The Triumph of the Senses : Sensory Awareness and the Divine in Roman Public Celebrations

Publié le 30 mars 2016 Mis à jour le 13 juin 2018
le 14 avril 2016
Musée Saint Raymond
1ter Place Saint Sernin

Conférence de Mark Bradley (University of Nottingham), dans le cadre du séminaire, "Synaesthesia. Expérience du divin et multi-sensorialité : une approche comparée" (Idex de Toulouse)

It is well known that Roman triumphal celebrations – annual rites of passage, major festivals and the triumph itself – were a giant multisensory experience for the populus Romanus : vivid colours and gleaming spectacles ; musical instruments and singing that resound through the city ; the odours of burning sacrifice and incense ; the taste of public banquets ; and tactile encounters with cult statues, booty and jostling crowds. But it is not enough just to reconstruct what this synaesthetic experience might have been like.The senses in ancient thought were tools for knowledge and understanding, and one of Varro’s Menippean Satires compared them to the gates of the city, allowing people to keep a careful eye, ear and nose on what entered the community and what left.
This paper will examine descriptive accounts of public celebrations across a range of Roman literary genres (epic, elegy, historiography and satire) to explore what this ekphrasis can tell us about the role of heightened sensory awareness in moments of public rites de passage, when the urban community came closer to the gods by sharing their perception and used their senses to diagnose and understand the changes that were affecting the state.
La conférence, précédemment annoncée à la Maison de la Recherche, aura lieu au Musée Saint Raymond.
Partenaires :
PLH-Erasme, Université fédérale de Toulouse, Université Jean Jaurès
Contact :
Adeline Grand-clément