Engineering Power: The Roman Triumph as Material Expression of Conquest, 211-55 BCE
Roy, Alyson Maureen
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This dissertation explores the intersection between the Roman triumph, architecture, and material culture. The triumph was a military parade that generals were granted for significant victories and represented the pinnacle of an elite Roman man’s career, engendering significant prestige. My interest is in the transformation of the transitory parade, into what I term “material expressions of power” including architecture, decoration, inscriptions, and coins. I assert that from the mid-third century BCE through the mid-first century BCE, material expressions of power became of central importance to elite expressions of prestige. More importantly, by tracing the process of bringing plundered material to Rome, constructing victory monuments, and decorating them with plundered art, I have determined that this process had a profound impact on the development of a luxury art market in Rome, through which elite Romans bought objects that resembled triumphal plunder, and on the development of a visual language of power that the Romans used to talk to each other about conquest and that they then exported into the provinces as a material expression of their authority.
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