieze As Art

The Frieze As Art

(p.156) Chapter Eight The Frieze As Art
The Column of Marcus Aurelius

Martin Beckmann

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter shows that, “compared with the noble Column of Trajan, that of Aurelius is in all ways inferior.” This was the opinion of Percy Gardner, professor of classical archaeology at Oxford University in the late nineteenth century. Gardener's views on the value of the art of the Column of Marcus Aurelius were shared by many of his contemporaries. Eugen Petersen, even after becoming intimately acquainted with the column through many weeks spent on a platform hanging from its capital, still concluded that in comparison to the richness of Trajan's Column, “the art of the Marcus Column seems poor and sober, restricted to only the most essential components.” In the eyes of these early critics the sole redeeming feature of the Column of Marcus Aurelius was that it was Roman.

Keywords:   Column of Trajan, Aurelius, Percy Gardner, classical archaeology, Oxford University, Eugen Petersen

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