Concealing/Revealing: Gender and the Play of Meaning in the Monuments of Augustan Rome<sup>†</sup>

Barbara Kellum

in Sex and Difference in Ancient Greece and Rome

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780748613199
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651016 | DOI:
Concealing/Revealing: Gender and the Play of Meaning in the Monuments of Augustan Rome†

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The interrelatedness of gender and power is key to an understanding of the monuments of Augustan Rome. Gender can be a useful category of analysis, precisely because it tends to destabilise our understanding of the past. Gender encodings, even at the most basic level of reading, are not transparent. One of a series of terracotta Campana plaques from the Temple of Apollo on the Palatine has sometimes been identified as Apollo and Diana crowning a sacred pillar. A consideration of hairstyle and costume, and a recognition of the central device, establishes that this is a pas de deux for two maidens, decorating an aniconic representation of Apollo Agyieus, a type of critical importance to Augustus and to the Palatine complex. In context, the repeated plaques were self-consciously juxtaposed with their masculine counterparts, Apollo and Hercules, locked in contest over the Delphic tripod. This chapter examines the Forum of Augustus with its Temple of Mars Ultor dedicated in 2 bce and argues that it was a sexually charged, gendered masculine environment.

Keywords: Augustus; Rome; gender; power; monuments; Temple of Apollo; Mars Ultor; Palatine complex; plaques

Chapter.  4600 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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