Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


1 November 2014

Aspekte der Zeichenhaftigkeit herrschaftlicher Archetektur – Betrachtungen anhand mykenischer und römisch-kaiserzeitlicher Kontexte

Heinz Beste, Ulrich Thaler & Ulrike Wulf-Rheidt in R. Haensch & U. Wulf-Rheidt (eds), Dialoge über politische Räume in vormodernen Kulturen. Perspektiven und Ergebnisse der Arbeit des Forschungscluster 3 und Beiträge seiner Abschlusstagung vom 20.-22. Juni 2012 in München, [Menschen, Kulturen, Traditionen, Studien aus den Forschungsclustern des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Band 13], Rahden/Westf, 2013, 79-108.


This article considers the question of whether, and if so, in which ways, architecture is semiotically employed in legitimizing, staging and visualizing forms of authority and rulership as well as political systems. First of all, terms designating buildings are briefly considered as linguistic signs with references to the Neronian domus aurea and the Flavian as well as Antonine palatial buildings on the Palatine. Based thereupon, discussion then turns to aspects of the semiotics of specific construction members, of facades and of architectural >framing< as part of the staging of rulers with regard to both Mycenaean and the aforementioned Roman palatial complexes. Finally, it addresses images of architecture as a reflex of the semiotic qualities of palatial buildings. By switching back and forth between the two different cultural contexts, an attempt is made to trace common and/or general characteristics, while both the semiotics of palatial facades in Rome and the image-like staging of Mycenaean rulers provide the subject for more extensive explorations of specific contexts. It can be demonstrated that, in both cultures, architectural elements were employed in the creation of carefully staged images of the ruler. At the same time, interesting differences come to light, especially with regard to the group of recipients and to scale; these can indicate specific cultural phenomena.


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