Rotem Cohen

Rotem Cohen

M.A. Thesis Topic: Graffiti between Gentiles and Jews: Graffiti Art as an expression of the identity in Jerusalem and its Environs during Hellenistic and Roman Periods

Advisor: Dr. Orit Peleg-Barkat

Abstract: Graffiti, i.e. texts and/or images that are engraved or painted by people who are not professional artists in public or private environments, buildings, objects, and natural sites, are nowadays viewed as an act of vandalism. In antiquity, however, graffiti was considered a legitimate tool for expressing ideas, messages, or attitudes of the makers of the graffiti. The study examines the appearance of graffiti in the region of Jerusalem and its environs during the Hellenistic and Roman periods (second century BCE to the fourth century CE), relying on the approach of anthropology of art, which is sub-field within Social Anthropology, that considers every work of art, even the most simple and ordinary ones, as a meaningful creation. The graffiti will be also examined in its environmental–architectural context, since graffiti should be seen as an active intervention of the person in his environment. The purpose of this study is to study both cultural differences between different ethnic groups and changes in their use of this medium over time.