Figures de Cyclopes dans la Rome antique
The figures of the Cyclops in ancient Greece are developed through a rich variety of expressions in literature and in the figurative arts. The Etruscan civilization, in turn, made an interesting and original contribution to this development in the field of figurative representations, based on the Homeric episode. In a previous paper, I proposed to rewrite and reinvestigate this theme in literature from the Augustan era and I discovered an imagery of the Cyclops peculiar to the Romans, based on imitatio and innovatio. Roman art follows a different route from literature but one which suggests, again, a sense of continuity and which, in addition to imagination in itself, is related to Greek Cyclopes. The figures of Cyclopes have found various forms of expression within the major art forms of ancient Rome. This paper will not be an exhaustive study of these representations, but will focus primarily on three major characteristics. Overall, the Latin uniqueness lies partly in the treatment of certain iconographic traditions of the Cyclops abandoned by Greek imagery, such as Cyclopes blacksmiths, related to the worship of Vulcan, or the tale of Polyphemus and Galatea, inspired by Alexandrian poetry, which is a more intimate kind of scene, found especially in paintings in Roman private villas. Finally, the Homeric tradition reached its apogee in the Roman art in the imperial age, when we find Polyphemus invited to the banquet of the Caesars, placed a grand staging and in the context of new Odyssean adventures. We insist on the learned weaving of Greek literary and artistic traditions operated by the Romans, alongside Roman innovations.