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How was the Roman emperor viewed by his subjects? How strongly did their perception of his role shape his behaviour? Adopting a fresh approach, Panayiotis Christoforou focuses on the emperor from the perspective of his subjects across the Roman Empire. Stress lies on the imagination: the emperor was who he seemed, or was imagined, to be. Through various vignettes employing a wide range of sources, he analyses the emperor through the concerns and expectations of his subjects, which range from intercessory justice to fears of the monstrosities associated with absolute power. The book posits that mythical and fictional stories about the Roman emperor form the substance of what people thought about him, which underlines their importance for the historical and political discourse that formed around him as a figure. The emperor emerges as an ambiguous figure. Loved and hated, feared and revered, he was an object of contradiction and curiosity.

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