University of Tasmania
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Imperial building projects at Rome: c. 31 BC - AD 138

posted on 2023-05-26, 06:01 authored by Apted, I
This thesis examines the building projects undertaken under the auspices of the emperors within the limits of the city of Rome, from the beginning of the Principate under Augustus and then on through the following principes until the death of Hadrian in A. D. 138. The thesis focuses upon a particular aspect of these imperial building projects, namely the use of the urban environment as a primary means by which individual emperors could define and promote publicly their conception of the role of the institution that their building activities were helping to create. To achieve this aim, a large and diverse body of evidence is addressed, including archaeological, literary, inscriptional, and numismatic evidence. In addition the thesis examines a broad, though selective, contribution from the body of modern scholarship that has concerned itself with both this evidence, and with the broader thematic concerns to which the thesis is addressed. Following a brief introductory chapter the thesis examines and outlines the building programme of Octavian/ Augustus. The major thematic concerns are identified in order to reveal the behavioural and ideological template that the first princeps created. The thesis then proceeds to examine in chronological order the building activities of the succeeding principes. Against the backdrop of the Augustan example the individualised and idiosyncratic nature of the Julio-Claudian conception of the role of the princeps is revealed. Then follows the reaction of the Flavian dynasty, largely conservative in nature, though evolving over time to incorporate some of the concepts first experimented with under the later Julio-Claudians. An examination of the Trajanic building programme follows, and is revealed as having been conservative in its forms, though idiosyncratic in its aims. In the final chapter concerning Hadrian, the competing traits of all the previous principes are found to have been resolved and consolidated, to provide a new template for imperial building behaviours. The thesis concludes with the finding that the individual conceptions of the Principate by its incumbents is able to be traced in their building programmes. Moreover it is shown that through a process of actively incorporating or rejecting the examples of predecessors, an acceptable compromise between the ideal and the reality of the role and public profile of the Principate was finally achieved and found form in the urban environment of the city of Rome.


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