Roman depictions in stone of Homer’s Iliad and the epic cycle, known as the Tabulae Iliacae, pose a number of challenges for the modern viewer. Sometimes the low-relief, miniature carvings of the events of the Trojan War, including the eventual sacking of the city by the Greeks, are treated in chronological order, while at other times that order is circumvented by directing the viewer’s attention to Aeneas center stage. This emphasis on Aeneas in the Greek saga jibes with Augustan ideology, which by the late first century bce and the first century ce strove to emphasize the inevitability of the founding of Rome, thanks to the heroic arrival in Italy of a Trojan the Greeks regarded favorably.
Tablets Reveal Ideas of Roman Self-Identity.
HUMANITIES, March/April 2012, Volume 33, Number 2