Week 11: Power and Image in Republican Rome

There are many ways in which characterize Roman political culture during the period of the Republic (generally understood as ca. 509-30 BC; we have reliable testimony on this period only from about the 2nd century onwards):  adherence to tradition; pride in family lineage; aversion to anything resembling kingship; aristocratic competition; admiration for military glory; intense belief in the moral superiority of Rome.  Increased conflict with her immediate neighbors and contact with the volatile politics of the East brought many of these characteristics into conflict with one another.  In the last few centuries leading up to the end of the Republic, art, image and building were increasingly used to negotiate this complex political arena.  This visual side of Republican politics is informed by the Romans’ view of themselves and their traditions but also informed by the canons of artistic expression in the East with which they come increasingly close contact as the period progresses.


N. Hannestad. 1988.  Roman Art and Imperial Policy, “Introduction” and “The Republic,” pp 9-38.  Hannestad Republic

P. Zanker.  1988.  The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus,  “Introduction” & “Ch. 1: Conflict and Contradiction in the Imagery of the Dying Republic,” pp  1-31. Zanker 1-31

M. Beard.  2007.  The Roman Triumph.  “Introduction” and “Chapter 1” Beard Roman Triumph prologue ch. 1


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