March 10, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.-Richard Brilliant, Anna S. Garbedian Professor in the Humanities in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, will speak on "The Roman Peace and Its Cost-Benefit Imagery" on Thursday, March 24, at 4:30 p.m. in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Funded by the Department of Fine Arts and the Eastman Lecture Fund, this talk is free and open to the public.

Author of many articles and 11 books, most recently My Laocoon (2000) and Un Americano a Roma (2000), Brilliant has traveled and studied widely in Western Europe and the Mediterranean. He explores the triumphal imagery, found in the provinces and in the metropolis, which combines the exaltation of Roman victors and the submission of their victims. This imagery often portrays the connection between peace and prosperity as well as the benefits, from the Roman point of view, of urban culture imposed on rural barbarians. The conquered did not always accept pacification and colonization so favorably, and yet often sought admission to the Roman Empire.

Most Western European cities rest on Roman foundations: the Latin language and Roman law inform the modern cultures of Portugal, Spain and France; highways still follow the Roman road system; the gauge of railroad tracks has been determined by the width of Roman vehicles; and European art is itself one of the greatest legacies of Roman cultural imperialism.