Document Type

Honors Project


This paper examines the depiction of Roman freedwomen (former slaves) in thirty-five late Republican and Augustan funerary portraits. Extant portraits utilize a complex visual and written vocabulary to reveal a wide variety of views of freedwomen’s status and agency. This paper relies upon analyses of the cultural climates of the late Republican and Augustan period, careful interrogation of the material evidence through the lens of both post-structuralist and affective theory, and the use of case studies. Ultimately, it argues that funerary portraits create diverse representations of the ideal freedwoman that become part of an ongoing cultural dialogue concerning the place of freedwomen in Roman society.



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