The Tabulae Iliacae are a group of carved stone plaques created in the context of early Imperial Rome that use miniature images and text to retell stories from Greek myth and history - chief among them Homer's Iliad and the fall of Troy. In this book, Professor Petrain moves beyond the narrow focus on the literary and iconographic sources of the Tabulae that has characterized earlier scholarship. Drawing on ancient and modern theories of narrative, he explores instead how the tablets transfer the Troy saga across both medium and culture as they create a system of visual storytelling that relies on the values and viewing habits of Roman viewers. The book comprehensively situates the tablets in the urban fabric of Augustan Rome. New photographs of the tablets, together with re-editions and translations of key inscriptions, offer a new, clearer view of these remarkable documents of the Roman appropriation of Greek epic.
David Petrain received his PhD in Classical Philology from the Department of the Classics at Harvard University, Massachusetts. He is a scholar of Greek and Latin language and literature with expertise in the art and material culture of ancient Rome. His articles about ancient poetry and other texts written on papyrus or inscribed in stone have appeared in the Transactions of the American Philological Association, Zeitschrift fur Papyrologie und Epigraphik, and Mnemosyne. His co-edited volume, The Muse at Play: Riddles and Wordplay in Greek and Latin Poetry (with Jan Kwapisz and Mikolaj Szymanski), was published in 2012.
Introduction; 1. Reading visual narrative in the Hellenistic and Roman worlds; 2. Tabula and taxis; 3. The semantics of the center; 4. Narrative in frieze and panel; 5. Findspots, display contexts, and the Roman public library; 6. Epic in miniature; Appendix 1. Conspectus of the Tabulae Iliacae; Appendix 2. Description of selected Tabulae: texts and images.