This article provides a gender perspective on the Roman imago, the male ancestor mask, by arguing that imagines were deeply entangled in elite women’s lives in the Republic and Empire. When an elite woman was a filia, they were a vivid and didactic presence in the atrium of her natal home. When she was a nupta and uxor, copies of her patrilineal and matrilineal imagines were transferred from her natal home to her marital home. When she was a matrona and mater, her marital home could accrue more imagines when her male relatives attained the aedileship (or the higher curule magistracies) and she herself could use them didactically with her children. If an elite woman’s marriage was dissolved by death or divorce, any surviving children might inherit copies of her bridal imagines. When an elite woman died, a pompa imaginum could be part of her funus. Finally, a female maior and her patrilineal and matrilineal imagines could constitute and signify elite identities. I argue that these imagines and accompanying tituli could function as an inheritance and dos for an elite woman, and as a deposit of symbolic capital, embodying her social position and status. The imagines were an important mechanism for transferring elite female social position and status between families, and an elite woman’s own commendatio maiorum.



Eius te suscitat imago, cuius effígia, quo gnatu’s patre.
It is his ancestor mask and image that stirs you, that of the father by whom you were born.
Afr. frs. 363-364 Ribbeck.


The relationships between the Roman imago, the male ancestor mask, and elite male lives have been well established, notably by Harriet Flower1. Yet very little has been said about their roles in the lives of elite women2. In this article, I provide a gender perspective on the imagines by arguing that they were deeply entangled in elite women’s lives in the Republic and Empire3. I begin with background on the imagines, demonstrating their fundamental connection with elite identities and their function as an inheritance, and then provide my own definition for elite women. Thereafter, I trace their presence and didactic role in the atrium (entrance hall) of the natal home of a filia (daughter), and their reproduction and transfer from the natal to marital atrium for a nupta (bride) and uxor (wife). I then examine the accumulation and didactic use of imagines in the marital home of a matrona (married woman) and mater (mother), speculate on their (re)configurations on the occasions of remarriage or divorce, identify their presence in the funera (funerals) of some elite women, and underline the associations between a female maior (ancestor), imagines, and elite identities. I will argue that these imagines and accompanying tituli (descriptive inscriptions) could function as an inheritance and dos (dowry) for an elite woman, and as a deposit of symbolic capital, embodying her social position (rank) and status (prestige, symbolic capital)4. I conclude that imagines were an important mechanism for transferring elite female social position and status between families, and an elite woman’s own commendatio maiorum (commendation of the ancestors).


Imagines maiorum

The imagines maiorum, male ancestor masks made of wax, were fundamental to elite identities in the Roman Republic and Empire5. If an elite man attained the public magisterial office of aedile (plebeian or curule) or the higher curule magistracies (praetorship or consulship if he skipped the aedileship), he attained the customary (not legal) right to bequeath his imago to his male and female descendants, the ius imaginis ad memoriam posteritatemque prodendae (Cic. Verr. 2.5.36)6. As an elite woman could not attain public magisterial office, she did not have the same right, and thus could not bequeath her own imago7. Nevertheless, imagines were an indelible part of elite women’s lives, as I will argue below8.

This imago was a life-like wax mask, created by fictores (image-makers), typically during the life of an elite man, and presumably subsequent to his election to the aedileship (or praetorship or consulship if he skipped the aedileship). It was thence typically a life-mask not a death-mask, although it was only displayed after his death9. Such imagines were held and displayed in armaria (cupboards) within the atrium of an elite home10. They were accompanied by tituli, perhaps affixed to the armaria, which provided an abbreviated summary of the highest public offices and honours obtained by elite men, including consulships, censorships, triumphs and possibly other magisterial and sacerdotal offices11. In this way, the imagines and accompanying tituli materialised and memorialised the achievements of the male ancestors of a household, both patrilineal and matrilineal12. Moreover, imagines were located near imagines pictae (painted family portraits) linked by lines to form a stemma (family tree)13. The family and its achievements were thus on conspicuous display in the atria of elite homes, one of the first sights for any visitor.

