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Introduction - An Imagined Emperor

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 July 2023

Panayiotis Christoforou
Affiliation:
University of Oxford
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Summary

The opening epigraph is from Calpurnius Siculus’ first eclogue, here recounting the prophecy of Faunus inscribed on a beech tree. It is found by Corydon and Oryntus in their effort to escape the sun in late summer.3 The inscription describes the coming of a new golden age, precipitated by a young emperor who will restore peace and order, to the joy of the people, and bring back a time of plenty and life without care, just as the poets had described.4 In many ways, it captures the essence of several themes that will be explored in this book, which is a study of the perception and reception of the Roman emperor from the perspective of his subjects. These are timelessness, comparability, and liminality, which can be explained as follows. The temporal dimension involves the continual existence of the emperorship, in the sense of the idea of the permanence of the emperor, which gave him a timeless quality.

Type
Chapter
Information
Imagining the Roman Emperor
Perceptions of Rulers in the High Empire
, pp. 1 - 5
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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