Organised by: Elizabeth M. Greene andThomas Schierl

The peoples living within the Roman world borrowed, imitated and emulated the art and traditions of cultures that crossed their paths. This characteristic has often been explored in the context of Roman art, particularly the practice of borrowing Greek motifs in sculpture. The tendency to merge imitation with innovation resulted in meaningful objects and images for new audiences and consumer markets. The process of imitation created new hybrid forms of material culture that exemplified the emerging multicultural and widely connected world in the Mediterranean. The creative implementation of foreign ideas and forms as a widespread social phenomenon was an important element of Roman crafts. It provided the basis for creation of new styles and supported the regional and individual variation of artifacts. These objects were desired as elements of self-representation and helped to visualize the multivalent character of individual identities. Therefore innovation understood as a product of social practices and structures tells us much about self-understanding of different social groups.

The trend to apply theories of cultural hybridity to Roman art has grown in the last decade, but the role of imitation in innovative processes has been explored less often in the sphere of everyday objects and experiences. This session, therefore, aims to explore innovation in the manufacture of more personal objects such as brooches, gemstones, and pottery, and considers the rationale for imitation by elite individuals in contexts such as domestic and funerary spaces. Papers in this session use a variety of approaches in order to explore the expression of innovation, through the imitation of styles, forms and techniques. The panel aims to discuss the use of innovative styles in daily existence in order to understand the role these products played in the experience and expression of new cultural or corporate identities in the Roman world.

Imitation and the mass production of elite status markers: Intaglios in the 2nd and 3rd centuries,Elizabeth M. Greene

At the limits of creativity: The creation of style in dress accessories between mass supply and individualism, Thomas Schierl

Craftsmen and consumers: Who was trend-setter for local ceramic products in the northern part of the Roman province Germania Superior?, Markus Helfert

Archetype, copy and innovation: Grave monuments in the Rhine and Danube provinces as social media, Markus Scholz

Equal in death? Considerations about urns, sarcophagi, cinerary-funerary altars, tombstones and sepulchral architecture, Thomas Knosala

Art and Artifice: The Gardens and Garden Paintings from the Villa Arianna, Stabiae, Maryl B. Gensheimer 

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