ESR 5 Mapping Gender in Funerary Contexts

Gabriël de Klerk

This project will study how gender- and social status-related issues determine the organization and reception of the monumental world of the dead through the Latin-speaking Roman world. In particular, it will analyze the representation(s) and expression(s) of masculinity in Latin funerary epigraphy and the social and cultural dynamics that formulate such gendered utterances.

Most gender studies related to the Roman Empire have predominantly focused on sexuality, femininity, and queer theory, thereby leaving the field of ancient masculinity studies relatively underexplored. Furthermore, within the growing number of studies that analyze ancient masculine expressions of identity, Latin epigraphy is almost completely neglected as source material. The project will seek to fill this lacuna by studying the rendition of Roman men – both how they represented themselves, relatives, and acquaintances, and vice versa – in textual and visual form on Latin funerary epigraphy. In particular, the project’s corpus will consist mainly of poetic inscriptions. This, since the relatively high literary character and context of the inscriptions renders them suitable for a discussion of epigraphic masculine expressions that takes into consideration both ancient literary sources and modern studies that make use of such source material.

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).