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Ancient World Seminar: Liesbeth Claes & Ylva Klaassen, 'Emperors and Ancestors - the Creation of an Imperial Image'

Wanneer:ma 16-06-2014 16:15 - 17:30
Waar:room 130

The emperor was omnipresent in the Roman Empire – not in person, but through his images, manufactured and distributed in large quantities throughout Italy and the provinces. The princeps was represented in statues and depicted on reliefs, his name was mentioned in countless inscriptions, his bust appeared on the coins, and writers immortalized him in their literary works. But how did imperial image-making function? The NWO-funded project ‘Emperors and ancestors: the creation of an imperial image’, carried out between 2009 and 2013 at the Radboud University Nijmegen and supervised by prof. Olivier Hekster, has tried to shed more light on this question through a systematical and comparative analysis of imperial images in a wide array of media and over a long stretch of time.

Liesbeth Claes and Ylva Klaassen will outline the original aims of the project and present its main conclusions. The general findings will be illustrated with a case study from their own sub-projects: the representation of Germanicus and the Younger Drusus as potential successors to Tiberius. Bringing together numismatic, epigraphic, monumental and literary evidence from the reign of Tiberius and later, they compare the depiction of these two men in various sources, highlighting and explaining the differences.

Liesbeth Claes and Ylva Klaassen participated in the project as PhD students. After completing her thesis on kinship messages in imperial coinage in 2013, Claes has been teaching ancient history at Leiden University. Klaassen finished her research on imperial succession in Tacitus at the end of 2013 and is due to defend her thesis in July.