ESR 5 Mapping Gender in Funerary Contexts

Gabriël de Klerk

The project will study how gender- and social status-related issues determine the organisation and reception of the monumental world of the dead throughout the Greek- and Latin-speaking Roman world. Women and men, young and old, slaves and masters are present in funerary poetry on their posthumous monuments and/or in dedicatory actions regarding the dead. We will therefore analyse representations of individuals and societal institutions that determine, code and decode the roles of gender and social identities within Roman imperial culture. The project will research on the ethical contexts of praise, spatial contexts of placement, literary models used, regional differences and chronological changes, the social and economic background of the people involved in the textual and material performance, as well as the visualisation of texts and reliefs on stone.

Most gender studies related to the Roman Empire have neglected gender theories and have not taken into account the specific literary and societal contexts of the genres of texts and monuments. Instead, such studies tried to come as close as possible to the real-life conditions or the normative framework of women’s lives. The study of the gendered space “taken over” by epigrammatic visualised art thus becomes an innovative model in methodology for future studies of social groups in pre-modern societies.

Expected Results
A doctoral thesis on the objectives mentioned above to create a general expertise on gender issues and the consequences of power and status questions for the display and reception of public spaces, and professional skills in digital editing.

Host Institution

Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz


Prof. Dr. Marietta Horster


Prof. Dr. María Teresa Muñoz García de Iturrospe (Vitoria)


At Université de Bordeaux, Ausonius-Institut de recherche sur l’Antiquité et le Moyen âge, with Dr. Milagros Navarro Caballero, expert on digital epigraphy, and Natalie Prévôt, director of the Digital Humanities training programme, as supervisors. It will provide expertise in a broad field of managing digital infrastructure and research support (April–May 2022).