[Authors and titles are listed at the end of the review.]
The volume at hand, edited by Philipp Baas, collects the proceedings of the XXth International Congress on Ancient Bronzes, which involved the collaboration of scholars from all over the world. The published proceedings, following the long tradition of Congresses on Ancient Bronzes (cf. Philipp Baas’s considerations in Vorwort, ibid., ix-x, particularly ix), are organized around four nuclei: Part I. Reconstruction; Part II. Resource; Part III. Representation; and Part IV. Role (cf. the contents table at p. v-vii ). Each section includes essays that showcase a broad chronological and geographical range of interests.
The first section opens with an essay by Zimmer and also includes a contribution by Craddock that offers insights on bronze casting practices in ancient Egypt, India, and classical antiquity in comparative perspective, as well as an overview of the different cast techniques between Antiquity and Renaissance (14–15). Zimmer, in line with his main interests(3), traces in his essay the technological innovations that occurred in bronze casting in Greece between the 9th and 6thcenturies BC (4, 6–8). Lindström offers an interesting description of bronzes from Hellenistic and Parthian Persia (3rd c. BC – 3rd c. AD, p. 131), differentiating between ‘Greek’ and ‘non-Greek’ sculptures (132), considering the Hellenistic Ruler portrait head in the National Museum of Iran (inv. 2477) (133–134) and recognizing a ‘non-Greek’ method of bronze casting, involving different recipes, materials, and not the indirect casting used by the Greeks (139).
The third contribution, by Giumlia-Mair and Pollini, not only reminds us of the convincing interpretation of the bronze statue from Amelia as having first represented Caligula and later Germanicus, following the former’s damnatio memoriae (25), but also presents some observations on earlier natural scientific analyses of the statue (26–28); the new analyses by Giumlia-Mair and Pollini support the above-mentioned interpretation (31). In fact, some of the appliqued reliefs are more similar in their chemical composition to the head and to the limbs of Germanicus, than to the cuirass (31). They attempt to find an answer to the long-standing question of the aes corinthium, for instance considering the pteryges of the statue (32), and argue that the cuirass is too large for the head and the limbs, and that the appliques were probably added later (33).
The paper by Morandini, Agnoletti, Brini, Cagnini, Galeotti, Patera, and Porcinai focuses on another masterpiece discovered in Italy, the Victoria of Brixia. The authors highlight how the statue underwent a first attempt of restoration in 1834 and argue that the hoard in which the statue was discovered may also have served the purpose of reusing the bronzes (35). The core of the paper are the preliminary results of surface composition and patina analyses, followed by a discussion of the issues involving the provenance of malachite on the statue, which is difficult to define, since, on the one hand, it may be found on bronzes buried in the ground, whereas on the other it may involve also the use of colors on the statue (41).
The thirteenth contribution of this section, by Pacifico and Luciano, deals with the aristocratic tomb of Roscigno, in South Italy, dating like others to the 5th c. BC (118). Through analysis of the tomb’s bronze grave goods, the discussion stresses the area’s character as a cultural ‘melting pot’, with locals embracing both Greek and Etruscan influences (118–119, 123), but providing a glimpse on this tomb’s grave goods, almost entirely produced in Etruria and widely attested in Campania (cf. 119). An Etruscan product is without doubt the candelabrum in the form of a warrior embracing a woman (fig. 1), which finds comparisons in many areas of ancient Italy (119–120). The contents of the aristocratic grave – like a bronze ewer (Schnabelkanne), a nestoris, a silver kantharos – show the integration between cultures. From the end of the 5th c. BC the interactions between the Lucanians, the Greeks and the Etruscans (117), occurring at the time in that area (120–122), is a complex phenomenon involving a multiplicity of actors.
