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Title: Portrait busts of Roman women in the third century AD
Author: Ackers, Helen Inge
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 6475
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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The purpose of this dissertation is to conduct a comprehensive study of Roman women's portrait busts of the third century AD. The free-standing portrait bust forms a discrete historical category through which to trace developments in third-century women's portraiture. The high-status, commemorative tradition of the bust and the durability of this format, which could be displayed and utilised in a large range of different contexts, made this an important portrait genre for women in the third century. These busts consequently offer powerful insight into the ideological function and status of Roman women in the third century. By placing third-century women's busts in the context of their form, history and provenance, I hope to create a methodology that allows me to ascertain the ancient intention of these portraits. My hypothesis is that, while elements of self-styling and bust-format reveal innovation, the moral vocabulary of Empire as presented in women's portrait busts did not change dramatically in the third century. I will argue that these portraits reflect the heightened ideological status of certain forms of Roman femininity in this period. Rather than being expressive of spiritual escapism or emotional turmoil women's portrait busts functioned as a means of re-confirming the Roman rhetoric of feminine virtue in the third century.
Supervisor: Smith, R. R. R. Sponsor: Lorne Thyssen ; Wolfson College
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Portrait sculpture ; Roman ; Women--Rome--History ; Women in art--Rome ; Women--Rome--Social conditions ; Rome--Social life and customs