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Elena Claudi

Classics, University of Warwick

Thesis title:

The Representation of Otherness in the Imagines of Philostratus

My PhD project explores representations of ‘otherness’ in the Imagines of Philostratus, an ecphrastic Greek text (II-III century CE) that provides descriptions of ancient paintings displayed in a fictional Neapolitan gallery. My research explores a new perspective on cultural identity and addresses not only the representation of foreigners, but also those of characters who are portrayed as ‘different’ in a broader sense, whether with regard to physical features or behaviour. 

I pay special attention also to these characters’ artistic representations, as the Imagines is a unique case-study for investigating how identity formation works not only in textual, but also in visual dynamics. The approach of this research also addresses all the five senses that the Imagines engages to explore how Philostratus constructs cultural identity through an aesthetic and sensorial experience.

The aim is not only to explore how identity and boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘others’ are constructed, but also to provide methodological and critical tools that are still relevant today for understanding how the othering of people works in artistic and literary representations more broadly in various historical contexts.


Research Area

  • Classical Literature
  • Classics