The second part of the volume includes five contributions. Alexandrescu’s paper focuses on large Roman bronze statues from the Roman provinces of Dacia and Moesia Inferior that recall bronzes discovered along the German Limes (165), which are useful comparisons with these statues. Parts of equestrian statues from Moesia and Dacia (169–173) illustrate the diffusion of this bronze typology, which can as well be detected in Italy (for example, through the well-known group of Cartoceto di Pergola) and in other provinces, like Raetia (for instance in Kempten or Augsburg).
The contribution by Willer, Schwab, and Mirschenz focuses on chemical analyses performed on the Roman bronzes from the Limes (189) in which diverse methods—from X–ray fluorescence to computer tomography—were applied (190–191), as, for instance, in the case of the portrait head of emperor Gordian III (191). What emerges is the high percentage of recycled material among the statues (194), which, however, comes as no surprise, as it was a very widespread phenomenon in antiquity.
Among the diverse and interesting papers of the third part, Franken focuses his attention on lamps from the archaic period to late antiquity from different contexts (237–239). He identifies a dancing satyr in Berlin as a lamp (239). In the same section, Nogales Basarrate and Murciano Calles deals with the Roman bronze statues discovered in Mérida, which are among the few statues from Mérida with clear archaeological provenance. These bronzes, both decorative pieces and larger statues (213–219), are divided in the text into two major categories: bronzes from public and private spaces (211). The bronzes of Mérida are recognized in most cases as having originally belonged to private contexts, such as burial or domestic sites (216), and as having had merely decorative or functional meanings (215). On p. 219, the authors also offer an interpretation of a fretwork plate (possibly a peephole) (fig. 2), decorated with a frieze depicting a banquet scene (cf. 218–219). They recognized in the scene the unusual presence, on the plate, of the figure of Mercury—and the god’s typical attributes, the caduceus and the ram—instead of Bacchus, who is usually related to the symposia. They associate the scene of Mercury with Augustus and his prosperous age (219).
Margherita Bolla analyzes figurines associated with funerary imagery in the Roman world, such as the so-called “sad Attis” and “larvae convivales” (247), beginning with the distinction between the ‘active’ and ‘passive’ iconography of Hypnos and Somnus (247–248), and going on to mention small skeletons, some of which are depicted with articulated joints, some without (248–253).
Bison’s article concentrates on a bronze statuette of a Genius from the forum in Grumentum (257–258), which may be dated to the Julio-Claudian Age (258–259). This hypothesis is based on its resemblance to Augustan portraits (261), of which other examples are mentioned (259); the author’s conclusion that the statuette was lost while carried around during Antiquity seems convincing (261), because it was found in a later archaeological context (cf. 261, with bibliography.
Kiernan’s contribution concludes this section: it deals with the collection of ancient bronzes in the Buffalo Museum of Science (NY), which holds Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Egyptian, Near Eastern, and early medieval pieces (275), and was founded in 1861 (276). Some examples of Classical bronzes are presented at p. 280–282, including two horses (280–281), one Greek and the other thought to be Etruscan (281). For the latter, Kiernan proposes a new interpretation, recognizing the item as Cypriote (281). Other pieces and interpretations follow (281–282), among which the description of a Kore thought to be Etruscan/Umbrian as fitting “into a category of primitive art” appears perfectly understandable, considering the figurine’s Daedalic characteristics (281).
In the last section of the book, Morpurgo focuses on the Etruscan necropolises of Bologna and discusses bronze vessels dating to the mid–6th to mid–4th centuries BC (373), highlighting the necessity of positioning these objects within the broader context of Etruscan culture in order to fully understand the social meaning of their use (373). The focus on the Etruscan Po Valley leads the author to ask questions about the production centers of such objects (377–378).
Riediker-Liechti presents a cookshop of Roman-era Monte Iato in Sicily. The excavations (by the University of Zürich) brought to light rich finds that supported the structure’s interpretation as a popina (389–390), to be dated to around the mid-1st c. AD (390). The destruction level yielded 1,623 finds, including bronze objects, notably bronze vessels (390–391). Of particular interest is a bronze ram’s head from a bronze vessel (Griffschale), for which information about the production centers and times is offered (391). P. 393–394 present comparisons between the cookshop at Monte Iato and similar features at Pompeii (393–394) and Herculaneum (394).