Beyond their domestic presence, imagines played a central role in elite funerary practice. Some elite funerals included a pompa funebris (funeral procession), wherein the deceased was ceremonially transported from the atrium of an elite home to the rostra in the Forum, where a laudatio funebris (funerary oration) was delivered by one of the deceased’s relatives14. This pompa funebris was a vibrant spectacle, including (in approximate order) musicians, dancers, professional mourners, actors emulating the family’s ancestors in chronological order of death (earliest first) accompanied by retinues, the bier with the deceased, and family and friends dressed in mourning clothes behind the bier15. Notably, the actors-as-ancestors wore the imagines and magisterial or honorific garb of said ancestors (e.g., praetorian, consular, censorial, or triumphal), rode in carriages, were accompanied by appropriate retinues (lictors etc.), and simulated the behaviours of the ancestors16. These actors-as-ancestors were adorned with all the symbols and trappings of the ancestors’ public magisterial offices and honours. They were thus embodied exempla of male ancestors and a living manifestation of the family’s achievements. Tacitus termed the procession of actors-as-ancestors the pompa imaginum (ancestor masks procession) (Tac. Ann. 4.9). Once the procession reached the rostra, the actors-as-ancestors sat down there on ivory chairs (cf. curule) in chronological order (of death): an arresting and public display of an elite family’s imagines maiorum17. Moreover, according to Polybius, the bier was positioned on the rostra and the deceased propped upright (Polyb. 6.5.1). The deceased was thus represented as joining the ranks of the maiores (ancestors) themselves18. The spectacle of the pompa imaginum and subsequent laudatio funebris inscribed the deceased into memory, locating them in a long line of maiores, and celebrated the continuity, social position, and status of the family19.

The imagines were in use from before the early third century BCE to (perhaps) the sixth century CE – attested textually from Plautus to Boethius (Plaut. Amph. 458-459; Boethius, Con. 1.pros.1.3) – but the exact terminus of their usage is uncertain20. Their presence in funerals for non-imperial elite families was restricted by the early third century CE, but they remained in (some) non-imperial elite homes until perhaps the sixth century CE21. In the Republic, the imago was a vital symbol of social position, status, and identity for the aristocracy of office (or office-holding caste), sc. patricio-plebeian senatorial families with ancestors who were office-holders. An imago symbolised an elite man’s attainment of magisterial public office, while its accompanying titulus lauded the extent of a man’s public career and honours22. In this way, the imago and titulus functioned as a kind of ‘deposit of symbolic capital’ (Hölkeskamp 2010, 113), representing the establishment, accretion and renewal of social position (office-holding) and status for an elite family23. Imagines provided the office-holding caste with the advantage of the commendatio maiorum, crucial for electoral success and thus for gaining future deposits of symbolic capital, although this advantage diminished in the Empire, especially after the emperor Tiberius transferred magisterial elections to the Senate in 14 CE24. The imago was also a physical vessel of memory, a didactic reminder of a male ancestor, his achievements, roles and values, acting as an inspiring exemplum for his descendants to emulate, a burden to live up to and, if a descendant did not measure up, a potential source of shame25. Essentially, the imagines were a form of inheritance, a material connection between (and manifestation of) the status and social position of an office-holder and his descendants26. Notably, Sallust (in his version of a consular speech of Caius Marius (RE 14, cos. 107, 104-100, 86 BCE) of 107 BCE) and a Constantinian edict of 326 CE (republished in the Codex Iustinianus in 534 CE) indicate that the imagines were a part of a hereditas or patrimonium (inheritance) for the descendants of an office-holder (Sall. Iug. 85.30; Cod. Iust. The creation, inheritance, and display of these imagines were the province of custom, family arbitration, and law – a complex entanglement reflecting their importance and antiquity28. These imagines did not lose (all of) their significance in the Empire, despite the imperial monopoly of power and restrictions on their presence in funerals for non-imperial elite families. Instead, they remained an important symbol of social position, status, and identity for the imperial and non-imperial elite for centuries, as witnessed by the aforementioned Constantinian edict and by Boethius’ allusion to fumosae imagines (smoky ancestor masks) in the early sixth century CE (Boethius, Con. 1.pros.1.3, ca. 523-525 CE)29. The imago, then, constituted and reconstituted elite identities.

