Emperors and Ancestors: Roman Rulers and the Constraints of Tradition

Hardcover | April 19, 2015

byOlivier Hekster

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Ancestry played a continuous role in the construction and portrayal of Roman emperorship in the first three centuries AD. Emperors and Ancestors is the first systematic analysis of the different ways in which imperial lineage was represented in the various "media" through which images ofemperors could be transmitted. Looking beyond individual rulers, Hekster evaluates evidence over an extended period of time and differentiates between various types of sources, such as inscriptions, sculpture, architecture, literary text, and particularly central coinage, which forms the mostconvenient source material for a modern reconstruction of Roman representations over a prolonged period of time. The volume explores how the different media in use sent out different messages. The importance of local notions and traditions in the choice of local representations of imperial ancestry are emphasized, revealing that there was no monopoly on image-forming by the Roman centre and far lessinteraction between central and local imagery than is commonly held. Imperial ancestry is defined through various parallel developments at Rome and in the provinces. Some messages resonated outside the centre but only when they were made explicit and fitted local practice and the discourse of themedium. The construction of imperial ancestry was constrained by the local expectations of how a ruler should present himself, and standardization over time of the images and languages that could be employed in the "media" at imperial disposal. Roman emperorship is therefore shown to be a constantprocess of construction within genres of communication, representation, and public symbolism.

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Ancestry played a continuous role in the construction and portrayal of Roman emperorship in the first three centuries AD. Emperors and Ancestors is the first systematic analysis of the different ways in which imperial lineage was represented in the various "media" through which images ofemperors could be transmitted. Looking beyond ind...

Olivier Hekster is Professor of Ancient History at the Radboud University Nijmegen.

other books by Olivier Hekster

Rome and Its Empire, AD 193-284
Rome and Its Empire, AD 193-284

Hardcover|Jul 3 2008

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:432 pages, 9.69 × 7.44 × 1.2 inPublished:April 19, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198736827

ISBN - 13:9780198736820

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Table of Contents

PrologueAcknowledgementsList of FiguresList of TablesList of Abbreviations1. IntroductionPart 1: Family Ties2. Running in the Family3. Your Mother's Son4. We Go Way BackPart 2: Claiming Kinship5. Some Have Ancestors Thrust Upon Them6. Sons of Gods and Heroes7. The Tetrarchs: Divine Brothers and Fictive FathersConclusions: Emperors and Ancestral RepresentationsList of EmperorsStemmataBibliographyIndex locorumGeneral Index