Concluding, this book constitutes a high-quality volume, well organized around each specific subject. Without doubts, its interdisciplinarity marks one of the most valuable aspects of the publication, which constitutes a necessary update for many topics in the field, and is especially useful for a specialist audience.
Authors and titles
Carol C. Mattusch, Preface (viii)
Philipp Baas, Vorwort (ix–x)
Part I. Reconstruction
1. Gerhard Zimmer, “Innovation and Tradition – Greek Bronzecasting Workshops” (3–12)
2. Paul Craddock, “Casting large statuary in Classical Antiquity: Thoughts from India and Egypt” (13–24)
3. Alessandra Giumlia-Mair, John Pollini, “Past and Recent Metal Analyses of the Germanicus Statue from Amelia” (25–34)
4. Francesca Morandini, Stefania Agnoletti, Annalena Brini, Andrea Cagnini, Monica Galeotti, Anna Patera, and Simone Porcinai, “The Brescia Winged Victory: Ongoing Diagnostic Work, Conservation Treatment and Restoration” (35–43)
5. Sophie Descamps-Lequime, Benoît Mille, and Nancy Psalti, “Projet d’une nouvelle étude technologique de l’Aurige de Delphes: les premiers résultats” (45–55)
6. Kosmas A. Dafas, “The Bronze Antikythera Ephebe Revisited: Technical Features and Casting Technique” (57–65)
7. Joachim Weidig, Nicola Bruni, and Fabio Fazzini, “Bronze Cast on Decorated Iron Sheets. An Unusual Manufacturing Technique in Iron Age Italy” (67–73)
8. Jeffrey Maish, David Saunders, Nino Kalandadze, and Marc Walton, “Artful illumination: Technical study of four Hellenistic bronze lamps from the eastern Black Sea site of Vani” (75–85)
9. Nadezda Gulyaeva, “Corinthian Helmets in the Hermitage Museum” (87–90)
10. Omid Oudbashi, “A New Look at an Old Technology: Insights into the Metallurgy of Tin Bronze during the Iron Age of Luristan” (91–100)
11. Ilyas Özşen, “Drahtziehen in der Bronzezeit? Zu den drei Ziehbronzen aus dem Hort von Isleham, Cambridgeshire“ (101–106)
12. Emilia Banou, Aikaterini Panagopoulou, “Bronze Circulation in the Aegean in the 2nd millennium BC: Technological Investigations of Bronze Finds from the Minoan Peak Sanctuary at Ayios Yeoryios sto Vouno, Kythera” (107–115)
13. Silvia Pacifico, Rossella Luciano, “La Tomba Principesca di Roscigno: Greci e indigeni nelle élites dell’Italia Meridionale” (117–124)
14. Rafael Sabio González, Cristina Isabel Mena Méndez, “Authepsa: A Singular Brass Container from Augusta Emerita (Mérida, Spain). History and Interpretation of the Object” (125–129)
15. Gunvor Lindström, “Technology Matters: The Kal-e Chendar Bronze Statuary from the Seleucid to the Parthian Periods” (131–141)
Part II. Resource
16. Maryse Blet-Lemarquand, “How the Greeks manipulated the composition of their bronze coins. Case studies” (145–153)
17. Jean-Marie Welter, “Corinthian bronze: was it just wrought high-tin bronze?” (155–164)
18. Cristina-Georgeta Alexandrescu, “Fragments of large-scale bronze statues in context of so-called scrap metal deposits in Dacia and Moesia Inferior” (165–175)
19. Mikhail Treister, “Roman bronze vessels with signs of repair from Sarmatia” (177–187)