Elite women

Elite women are here defined as senatorial women, female relatives of senators30. Our earliest epigraphic sources provide insight into their social position and status: elite female names included a patronymic and gamonymic, signifying their association with their natal and marital families, and their freeborn status, e.g. ‘Paulla Cornelia, daughter of Cnaeus, wife of Hispallus’ ([P]aulla Cornelia Cn(aei) f(ilia) Hispalli [uxor], CIL VI.1294, RE 445)31. As daughters, their social position and status were interconnected with their natal male relatives, particularly their fathers and brothers, and as wives, with their marital male relatives, their husbands and sons32. Their sexual status (filial, marital, maternal, divorced, widowed), public behaviour, religious activity, and sacerdotal public offices also enhanced (or diminished) their social position and status33. In the Republic, these elite women were members of the patricio-plebeian senatorial elite, the aristocracy of office, but did not have legally defined social positions34. Instead, they derived informal ones from their natal and marital families, thence some women were praetorian or consular etc., reflecting the highest attained magisterial public office of their male relatives35. From the early Empire, senatorial daughters were legally born into the ordo senatorius (senatorial order), as codified by the lex Iulia de maritandis ordinibus (18 BCE) and the lex Papia Poppaea (9 CE)36. By ca. 169 CE, a senatorial wife formally held the title (social position, rank) of clarissima femina, and by ca. 176 CE an unmarried senatorial daughter held the title of clarissima puella37. Moreover, by 184 CE, a consular wife formally held the title of consularis femina38. Evidently, the social position of elite women was associated with the public magisterial offices of their male relatives. In what follows, I will argue that the lives of elite women were intimately entangled with the imago, itself an important symbol of social position and the aristocracy of office.


Imagines and their accompanying tituli were a constant presence in the atrium of the natal home of an elite filia. Whenever she stepped into the atrium, they loomed there before her39. She would have known the atrium and imagines well, for telae (looms) stood there, on which she and her female relatives (sisters, mother, grandmother etc.) could work wool (if they did so)40. The imagines could thus watch over her wool-working. It must be said that many elite women may have used these telae infrequently (if at all), as there was a disjunction between the normative ideology of elite women working wool and actual practice, as other scholars have discussed elsewhere41. Nevertheless, elite women would have frequently walked through their own and others’ atria and observed the imagines throughout their daily lives42. The armaria holding the imagines were not always open, but the tituli were (presumably) visible every day (if affixed to or nearby the armaria)43. During feriae (public festivals) and family celebrations, elite families opened the armaria and publicly displayed the imagines (imagines aperire)44. On certain special occasions (e.g. male electoral success) they decorated the imagines with laurel, while in times of mourning they closed the armaria45. The constant presence of these imagines in natal homes is well articulated by Cicero and Valerius Maximus, when Cicero cites their daily didactic (and revolutionary) presence in the houses of the tyrannicides Marcus Iunius Brutus (RE 53, pr. 44 BCE) and Decimus Iunius Brutus Albinus (RE 55a), and when Valerius Maximus links the fraternal bond with the shared inheritance of status from the imagines:

Etenim si auctores ad liberandam patriam desiderarentur illis actoribus, Brutos ego impellerem, quorum uterque L. Bruti imaginem cotidie videret, alter etiam Ahalae (Cic. Phil. 2.26)?

If indeed advocates for liberating our fatherland were needed by those actors, would I have been able to incite the Bruti, each of whom saw the ancestor mask of Lucius [Iunius] Brutus daily, and one also that of [Caius Servilius] Ahala46?

In eodem domicilio antequam nascerer habitavi, in isdem incunabulis infantiae tempora peregi, eosdem appellavi parentes, eadem pro me vota excubuerunt, parem ex maiorum imaginibus gloriam traxi (Val. Max. 5.5.praef.)!

I lived in the same home [as my brother] before I was born, I spent the time of my infancy in the same cradle, I called the same people my parents, they guarded me with the same vows, I drew equal status [prestige, glory] from the ancestor masks47!

While these invocations of the imagines do not refer to elite daughters, they indicate the powerful visual and didactic effects these imagines had on elite children and their associations with the natal home. Moreover, Valerius Maximus supports the notion that imagines provided a deposit of symbolic capital (gloria) for future generations. The imagines were a part of daily life for an elite family.

