Imagery and ideology : aspects of female representation in Roman art, with special reference to Britain and Gaul
The exploration of visual imagery can provide us with a route to a fuller
understanding of the perceptions and constructions of gender in Roman society. Therefore,
this thesis examines different facets of the various Roman ideologies of gender and the ways
in which these ideologies may have influenced visual representations within Roman culture.
Two ideological facets of the construction and representation of gender are analysed: the
association of women with Otherness and Nature, and the representation of women within
the context of personification and ideals. A variety of examples from a range of media are
examined in order to address these seemingly paradoxical constructions of femaleness
within Roman culture and imagery. The ideological perception of women as both `inside
and outside' of Roman culture seems to have been influential on their textual and visual
representation. Also, images of women, and their portrayal in metaphors of difference, were
often utilised in the self-definition of the dominant group within Roman society: elite citizen
men. Finally, the examination of Roman visual imagery, specifically female representations,
contributes to our understanding of the creation and maintenance of ideologies of gender
within Roman culture and their possible manifestation within provincial society.