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date: 19 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Among the many roles of Roman sculpture—whether private portraits, imperial propaganda, shop signs, or mythological Idealplastik—was the reinforcement of social stratifications, especially the hierarchy created by the gender binary so ingrained in classical cultures. While social class, foreign status, and transgressive sexual identities sometimes complicated matters, the iconography of “male” and “female” was mostly straightforward—even if the relationships between gender and power were sometimes knotty in the Roman world. This chapter explores those iconographies and the social roles on which they were based, as well as a few cases in which such standard imagery was contravened. It also addresses methods scholars have employed to bring issues of gender, sexuality, and status to the forefront of Roman art history. The chapter pays special attention to feminist scholarship on images of women and the means by which these asserted individual identity, cultural ideals of femininity, and sexual difference.

Keywords: gender, female, women, nudity, Kampen, portrait, body

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