The connections between imagines and an elite daughter are made explicit by Cicero in his Pro Caelio, a speech he delivered in 56 BCE48. In an elaborate prosopopoeia, Cicero summons the illustrious Appius Claudius Caecus (RE 91, cos. 307, 296 BCE) to condemn his descendant Clodia Ap.f. (RE 66) for her connection to Marcus Caelius Rufus (RE 35, pr. 48 BCE). In this condemnation, Cicero’s Caecus recalls Clodia’s consular ancestors, deceased husband, and their imagines as an admonitory rhetorical device:

Non patrem tuum videras, non patruum, non avum, non proavum, non abavum, non atavum audieras consules fuisse? Non denique modo te Q. Metelli matrimonium tenuisse sciebas, clarissimi ac fortissimi viri patriaeque amantissimi, qui simul ac pedem limine extulerat, omnis prope civis virtute, gloria, dignitate superabat? Cum ex amplissimo genere in familiam clarissimam nupsisses, cur tibi Caelius tam coniunctus fuit? Cognatus, adfinis, viri tui familiaris? Nihil eorum. Quid igitur fuit nisi quaedam temeritas ac libido? Nonne te, si nostrae imagines viriles non commovebant, ne progenies quidem mea, Q. illa Claudia, aemulam domesticae laudis in gloria muliebri esse admonebat (Cic. Cael. 33-34)?

Didn’t you see your father and uncle, didn’t you hear that your grandfather, your great-grandfather, your great-great-grandfather, and your great-great-great grandfather had all been consuls? Weren’t you aware that you have been the spouse of Quintus [Caecilius] Metellus [Celer], a man of greatest illustriousness and strength, of greatest patriotism, who only had to step outside to surpass almost every other citizen in virtue, status, and rank? Since you had married from the most aristocratic [abundant] stock into a most illustrious family, why was [Marcus] Caelius [Rufus] so joined with you? Was he a kinsman [cognate], a relation by marriage [affinal], a friend of your husband? None of these. What was there, then, except for rashness and lust? If our male ancestor masks haven’t moved you, didn’t my descendant, that famous Quinta Claudia, admonish you to compete with her in familial renown for female status49?

Here, Clodia’s great-great-great-great grandfather Caecus invokes her deceased patrilineal male ancestors in chronologically ascending order: her father Appius Claudius Pulcher (RE 296, cos. 79 BCE), uncle Caius Claudius Pulcher (RE 302, cos. 92 BCE), grandfather Appius Claudius Pulcher (RE 295, cos. 143 BCE), great-grandfather Caius Claudius Pulcher (RE 300, cos. 177 BCE), great-great grandfather Appius Claudius Pulcher (RE 293, cos. 212 BCE), and great-great-great grandfather Publius Claudius Pulcher (RE 304, cos. 249 BCE). All of these elite men were dead by 56 BCE: these were the patrilineal imagines in Clodia’s natal home and their tituli would evince their many consulships50. Moreover, Cicero’s Caecus mentions Clodia’s deceased husband, Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer (RE 86, cos. 60 BCE), whose own imago and ancestral imagines and tituli would have graced the atrium of her marital home, an atrium that could boast a long line of patrilineal consular imagines back to the illustrious Lucius Caecilius Metellus (RE 72, cos. 251, 247 BCE)51. Moreover, her husband’s imagines would have been joined by copies of imagines and tituli from Clodia’s natal home, as I will discuss subsequently. In this passage, then, Cicero conjures up both a stemma and a rhetorical pompa imaginum in reverse: a family tree and procession of office-holding ancestors admonishing Clodia. Cicero knew that she, like the aforementioned Bruti, would have seen the stemma and imagines (or at least the tituli) daily and known them well. The didactic role of the imagines for elite sons is well known, but here the target is clearly an elite daughter, implying they had didactic roles for daughters too, at the very least admonitory and possibly exhortatory as well52. Cicero’s use of Clodia’s ancestral imagines suggests that, like elite sons, elite daughters were both blessed and burdened by them. In this case, Clodia is accused of being unmoved by her illustrious imagines maiorum (Cic. Cael. 34): ‘si nostrae imagines viriles non commovebant’. The imagines of her own ancestors thus impugned her53.

Valerius Maximus further evinces these bifurcated effects of the imagines, indicating that their deposit of symbolic capital (here described as lux, light) could be lost (here described as a reversal into dedecus, disgrace, and the changing of lux into tenebrae, darkness):

Quo evenit ut et humili loco nati ad summam dignitatem consurgant et generosissimarum imaginum fetus in aliquod revoluti dedecus acceptam a maioribus lucem in tenebras convertant (Val. Max. 3.3(ext).7).

So it happens that both those born of humble birth rise to the highest rank and the progeny of the most aristocratic [generous] ancestor masks reverse into some disgrace, converting the light they received from their ancestors into darkness54.

