Ralf von den Hoff

Klassische Archäologie, Freiburg
Aufenthalt: 01.10.2018–31.03.2019


Professor of Classical Archaeology  (Freiburg i. Br., since 2006). PhD Bonn 1992, Travelling Fellowship of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) 1992-1993; Ass. LMU Munich 1994-2004; Ass. Prof. JHU Baltimore 1999-2000; Habilitation LMU Munich 2000; Print-editor of the German 'Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum'/Bavarian Academy of Sciences 2004-2006; Member of the Central Commitee of the DAI since 2009; speaker of the Collaborative Research center (SFB) 948 'Heroes - Heroizations - Heroisms' at Freiburg University since 2012; Research Fellow  Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies (FRIAS) 2012-2013.


Visual culture of Ancient Greece; Hellenistic Sculpture; Ancient Portraiture; Ruler Representation in Ancient Greece and Rome; Greek Heroes


Narrative Action Portraits and Ruler Image. The Heroization of Deeds in the Portraiture of Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE) was a revolutionary model of the ancient king. Since the late 4th century BCE - and even beyond the late antique period - his image was re-modelled in different genres and media. Alexander‘s static portraits, as passed down to us in sculpture, coinage and paintings, communicated particular qualities attributed to him. His narrative action portraits (‘Handlungsporträts’), on the other hand, are the topic of my research project. Its objective is to study the images of Alexander ‘in action’ from the late 4th century BCE through the 3rd/4th century CE. Inasmuch as such portraits visually converted qualities into deeds (and vice versa), the relations of ruler portraits to ruler deeds are focused upon as a particular factor of ancient portrait representation. The portraits will be examined as visual figurations in order to identify the diachronically changing imaginations of Alexander. It is one of the assumptions of this project that the topics, the iconographies and the media of these narrative action portraits were deliberately chosen in order to attribute heroic deeds to Alexander, comparable to those of mythological heroes. Hence, they would eminently contribute to the communication of the particular as attributed to the ruler and king, complementing the static portraits of Alexander in a distinct manner and under different categories of exemplarity.

Publikationen (Auswahl)

- Philosophenporträts des Früh- und Hochhellenismus (München 1994)
- Divus Augustus. Der erste römische Kaiser und seine Welt (München 2014) (together with Winfried Stroh und Martin Zimmermann)

Edited Volumes:
- Early Hellenistic Portraiture: Image, Style, Context (Cambridge 2007) (together with Peter Schultz)
- Structure, Image, Ornament. Architectural Sculpture in the Greek World (Oxford 2009) (together with Peter Schultz)
- Rollenbilder in der Athenischen Demokratie: Medien, Gruppen, Räume im politischen und sozialen System (Wiesbaden 2009) (together with Matthias Haake and Christian Mann)
- Helden wie sie. Übermensch - Vorbild - Kultfigur in der griechischen Antike (Freiburg 2010) (together with Marion Meyer)
- Imitatio heroica. Heldenangleichung im Bildnis (Würzburg 2015) (together with Felix Heinzer, Hans Hubert and Anna Schreurs-Morèt)
- La vie des portraits grecs. Statues-portraits du Ve au Ier siècle av. J.-C. (Paris 2017) (together with Francois Queyrel)