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9 - Imagines et tituli

Epigraphic Evidence of Imperial Imagery in Meeting Places of Roman Professional corpora

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 November 2020

Amy Russell
Affiliation:
Brown University, Rhode Island
Monica Hellström
Affiliation:
University of Durham
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Summary

This chapter focuses on occupational associations from Rome, Ostia, and other great harbours of the Roman west during the second and the early third century, and explores how these groups, rooted in the middling social categories, used, reacted to, and even created imperial imagery and ideology. Members of these communities met in meeting places where imperial imagery was omnipresent. Imperial imagines were a part of the decorative schemes of places where feasts and rituals celebrated the majesty of the domus Augusta. These objects fostered the politicisation of lower classes, spreading ideological conceptions of the central power and, at the same time, expressed adherence to the imperium. Associations expressed deference towards imperial power with several goals in mind. One part of their motivation was not political or ideological, but social. They aimed to appear to be honourable communities, respected because of their official recognition and their integration into civic life. The wealthiest members encouraged their peers to express loyalty towards imperial power, because political loyalism belonged to a specific habitus expected of candidates for social and civic climbing.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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