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School of Classics > Events > Conferences > 2007-2008 > Identity, Representation And The Principate

Identity, Representation And The Principate AD14-68 18th - 20th June 2008

A three day conference hosted by the School of Classics, University of St Andrews
Organised by Dr Alisdair Gibson

There have been important developments in research on individual emperors and the historiography of the first century offering different approaches to examination of the individual principates. However, there have been relatively few attempts to draw out the continuities and disjunctions between different members of the imperial family, both in their political practice and (more importantly for this project) their representation. There have of course been studies of individuals over the past century – from biographies containing intimate portraits to more wide-ranging political examinations, and detailed literary studies. Nevertheless, there have been few opportunities to debate the range of issues found in a post-Augustan world.

This conference is an opportunity to explore the links between different patterns of representation of the emperors in the sources across a wide variety of different contexts - ranging from textual and visual images sponsored by the emperors themselves through to the equally subjective rendering left to us in literature. The conference will allow key researchers in the field to promote new approaches to the study of the Julio-Claudian emperors and to come together to present papers on a range of issues around the representation or self-representation of individual emperors from the accession of Tiberius to the fall of Nero. While the conference is based around Julio-Claudian representations in order to maintain focus, it is not committed to seeing that category as a self-evident one.

There are a number of themes that will be examined by historiographers, art historians, archaeologists, prosopographers and numismatists. While these are not necessarily all new questions, the speakers will bring fresh ideas and new interpretations of the evidence. Scholars will deliver papers which either take an overarching view of individual emperors within the context of the Julio-Claudian imperial family or will focus on particular elements of a specific principate using literary or material evidence.


  • Ted Champlin, Princeton University
  • Robin Seager, University of Liverpool
  • Matthew Roller, John Hopkins University
  • Rolf Schneider, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich
  • Roger Rees, University of St Andrews
  • Andrew Burnett, British Museum
  • Jeremy Paterson, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Emma Buckley, University of St Andrews
  • John Drinkwater, University of Nottingham
  • Steven L. Tuck, Miami University
  • Timothy A. Joseph, College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts
  • Sarah T. Cohen, Dalhousie University
  • Eleanor Cowan. University of Leicester
  • Richard Grossmann, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Alisdair Gibson, University of St Andrews
  • Jula Wildberger, The American University of Paris
  • Benjamin W. Hicks, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey



All papers, tea and coffee: Seminar room 6, School of Art History, 9A The Scores
Registration:School of Classics, Swallowgate, Butts Wynd
Lunch: Swallowgate 11, School of Classics, Butts Wynd
Reception: Class Library, School of Classics, Butts Wynd
Dinner Wednesday: Zizzi's, South Street
Dinner Thursday: Byre Theatre, off South Street

Wednesday 18th June

10 -1 Registration - School of Classics, Swallowgate, Butts Wynd

2 Conference opens - School of Art History, No. 9 The Scores, Seminar Room 6

2 Introduction

Alisdair Gibson, University of St Andrews

2.10 Welcome Greg Woolf, Head of School, University of St Andrews

A. Succession 1

Chair, Greg Woolf (St Andrews)

2.20 Robin Seager, University of Liverpool, Perceptions of the domus Augusta, AD 4-24 .

3 Matthew Roller, John Hopkins University, The Problem with Being Tiberius .


B. Self-Representation 1

Chair, Jon Coulston (St Andrews)

4.10 Rolf Schneider, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Changing faces: visual ideologies in imperial and non-imperial portraits from Augustus to Nero

4.50 Richard Grossmann, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Images of Augustus under the Julio-Claudians (and Beyond)

6 Reception:
The Classics Library, School of Classics

7.30 Informal meal in Zizzi’s restaurant, South Street

Thursday 19th June

C. Political identities 1

Chair, Harry Hine (St Andrews)

9.30 Sarah T. Cohen, Dalhousie University, An Impossible Exile: Tiberius on Capri

10.10 John Drinkwater , University of Nottingham, Nero Caesar and the Half-Baked Principate.


B. Self- Representation 2

Chair, Greg Woolf (St Andrews)

11.30 Andrew Burnet, Deputy Director, British Museum, Provincial coins and a developing imperial identity.

12.10 Steven L. Tuck, Miami University: Caligula, Nero and the Re-definition of Virtus in Imperial Rome.

Rm S11 School of Classics

A. Succession 2

Chair, Robin Seager (Liverpool)

2.00 Eleanor Cowan, University of Leicester, Succession. The presentation of Tiberius’ relationship with Augustan precedent in contemporary (Tiberian) sources.

2.40 Alisdair Gibson, University of St Andrews, All things to all men: Claudius, politics and perception in AD41.


C. Political Identities 2

Chair, Roger Rees (St Andrews)

3.10 Emma Buckley, University of St Andrews, Nero insitiuus: imperial identity and self-representation in the pseudo-Senecan “Octavia”.

4.20 Ben W. Hicks, Rutgers,“Unfortunate Rather than Wicked”: Failure to Communicate in the De Legatione ad Gaium

7.30 Conference Meal: The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street

Friday 20th June

C. Political identities 3

Chair, Alisdair Gibson (St Andrews)

9.30 Jula Wildberger, The American University of Paris, The emperor as a moral person in the context of friendship: the example of Nero

10.10 Roger Rees, University of St Andrews: Nero and Tacitus’ portrayal of Piso.


D. Imperial elements

Chair, Christopher Smith (St Andrews)

11.30 Jeremy Paterson, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne: ‘A bun for the elephant’ (Suetonius DA 53.2): imperial audiences and the construction of power in the Early Roman Empire.

12.10 Timothy A. Joseph, College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts: The cautionary exempla of the Julio-Claudians in Tacitus’ Histories.


1.00 Lunch Rm S11 School of Classics


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Research Seminars

Please direct enquiries to

Tom Geue, 
School of Classics,
University of St Andrews,
St Andrews KY16 9AL.


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