20. Frank Willer, Roland Schwab, and Manuela Mirschenz, “Recycling Economy in the Production of Roman Bronze Statues from the Limes Region. Results of the Research Project „Roman Bronze Statues from the UNESCO World Heritage Limes”” (189–198)
Part III. Representation
21. Fabiano Fiorello Di Bella, “Tre bronzi greci da Porticello (Reggio Calabria)” (201–210)
22. Trinidad Nogales Basarrate, José María Murciano Calles, “Roman Bronzes of Augusta Emerita (Hispania). Representation: Iconography and Models” (211–221)
23. Rachel Nouet, “Who was in Charge of Fastening Bronze Statues on their Bases? A Case Study of Two Classical-Group Bases from Delphi” (223–235)
24. Norbert Franken, “Scharnier, Tülle oder Zapfen. Beobachtungen an hellenistischen Bronzelampen mit Statuettendekor” (237–245)
25. Margherita Bolla, “Iconografie “funerarie” nella piccola plastica bronzea romana” (247–255)
26. Giulia Bison, “Small Objects, Multiple Perspectives: The Case of the Genius of Grumentum” (257–264)
27. Antonia Tzortzatou, “From the Roman noblemen to the European connoisseurs: the “Paramythia bronzes” and the allure of the Antique” (265–274)
28. Philip Kiernan, “Collecting Bronzes in an Early Twentieth-century American Museum of Natural Science and Anthropology” (275–284)
Part IV. Role
29. András Patay-Horváth, “Geometric Bronze Animal Figurines at Olympia – Who Dedicated What and Why?” (287–297)
30. Beat Schweizer, “Bronzegefäße von Olympia: Ritual und Repräsentation, Statusänderung und Deponierung” (299–306)
31. Daphni Doepner Pinakes, “Waffen und Statuen – Zur öffentlichen Präsentation von Bronzen am Außenbau griechischer Peripteraltempel” (307–318)
32. Johanna Fuchs, “A bronze foundry of Classical times in the sanctuary at Kalapodi (Central Greece)” (319–329)
33. Zetta Theodoropoulou Polychroniadis, Vana Orfanou, “Copper-based offerings from the sanctuaries of Poseidon and Athena at Sounion, Attica: typological and analytical investigation” (331–343)
34. Stamatis A. Fritzilas, “Bronzes of Arcadian Orchomenos: A Review of Old and New Finds” (345–357)
35. Maciej Wacławik, “Paphian obstacles to powerful Death. A set of surgical tools found in the Agora of Paphos” (359–366)
36. Marina Castoldi, “About Löwenkannen: La Löwenkanne del Museo Archeologico di Verona” (367–372)
37. Giulia Morpurgo, “Bronze Vessels from the Etruscan Necropolises of Bologna (540 – 350 BC): Preliminary Notes” (373–380)
38. Nicoletta Frapiccini, “The Kegs from the “Celtic” Graves of Santa Paolina di Filottrano. Misadventures and misunderstandings” (381–387)
39. Eva Riediker-Liechti, “Bronzeobjekte aus der römischen Garküche auf dem Monte Iato (PA)” (389–395)
40. Nova Barrero Martín, Rafael Sabio Ganzález, “Roman bronzes of Augusta Emerita (Spain). A functional approach” (397–404)
Previous International Bronze Congresses and Publications (405–406)
 The author wishes to disclose professional contact with two contributors to this volume, Gerhard Zimmer, Roland Schwab and Norbert Franken. This text therefore renders no judgment on their work.
 See for instance G. Zimmer, Griechische Bronzegußwerkstätten: zur Technologieentwicklung eines antiken Kunsthandwerks (Mainz 1990).
 See John Pollini, The Statue of Germanicus from Ameria (Amelia), in: AJA 123.4 (2017) 425-437, already mentioned in the text.