Many elite daughters, not just Clodia, would have been blessed and burdened with the lux of their imagines, for they were part of family life not just elite male lives.

Nupta and uxor

The most striking – yet underexamined – connection between elite women and the imagines occurred at the marriage of an elite nupta. For, after a bride entered her husband’s home and became his uxor, not only would telae and a lectus genialis (ceremonial marriage bed) grace their marital atrium, but so too would copies of the bride’s imagines maiorum, joining those of her husband55. Her bridal imagines would enter his atrium – a symbol of both her natal family and her own presence in his home. While the process and timing of their reproduction is unclear, fictores feasibly reproduced the imagines from plaster moulds stored in the natal home, and then they were transferred and set up in armaria in the marital home, along with reproduced tituli56. The transfer of these masks can be adduced from the testimony of Cicero, Livy, the Senatus Consultum de Cn. Pisone patre, and Pliny (the Younger), all of which I will now examine.

In Cicero’s excoriation of Publius Vatinius (RE 2, cos. 47 BCE) in the In Vatinium of 56 BCE, he indicates that the imagines of the gens Antonia were transferred with Antonia M.f. (RE 111) into her husband Publius Vatinius’ home57:

Ac nunc quidem C. Antonius hac una re miseriam suam consolatur, quod imagines patris et fratris sui fratrisque filiam non in familia sed in carcere conlocatam audire maluit quam videre (Cic. Vat. 28).

And now, Caius Antonius [Hybrida] is consoled by this one thing in his misfortune [exile], that he has chosen to hear, rather than to see, how the ancestor masks of his father [Marcus Antonius] and brother [Marcus Antonius Creticus], and [along with] his brother’s daughter [Antonia] were given in marriage [cf. set up]58, not into a family, but into a prison59.

Antonia was patrilineal granddaughter of Marcus Antonius (RE 28, cos. 99 BCE), daughter of the Marcus Antonius Creticus (RE 29, pr. 74 BCE) and Iulia L.f. (RE 543), and patrilineal niece of the exiled Caius Antonius Hybrida (RE 19, cos. 63 BCE). Cicero is referring here to her patrilineal imagines, sc. the consular imago of her patrilineal grandfather and praetorian imago of her father, both of whom had died by 56 BCE60. The imagines of the gens Antonia would have thus been transferred to the atrium of Vatinius, which formerly had none. This evidence alone suggests that, at least by Cicero’s time and probably much earlier, copies of imagines were given along with a bride in marriage (collocare): thence patrilineal and matrilineal imagines were present in atria. Cicero’s aforementioned invocation of Clodia’s imagines maiorum can thus be read in this light: copies of the imagines of the gens Claudia stretching back to Caecus (and beyond) were present in Clodia and Celer’s home, representing the unification of two illustrious consular families. Cicero’s evidence reveals that – like elite men – elite women inherited imagines and, as brides, transferred copies of them to their marital home.

Livy’s testimony is legendary or pseudo-historical, but it signals the presence of matrilineal imagines in a marital home. In his account of the migration of Lucumo sc. Lucius Tarquinius Priscus (RE 6) and Tanaquil (RE 2) to Rome, Livy discusses Tanaquil’s preference for Rome, due to the newness of its aristocracy (nobility), evincing as evidence that even Ancus Marcius (RE 9) had only one imago, that of Numa Pompilius (RE Numa Pompilius), acquired from his mother, Pompilia (RE Numa Pompilius), Numa’s daughter:

Roma est ad id potissima visa: in novo populo, ubi omnis repentina atque ex virtute nobilitas sit, futurum locum forti ac strenuo viro; regnasse Tatium Sabinum, arcessitum in regnum Numam a Curibus, et Ancum Sabina matre ortum nobilemque una imagine Numae esse (Livy 1.34.6).

Rome appeared [to Tanaquil] the most preferable [location to migrate to]: among a new people, where all aristocracy [nobility] was sudden and out of virtue, there would be a place [social position] for a strong and vigorous man; ruled by Tatius the Sabine, it [Rome] had summoned Numa [Pompilius] to the kingship from Cures, and Ancus [Marcius] arose from a Sabine mother, and was aristocratic [noble] by only one ancestor mask of Numa61.

