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Representations of EmpireRome and the Mediterranean World$
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Alan K. Bowman, Hannah M. Cotton, Martin Goodman, and Simon Price

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780197262764

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197262764.001.0001

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Domitian’s Palace on the Palatine and the Imperial Image

Domitian’s Palace on the Palatine and the Imperial Image

(p.104) (p.105) 6 Domitian’s Palace on the Palatine and the Imperial Image
Representations of Empire


British Academy

A Roman emperor was defined not simply by his own actions, but also by the manner in which he presented himself, the way he appeared in public, and the personal style he adopted in his interaction with the Senate and the people. A major element of that style lay in the manner of his domestic life and, closely related to this, how he handled the rituals associated with the imperial residence, such as the salutation and, above all, the invitations to an imperial convivium. Should the power of the emperor be put on display or concealed? In what kinds of settings should he carry out his duties? How could he simultaneously show off his status and power while playing the princeps in the manner of Augustus? It was evident from the very start that here was a fundamental flaw in the artful construction of Augustus. This is most evident in the honorific statues and other monuments associated with the worship of the emperor, in which Augustus and his Julio-Claudian successors, during their lifetimes, were represented both as civic officials in the toga and as nude figures with bodies modelled on gods and heroes. This chapter tries to understand better the new residence that Domitian built on the Palatine, at vast expense, to the plans of the architect Rabirius (according to Martial 7. 56), as a monument of imperial projection.

Keywords:   Roman emperors, Augustus, Domitian, Palatine, statues, monuments, Rabirius, salutation, convivium, princeps

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