Greek and Roman Portraits (Classical Bookshelf)

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9780714122038: Greek and Roman Portraits (Classical Bookshelf)
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In the ancient world, as now, portraits were made to defy death, to commemorate personal achievement, wealth and social status, and to familiarise people with their rulers and the most distinguished men and women of their day. This book traces the origins of portraiture in archaic Greece and the emergence of images of recognisable individuals, whether poets or philosophers or Hellenistic Greek kings. Within the Roman world portraits reflected a growing sense of Roman identity; at the same time the Romans were passionate collectors of portraits of famous Greeks. Portraiture was of particular importance in the first century BC when, with the collapse of the Roman Republic and the establishment of the empire, portraits were used to advance the causes of competing politicians: a particularly illuminating example is the creation and dissemination of the image of the first emperor, Augustus, which is discussed here in detail.
With the aid of numerous illustrations, Susan Walker examines the problems of interpreting ancient portraits and addresses some more unusual aspects of portraiture, such as the significance of the beard in the ancient world. Dress, hairstyles and background 'props' can all help the modern viewer to place the subjects of ancient portraits in their historical and social context.

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About the Author:

Susan Walker is Deputy Keeper of the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the British Museum.

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Published by British Museum Pubns Ltd (1995)
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