While Livy’s account must be treated with extreme caution, given its ahistorical nature, it does yield information about matrilineal imagines. Livy draws here a close connection between elite identities, elite women, and imagines: Ancus Marcius was aristocratic matrilineally, by virtue of his inheritance of a single matrilineal imago. This account indicates that (at the very least) Livy retrojected matrilineal imagines – and thus the practice of giving copies of imagines in marriage – into the distant, legendary past62. The existence of such legendary imagines is adduced by their inclusion in the pompa imaginum for Drusus Iulius Caesar (PIR2 I 219, cos. 15, 21 CE) in 23 CE63. Moreover, it is further supported by Cicero’s aforementioned invocation of the legendary patrilineal imago of Lucius Iunius Brutus (RE 46a, cos. 509 BCE) and legendary matrilineal imago of Caius Servilius Ahala (RE 32, magister equitum 439 BCE) in the natal atrium of the tyrannicide Marcus Iunius Brutus (RE 53, pr. 44 BCE) (Cic. Phil. 2.26). Clearly matrilineal imagines, both legendary and historical, existed by Livy’s time.

Cicero and Livy’s evidence is bolstered and confirmed by clauses within the Senatus Consultum de Cn. Pisone Patre (henceforth SCPP) of 20 CE. This senatorial decree posthumously condemned Cnaeus Calpurnius Piso (RE 70, PIR2 C 287, cos. 7 CE) for maiestas (treason), was a case of official (senatorial) damnatio memoriae (condemnation of memory) and contained numerous penalties64. It is a penalty on imagines that provides further evidence for the practice of giving copies of imagines in marriage (SCPP 76-82)65. In these clauses, the Senate strongly adjures the relatives by birth or marriage of the familia (gens) Calpurnia not to display publicly the consular imago of Piso in their pompae imaginum or in their atria alongside their other imagines:

[...] recte et ordine facturos, qui qu- | andoq(ue) familiae Calpurniae essent, quive eam familiam cognatione | adfinitateve contingerent, si dedissent operam, si quis eius gentis aut quis eo- | rum, qui cognatus adfinisve Calpurniae familiae fuisset, mortuos esset, lugen- | dus esset, ne inter reliquas imagines, <quibus> exequias eorum funerum celebrare solent, | imago Cn. Pisonis patris duceretur neve imaginibus familiae Calpurniae i- | mago eius interponeretur (SCPP 76-82)66.

That those who at any time were of the Calpurnian family or who were connected [related] by blood [cognate] or marriage [affinal], would act rightly and with due process, if they took care, if anyone of their clan or anyone of those related by blood or marriage to the Calpurnian family died and was to be mourned, that the ancestor mask of Cnaeus [Calpurnius] Piso the father not be carried among the remaining [other] ancestor masks with which they are accustomed to celebrate the rites of those funerals, and that his ancestor masks not be placed among the ancestor masks of the Calpurnian family67.