 As highlighted by Christoph Ulf, Rethinking Cultural Contacts, in: Robert Rollinger, Kordula Schnegg (eds), Kulturkontakte in antiken Welten: vom Denkmodell zum Fallbeispiel. Proceedings des internationalen Kolloquiums aus Anlass des 60. Geburtstages von Christoph Ulf, Innsbruck 26.-30.1.2009. Coll. Ant. 10 (Leuven, Paris 2014) 507–564.
 Cf. LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn, Archäologisches Landesmuseum Baden-Württemberg, Museum Het Valkhof Nijmegen (eds.), Gebrochener Glanz: Römische Großbronzen am UNESCO-Welterbe Limes, Begleitbuch zur Ausstellung „Gebrochener Glanz. Römische Großbronzen am UNESCO-Welterbe Limes“ LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn vom 20. März bis 20. Juli 2014, Limesmuseum Aalen vom 16. August 2014 bist 22. Februar 2015, Museum Het Valkhof vom 21. März bis 21. Juni 2015 (Mainz 2014), also mentioned in the text. Moreover, on the topic, cf. Aura Piccioni, Zwischen klassischer und provinzialrömischer Archäologie: Die Großbronzefragmente Rätiens, in: Lydia Berger, Felix Lang, Claus Reinholdt, Barbara Tober, Jörg Weilhartner (eds.), Gedenkschrift für Wolfgang Wohlmayr, ArchaeoPlus 13 (2020) 327–333.
 Andrea Salcuni, Römische Großbronzen in Italien, in: LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn, Archäologisches Landesmuseum Baden-Württemberg, Museum Het Valkhof Nijmegen (eds.), Gebrochener Glanz: Römische Großbronzen am UNESCO-Welterbe Limes, Begleitbuch zur Ausstellung „Gebrochener Glanz. Römische Großbronzen am UNESCO-Welterbe Limes“ LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn vom 20. März bis 20. Juli 2014, Limesmuseum Aalen vom 16. August 2014 bist 22. Februar 2015, Museum Het Valkhof vom 21. März bis 21. Juni 2015 (Mainz 2014) 19–25, part. 22–23. The author mentions the book (Gebrochener Glanz 2014, above) in general, as well as some contributions in it.
 Sascha Heckmann, Ein (?) zerschlagenes Reiterstandbild aus Kempten, in: LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn, Archäologisches Landesmuseum Baden-Württemberg, Museum Het Valkhof Nijmegen (eds.), Gebrochener Glanz: Römische Großbronzen am UNESCO-Welterbe Limes, Begleitbuch zur Ausstellung „Gebrochener Glanz. Römische Großbronzen am UNESCO-Welterbe Limes“ LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn vom 20. März bis 20. Juli 2014, Limesmuseum Aalen vom 16. August 2014 bist 22. Februar 2015, Museum Het Valkhof vom 21. März bis 21. Juni 2015 (Mainz 2014) 44–45; Manfred Hahn, Der bronzene Pferdekopf aus Augsburg, in: LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn, Archäologisches Landesmuseum Baden-Württemberg, Museum Het Valkhof Nijmegen (eds.), Gebrochener Glanz: Römische Großbronzen am UNESCO-Welterbe Limes, Begleitbuch zur Ausstellung „Gebrochener Glanz. Römische Großbronzen am UNESCO-Welterbe Limes“ LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn vom 20. März bis 20. Juli 2014, Limesmuseum Aalen vom 16. August 2014 bist 22. Februar 2015, Museum Het Valkhof vom 21. März bis 21. Juni 2015 (Mainz 2014) 49–51 (and Frank Willer, Technisches Profil, ibid., p. 50).
 Cf. Aura Piccioni, Zwischen klassischer und provinzialrömischer Archäologie: Die Großbronzefragmente Rätiens, in: Lydia Berger, Felix Lang, Claus Reinholdt, Barbara Tober, Jörg Weilhartner (eds.), Gedenkschrift für Wolfgang Wohlmayr, ArchaeoPlus 13 (2020) 327–333, part. 328.