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Talk to focus on ancient Roman fountains

Barry McNamara
02/18/2010
Brenda Longfellow, an assistant professor at the University of Iowa’s School of Art and Art History, will present the next archaeology lecture at Monmouth College on Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Morgan Room in Poling Hall.

Titled “Myth and Memory in Ancient Roman Fountains” the talk is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the MC Classics Department, in cooperation with the Western Illinois Society of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA).

Monumental freestanding civic fountains were built by emperors and elite patrons in select cities throughout the ancient Roman Empire. These imposing edifices stood one to three stories high and often incorporated elaborate sculptures that interacted with flowing water to create innovative kinetic displays.

“Typically fed by new aqueducts and positioned in heavily-trafficked areas of the city, these extravagant fountains showcased a variety of sculptures, from donors to divinities to local heroes, carefully arranged to highlight the prestige of the community and benefactor,” said Longfellow. “In all but two cases, the sculptural ensemble was created for the fountain.”

Longfellow’s talk will explore the two exceptions to this practice: the Fountain of Domitian in Ephesus (92-93 C.E.) and the Nymphaeum of Alexander Severus in Rome (226 C.E), both of which borrowed sculptures from earlier installations.