A conversation with Cecily Hilsdale about the history and ritual functions of Egyptian obelisks, from ancient Egypt down to Rome, Constantinople, and beyond. What do obelisks mean to say and how do they function in their architectural settings, especially in the hippodrome of Constantinople? How do they project imperial ideologies?
Cecily Hilsdale is Associate Professor at McGill University. Her research focuses on diplomacy and cultural exchange, in particular the circulation of Byzantine luxury items as diplomatic gifts. The discussion is based on Cecily’s study of “Imperial Monumentalism, Ceremony, and Forms of Pageantry: The Inter-Imperial Obelisk in Istanbul,” in The Oxford World History of Empire, Vol. 1: The Imperial Experience (Oxford University Press, 2021).
Byzantium & Friends is hosted by Anthony Kaldellis, Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics at The Ohio State University. You can follow him on his personal website.
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