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Greek and Roman Portraits (Classical Bookshelf) [Paperback]

Susan Walker

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Book Description

Oct 1995 Classical Bookshelf
This text is an introduction to the development of the art of portraiture and its role in ancient Greek and Roman society. In the ancient world, as now, portraits were made to defy death, to commemorate personal achievement, wealth and social status, and to familiarize people with the rulers and the most distinguished men and women of their day. This book traces the origins of portraiture in archaic Greece and the emergence of images of recognizable individuals, whether poets or philosophers or Hellenistic Greek kings. Within the Roman world, portraits reflected a growing sense of Roman identity; at the same time the Romans were collectors of portraits of famous Greeks. Portraiture was of a particular importance in the 1st century BC when, with the collapse of the Roman Republic and the establishment of the empire, portraits were used to advance the causes of competing politicians - one example is the creation and dissemination of the image of the first emperor, Augustus, which is discussed in detail. The book examines the problems of interpreting ancient portraits and addresses some more unusual aspects of portraiture, such as the significance of the beard in the ancient world.

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