Art Forms and Civic Life in the Late Roman Empire
In this study, originally published in Norway as Fra Principat Til Dominat, Professor L'Orange sets down the essence of his thought on the crucial period of transition from decentralization to standardization in civic and cultural life-a period not unlike our own.
and physically present ( conspicuus et praesens Jupiter) ; Hercules was worshiped, not as a stranger, but in the very person of the Emperor." 30 The divine Empire permeates nature and the elements. "Wherever You are, even when You have retired into one and the same Palace, everywhere Your divinity is present, the whole earth and all the seas are filled with You."81 The emperors are, therefore, gods elevated above the Empire they govern. "Your immortal soul is greater than any power, any fortune,
the architectural elements in the Oratio are made parallel witl1 the rectangle of the frame-indeed, the accentuated horizontal line of the upper edge of the background architecture coincides partly with the fillet of the relief's frame. But also the whole scene of figures is made to conform with the vertical and horizontal lines of the frame. It is, for example, remarkable how in the double row of figures in both wings of Oratio, each row is enclosed in a rectangle conforming to the framework;
anarchical conditions of the second half of the third century formed, as we l1ave seen, a striking parallel to the "burst" pictures and physiognomically "decom-posed" portraits in contemporary art. But just as striking is the parallel between the structure of society and of art during the reaction to the anarchy which followed under Diocletian. And again we see that identical soltttions were reached, not as a reflection, but independently of each other. They emerged as a logical consequence of
crystalline regular totality, just as the plastic articulation of the building structure disappears into the great continuous wall surfaces. 8 A. Boethius has made fundamental studies in this late antique architecture in, for example, Roman and Greek Town Architecture (Goteborgs Hogskolas Arsskrift, 54, 1948: 3); Stadshebyggelsen i Roms Hamnstad Ostia (Goteborgs Hogskolas Arsskrift, 57, 1951:2). III. THE SPIRITUAL BACKGROUND I N OUR comments upon architecture in the previous chapter the
victory, each as a uniform element in an endless row: equal in height, with the same figure and with the same step, in the same venerable pallium costume, varied only in its detail, bearing the wreath of martyrdom, haloed, each of a singularly solemn, wideeyed ·type which, for the beholder in Antiquity, was associated with the idea of man become divine (pp. 123 £.). Thus, the natural individuality recedes before a meaningful stereotype which characterizes the essence of the saints and indicates