Theoretical Roman Archaeology Journal | 2021

Neurological and Neuropsychiatric Diseases through the Lens of Roman Sculpture



Roman sculpture has often given the impression that it provides such a precise simulacrum of the bodies of ancient Romans that their statues can be studied autoptically as if they were a patient. Specialists in medicine and art-history have studied Roman sculptures to the point of producing real medical diagnoses, generating a research niche which, while controversial, has led to some interesting discoveries. However, scholars had sometimes misunderstand certain elements of ancient sculptures, interpreting aesthetic choices as clinical signs. In the article several works of art from the Republican period to the Tetrarchic age will be observed, to assess if the diagnoses made on them are due to actual physical features of the individuals portrayed or not. This article analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the study of ancient pathologies through Roman sculpture to delineate the limits and the possibilities of such approach.\n

Volume None
Pages None
DOI 10.16995/traj.4342
Language English
Journal Theoretical Roman Archaeology Journal

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