Roman Pride And Identity
Politics and Activism

Roman Pride And Identity

How sculptures such as the "Augustus of Prima Porta" and "A Roman Patrician With Busts of His Ancestors" united the Roman people.

1439
Wikimedia

Roman portraiture, including the desire to convey verism to the audience through art, was at a rise at the time of the Roman Republic and the Early Empire. Sculptures such as A Roman Patrician With Busts of His Ancestors and the Augustus of Prima Porta aimed to communicate the power of tradition and identity to the viewers. It is to no surprise that the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire thrived with the help of a solid national identity.

The Roman Republic sprung from the defeat of Tarquinis Superbus of the Monarchy. During this new period of rule, the power was in the hands of a senate, a council of elders that oversaw the functions of the Republic. The leaders of the Republic were all patricians, or, by definition, a class of wealthy landowners. Roman patricians took pride in their lineage and family heritage and gave credit to their ancestors for successfully forming and maintaining the Republic. The large influence this family pride had on Roman sculpture is non-debatable. All patricians had imagines, or portrait masks of their ancestors, in their homes. These imagines were often paraded at patrician funeral as a celebration and remembrance of the dead. Such imagines were essential in separating the wealthy patricians from the plebeian class. The sculpture of A Roman Patrician With Busts of His Ancestors, dated back to the late 1st century AD, demonstrates just how prominent these imagines were in society. This life-size marble statue depicts a Roman patrician, dressed in a toga and holding two marble heads of his ancestors. The toga in itself was a “badge” of Roman citizenship. The imagines are most likely the portraits of this patrician’s father and grandfather. Verism also plays a distinct role in this sculpture, as replicating the exact facial characteristics of their ancestors was important to patricians. The more realistic the sculpture, the closer the patricians were to their ancestors.

Upon the fall of the Roman Republic, Augustus and Mark Antony’s fight for the throne resulted in a civil war. Augustus came out of this civil war with a defeat against Mark Antony and gained his place at the throne. This new historical period came to be known as the Early Empire. During this time, both individual and national identity, combined with authority, continued to play key roles in Roman portraiture. Their influence can be seen in the Augustus of Prima Porta, a marble sculpture of Augustus created in the 1st century AD after his restoration of order throughout Rome and the formation of the Roman Empire. In this statue, Augustus is depicted as general in armor as he stands gloriously, eyes on the horizon, arm raised. Clearly, his power can’t be questioned. He presents himself as the ideal person to lead the Romans through the early stages of this new empire. At the time, Augustus is a well known man with military expertise, but he is able to establish a “connection” to the people by being presented as a common man, specifically through a barefoot depiction of himself. Such a sculpture brings pride and hope to the Roman people, as their national identity is embodied by Augustus. However, Augustus personally sets himself apart from the common people with the representation of Cupid at his foot. This cupid traces Augustus to the goddess Venus and illustrates his divine lineage.

Through sculptures such as A Roman Patrician With Busts of His Ancestors and the Augustus of Prima Porta, ancient Roman artists communicated messages of power, personal pride, and national identity to the Roman people. In the end, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire have been remembered for their awe-inspiring art and superior leaders. With this, the Romans set an example for modern society: the use of art as a form of propaganda is extremely effective.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

These 11 Face Masks On Etsy Support Small Businesses While Fighting The Spread Of Coronavirus

We're staying safe as states start lifting lockdown guidelines.

I, like most people who have had the luxury of being able to stay at home during this time, haven't spent much time outdoors at all. But when I do brave the great outdoors for a walk or to get to the grocery store, you won't find me without a mask.

My family and I were lucky enough to have family friends who were sewing some and had extras to give to us, but most of my friends and loved ones outside my immediate family have had to order some (or make a makeshift one out of scarves or bandanas).

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

13 Reasons We're Using Quarantine As The Ultimate Excuse For Online Shopping This Month

The one thing we haven't distanced from is our bank account.

Throughout quarantine, I've been FaceTiming most of my friends in a full turtleneck or the go-to cozy sweater I keep wrapped around the chair in my room. Either way, I always have tea in my hands to keep myself warm — till this past week.

For most of the country who hasn't had the luck of quarantining in 90-degree weather on their family's lake house or with a backyard pool, things began to change this month. Our favorite shows came out with summer seasons, the sun came out, and we started spending more time outside.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down (Virtually) With Morgan Wooten To Talk About Coronavirus's Impact On The Wellness Industry

Just because coronavirus has greatly impacted the wellness industry doesn't mean wellness stops.

Morgan Wooten

If you're anything like me, your weekly fitness classes are a huge part of your routine. They keep me fit, healthy, and sane. Honestly, these classes help my mental health stay in tip-top shape just as much as they help my physical health.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, gyms and fitness studios are facing temporary closure. Yes, this means my personal routine is thrown a curveball, but this also means the wellness industry is one of many that is looking at unemployment and hardship. Do I miss my Monday spin class? Of course. But do the wellness professionals whose worlds were flipped upside down have a lot more to overcome than a slight change of routine? Absolutely. Thankfully, if anyone can prove the ultimate flexibility, it's the wellness industry.

Keep Reading... Show less
HBO Max

If you are a normal person who spends most of their time streaming TV shows, you'll know that "Friends" was taken off Netflix early in 2020. Given that a global pandemic followed shortly after, many diehard fans of the show stuck in quarantine have been experiencing significant Central Perk withdrawal.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

How To Interview A Class Of 2020 Graduate

What they've been through is truly unprecedented.

Odyssey

No matter how you want to spin it, the Class of 2020 will be the first class graduating amidst a global pandemic.

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

By now, it is safe to declare "Outer Banks" on Netflix as THE TV Show of quarantine.

"Tiger King" got out to an early lead, but since, the Pogues and the Kooks have owned pop culture conversations while everyone has been cooped up this spring amidst a global pandemic. And if you are one of the very few people out there in the world that has not heard about "Outer Banks" and or haven't binged it yet, well...

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments