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Anne Hrychuk Kontokosta

Visiting Research Professor

PhD, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU; MA, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU; BA, Anthropology, University of Alberta

In my research, I seek to understand the ways art and architecture defined the political, social, economic, and cultural landscapes of ancient Greece and Rome. I focus on Hellenistic Greece, Republican Rome, and Late Antiquity, all periods of complex transculturation, social upheaval, and political transformation. My interests revolve around diachronic convergences between architecture and urbanism; mapping, memory, and the meaning of ancient monuments; public art in urban contexts; and post-antique buildings and their ancient models. Much of my work concentrates on the city of Rome and its urban development over the longue durée; however, the geographic scope of my work is broad, incorporating Rome’s western provinces and the Greco-Roman East.

My interdisciplinary background informs my approach to antiquity and shapes the questions that drive my research and teaching; I am trained in anthropological archaeology (UAlberta), classical languages (UPenn), and earned my doctorate in Art and Architectural History at the Institute of Fine Arts (NYU). Consequently, my method is multidisciplinary, combining epigraphy, ancient literature, numismatics, comparative ethnography, and archaeology. I bring to my research a comprehensive understanding of archaeological methods acquired firsthand on excavations in Turkey (Aphrodisias), Italy (0ssaia, Oppido Lucano), and over many seasons working as an archaeologist in northern Canada.

My current book project, titled From Fornix to Arcus: Architecture, Politics, and Public Space in Republican and Early Imperial Rome offers a new perspective on the earliest freestanding (so-called “triumphal”) arches, bringing together disparate sources of material and textual evidence to inform a comprehensive, nuanced view of how and why the arch was rapidly transformed from a small-scale, privately patronized Republican monument into a widespread and coherent symbol of Roman military power and imperialism. The book builds upon research on the earliest Roman arches published in the Journal of Roman Archaeology (2013) and has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, among others.

I have a longstanding interest in the gladiatorial culture of ancient Rome, particularly in the Greek East. Although gladiatorial combat had its origins in Italy in the late fourth century BCE, the enthusiastic reception of munera in the High Imperial and Late Antique periods had significant cultural, political, and religious repercussions in Rome’s eastern provinces. My work (funded by the American Research Institute in Turkey) traces the transculturation of Greek and Roman traditions through the material record, focusing on architecture, iconography, and inscriptions (“Gladiatorial Reliefs and Elite Funerary Monuments at Aphrodisias,” JRA Supplement Series 70; “Contests in Context: Gladiatorial Monuments, Inscriptions and Graffiti,” Oxford Handbook of Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World, forthcoming).

Recently, I have been investigating connections between the innovative design and luxurious decoration of the Thermae Agrippae (Rome’s first large-scale “Imperial” bath complex) and that of the private urban estates (horti) of elites in Rome (American Journal of Archaeology 2019).  I come to the Institute after teaching in the Department of Art History at NYU and the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and the Environment at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn.