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Durham University

Department of Classics and Ancient History

Creating the Emperor's Image

A two-day international workshop at Durham University

21-22 November, 2014

The Roman emperors and their immediate advisers worked hard to create and disseminate specific images of themselves. But their self-presentation did not exist in a vacuum: other groups at all social levels were involved in creating, re-creating, and interpreting images of the emperor in art and text. The Senate took charge of constructing monuments from the Ara Pacis to the Arch of Constantine; the cult activity of the Augustales was the closest many people would ever get to the emperor; writers of panegyric and biography each had the opportunity to shape their material; courtiers, family members, and other advisers stage-managed the emperor in person; and much more besides. This workshop will be a chance to discuss a wide range of authors and audiences involved in the creation of imperial imagery and ideology, asking how they reacted to the messages they received, and how the images they created fed back in to ‘official’ representations. 


Friday 21 November

2.00-2.30  Registration
2.30 Welcome Amy Russell (Durham)
2.40-4.40 Panel I: Beginnings Chair: Andrew Wallace-Hadrill (Cambridge)
A commemoration of commemorations: the Res Gestae in the context of Augustan epigraphy Gregory Rowe (Victoria)
The Senate and the creation of Augustan imagery on the Ara Pacis Amy Russell (Durham)
Augustus and Aeneas: ideology in action Olivier Hekster (Nijmegen)
4.40 Coffee
5.00-6.20 Panel II: Local elites Chair: Ted Kaizer (Durham)
Local and imperial: imperial honorifics as a symbolic space for local competition Monica Hellström (Columbia)
One princeps and many kings: how client kings helped to shape the image of the emperor Julia Wilker (Penn)
7.30 Dinner at a local restaurant

Saturday 22 November

9.00-10.20 Panel III: Plebs and Princeps Chair: Peter Heslin (Durham)
Opinio populi de Caesaribus: popular perceptions of the Roman emperor Panayiotis Christoforou (Oxford)
A bad public image? “Bad” emperors and their fans Katja Kröss (LMU Munich)
10.20 Coffee
10.40-12.40 Panel IV: The theology of imperial representation Chair: Edmund Thomas (Durham)
Sacrificia domi militiaeque Michael Koortbojian (Princeton)
The making of a deus: Augustus in Propertius 4 Bobby Xinyue (Exeter)
From Augustus’ shield to Theodora’s church: imperial virtues, inscriptions, and changing discourses on power in late antiquity Arkadiy Avdokhin (KCL)
12.40 Lunch
1.40-3.00 Panel V: Drawing comparisons Chair: James Corke-Webster (Durham)
Pax Augusta or Victoria Traiana? Hadrian’s image between supply and demand Christian Seebacher (RUBochum)
Exemplary Rome and the tyranny of Constantius: nostalgia and subversion in Ammianus Marcellinus

Mark Humphries (Swansea)

3.00-3.30 Closing discussion

Chair: Amy Russell (Durham)

Practical information

Papers will be 20 minutes long and followed by ample discussion. All events take place in the Ritson Room, in the Department of Classics, 38 North Bailey.

Registration is free and includes coffees, and lunch on Saturday. All are welcome to join the speakers for dinner on Friday night at a local restaurant; the cost will be £30. For catering purposes it would be helpful if participants could register (and let me know if they are planning to join us for dinner) by emailing by the first of November.

Please see here for information on travelling to Durham. The Department is within walking distance of the train station.