Labyrinth Research Bibliography

Bibliography of Studies Related to Labyrinth Research (.pdf 517K)

This downloadable Bibliography has all entries sorted by author. The entries in the bibliography have been categorized below by topic and also by type (doctoral dissertation, journal article etc.).

On stepping stones: The historical experience of Roman mosaics

Molholt, R.

Abstract:  This dissertation explores the medium-specific talents of the Roman floor mosaic. Using North African mosaics from houses and baths of the second to the fourth centuries C.E., this dissertation begins with an exploration of pavements that exploit the incredible tension between denotative image and particulate medium. Another chapter is devoted to pavements representing the floor qua floor, where Roman artisans consciously construct an illusion and make it transparent at the same time. Each of these "meta-mosaics" reflects on its own double status as image and image-bearing object.

Floor mosaics inflect narratives for specific contexts, and transform the very reality of spaces that they simultaneously define. A chapter on labyrinth mosaics investigates their specific resonance in the realm of the Roman baths. As part of architecture, floor mosaics were placed to interact with moving, standing, or seated viewers, who would be (literally) figures on this ground.

Working as often as possible from my own photographs, I explore how relationships between spectator and image can generate narrative meaning, and even push a walk across the floor into the realm of re-enactment. It is only when we place mosaics again underfoot (at least imaginatively) and back into their intended environments that we can truly begin to assess their impact on Roman viewers. Given the general nature of these theses, it is possible that conclusions reached here will have wider implications for the study of Roman mosaics, and also provide a contribution to studies of Roman interior design.

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