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Roman Imperial Statue Bases

From Augustus to Commodus

Roman Imperial Statue Bases by Jakob Munk Højte
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The study of Roman imperial statues has made remarkable strides in the last two decades. Yet the field's understandable focus on extant portraits has made it difficult to generalize accurately. Most notably, bronze was usually the material of choice, but its high scrap value meant that such statues were inevitably melted down, so that almost all surviving statues are of stone. By examining the much larger and more representative body of statue bases, Jakob Munk Højte is here able to situate the statues themselves in context. This volume includes a catalogue of 2,300 known statue bases from nearly 800 sites throughout the Roman Empire. Moreover, since it covers a period of 250 years, it allows for the first time consistent geographic, chronological and commemorative patterns to emerge. Højte finds among other things that imperial portrait statues are connected chiefly with urban centres; that they were raised continuously during a given reign, with a higher concentration a couple years after accession; that a primary purpose was often to advertise a donor's merits; and that they increased sixfold in frequency from Augustus to Hadrian, an increase attributable to community dedications.
Aarhus University Press; November 2005
658 pages; ISBN 9788779349063
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Title: Roman Imperial Statue Bases
Author: Jakob Munk Højte