Representing Agrippina: Constructions of Female Power in the Early Roman Empire (American Philological Association American Classical Studies)

Representing Agrippina: Constructions of Female Power in the Early Roman Empire (American Philological Association American Classical Studies)

Judith Ginsburg


Agrippina the more youthful, spouse of the emperor Claudius and mom of his successor Nero, wielded energy and authority on the middle of the Roman empire in methods unrivaled through virtually the other lady in Roman background. Such, at the very least, is the portrait of Agrippina introduced by way of our resources and perpetuated in smooth scholarship. during this posthumous paintings, Judith Ginsburg offers a clean examine either the literary and fabric representations of Agrippina. not like past remedies, she seeks neither to sentence nor to rehabilitate Agrippina. Nor does she undertaking to exhume the "real Agrippina" from the decorated or fabricated images came across one of the ancients. Ginsburg trains her concentrate on the representations themselves. Her painstaking dissection of the portrayals by way of historians exposes the rhetorical tropes, the recurrent motifs, and the craft that formed the literary photo of Agrippina. The designs, as Ginsburg exhibits, have been greater than literary prospers. They aimed to blur the limits among the family and the imperial nation-states, deploying identical to Agrippina as domineering spouse and mom to signify the failings and instability of the regime, a dysfunctional relatives entailing a dysfunctional method of governance. Gender inversions at domestic performed themselves out at the public scene as imperial rule compromised via lady ascendancy. Distorted stereotypes of the "wicked stepmother," the domineering lady, and the sexual transgessor have been utilized to underscore the violations of prestige and disruption of gender family members that characterised the imperial management. Ginsburg has as willing a watch for visible (mis)representations as for literary ones. The depictions of Agrippina on coinage and statuary offer a stark distinction with the written proof. She seems to be as matron and priestess, emblematic of household rectitude and public piety, and a primary determine within the continuity of the dynasty. Ginsburg incisively demonstrates the capacity wherein Agrippina's imagery used to be molded either to serve the pursuits of the Julio-Claudian regime and to strengthen the ends of its critics.

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