The self-presentation of the triumviral aristocracy
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This thesis analyses the self-presentation of the Roman aristocracy during the triumviral period. Aristocratic self-fashioning has been of great interest to scholars studying both the republic and empire; this study focuses on the transitional period of the civil war and political settlement. The key features of the approach adopted in this thesis are that it focuses on the individuality of the aristocrats, rather than political groupings, and considers their self-presentation as an aspect of the creation of political culture, not merely a response to it. This thesis brings together the evidence for self-presentation in three media: building, speech, and writing. Chapter one establishes the foundation for these studies by reconstructing the careers of two aristocrats, C. Asinius Pollio and L. Munatius Plancus, and analysing the priorities they, and the rest of the triumviral aristocrats, pursued in their careers. Chapter two analyses the corpus of monumental building by the triumviral aristocrats, chiefly those who held triumphs, and demonstrates the way in which they used these structures to advertise their military achievements and their generosity to the Roman people. Chapters three and four argue that the triumviral aristocrats had more opportunities for oratory than has traditionally been alleged, and that they exploited these to pursue their political goals. The talented orators competed with their peers and predecessors in order to establish their fame within the tradition of Latin oratory. Chapter five analyses the outpouring of autobiographical writing after the civil wars, as a means by which the aristocrats sought to promote themselves and justify their careers and actions in the civil wars. The major goal of the triumviral aristocrats in their careers and their self-presentation was to establish and protect their dignitas (reputation or standing). Through the examination of the three media we see the various ways they exploited office, honours, and skill to advertise themselves as traditional republican high-achievers.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2019-05-30
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 30th May 2019
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