These clauses indicate that by 20 CE, it was customary (solere) for any agnatic (sc. of the familia or gens Calpurnia), cognatic (cognati), and marital/affinal (adfines = affines) relatives of a deceased elite man to display his imago in their pompae imaginum and their atria68. As Flower has argued, the SCPP thus indicates that imagines ‘were part of a bride’s equipment to be taken with her to her husband’s house’ and that sons and daughters could ‘expect to have their own copies of ancestral imagines if they moved from their father’s house’ (Flower 1996, 103). The SCPP directly evinces the phenomenon of the bridal transfer of imagines and thus the inheritance of patrilineal and matrilineal imagines by elite women (and men). What were the implications of the SCPP for the use of Piso’s imago by his female descendants? The SCPP refers to one such descendant, Calpurnia L.(formerly Cn.)f. (SCPP 104-105, CIL VI.1371), identified as the (probable) granddaughter of Piso and Munatia Plancina L.f. (RE 44, PIR2 M 737), and daughter of their son Lucius (formerly Cnaeus) Calpurnius Piso (RE 76, PIR2 C 293, cos. 27 CE)69. In clauses regarding the confiscation of Piso’s property and provisions for his descendants, the SCPP indicates the Senate provided Calpurnia with a dos of 1 million sestertii and a peculium (personal allowance) of 4 million sestertii from the confiscated property (SCPP 104-105)70. This same Calpurnia (presumably) would not have transferred a copy of the imago of her patrilineal grandfather Piso to her marital home on the occasion of her marriage or, if she did, she would not have displayed it in pompae imaginum or the marital atrium71. She would, however, have transferred and displayed copies of the many imagines of the gens Calpurnia72. The absence of Piso’s imago may have been particularly painful for her – but of this we cannot be certain. Notably, no mention of the imagines of the gens Munatia (those inherited by Plancina) is made in the SCPP. As adfines, members of the gens Munatia were adjured not to display the imago of Piso, but there were no such limitations on the display of their imagines by, say, members of the gens Calpurnia73. Plancina (presumably) transferred copies of the imagines of the gens Munatia to Piso’s atrium, namely the consular imago of her patrilineal grandfather Lucius Munatius Plancus (RE 30, PIR2 M 728, cos. 42 BCE) and the praetorian imago of her patrilineal great-uncle Lucius Plotius Plancus (RE Munatius 26, PIR2 P 514, pr. 43 BCE). Perhaps, then, Calpurnia inherited these imagines and transferred copies of them on the occasion of her marriage – a comfort in the absence of Piso’s imago. Calpurnia has been (insecurely) identified as the wife (or perhaps mother) of Lucius Nonius Asprenas (PIR2 N 119, cos. suff. 29 CE) and thus the mother (or perhaps grandmother) of Nonius Calpurnius Asprenas (PIR2 N 132, cos. suff. ca. 71-72 CE), Asprenas Calpurnius Serranus (CIL VI.1371), and Asprenas Calpurnius Torquatus (PIR2 N 127)74. Did her children (whoever they were) inherit the imago of their matrilineal great-grandfather Piso? We cannot be certain, but, if they did, they presumably were unable to display it. Either way, they would have inherited the many imagines of the gens Calpurnia and those of the gens Munatia from their mother. The SCPP provides incontrovertible evidence for the widespread reproduction and inheritance of imagines by agnatic, cognatic, and marital relatives in the early Empire, as well as the practice of giving imagines in marriage.

The final testimony is a letter from Pliny (the Younger) to Lucius Calpurnius Fabatus (RE 34, PIR2 C 263), grandfather of Pliny’s last wife, Calpurnia (RE 130, PIR2 C 326), on the unhappy occasion of Calpurnia’s miscarriage in ca. 107 CE75. In this exchange, Pliny links the patrilineal and matrilineal imagines in his marital atrium, i.e. those from both his and Fabatus’ side (latus), with public offices and well-heard names for his hoped-for future children:

Neque enim ardentius tu pronepotes quam ego liberos cupio, quibus videor a meo tuoque latere pronum ad honores iter et audita latius nomina et non subitas imagines relicturus. Nascantur modo et hunc nostrum dolorem gaudio mutent. Vale (Plin. Ep. 8.10.3).

For you are no more ardent for great-grandchildren than I long for children, to whom I envision I would bequeath from my side and yours an easy path to public offices, names [e.g. nomen and tituli] heard more widely, and no novel ancestor masks. Just let them be born and let them change our sorrow into joy. Farewell76.

Here then, Pliny indicates that the inheritance of patrilineal and matrilineal imagines and practice of giving imagines in marriage were widely understood in the early second century CE. In this case, on Pliny’s side, sc. Caius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (RE 6, PIR2 P 490, cos. suff. 100 CE), there was the name (but not imago) of his deceased matrilineal uncle and posthumously adoptive father Caius Plinius Secundus (RE 5, PIR2 P 493), as well as his own consular imago. Pliny may have been overcompensating with his claim of non subitae imagines, as the office-holding status of the gens Plinia was new77. However, he might have inherited the numerous imagines and tituli (thence names) of the gens Caecilia from his birth father, perhaps a Lucius Caecilius Cilo (RE 40, PIR2 C 30) or Lucius Caecilius Secundus (RE 115), even the imagines of the aforementioned Caecilii Metelli, although the identity of his birth father is insecure78. The imagines of the gens Caecilia would certainly have been non subitae. On Fabatus’ side, there may have been imagines and tituli (thence names) from the gens Calpurnia, although their exact identities are irrecoverable due to Fabatus’ uncertain parentage. What is apparent from Pliny’s letter is that he expected his future children to inherit patrilineal and matrilineal imagines (whosever they were).

From the testimony of Cicero, Livy, the SCPP, and Pliny, we can adduce that, from at least the time of Cicero until Pliny (and probably well before and thereafter), copies of patrilineal and matrilineal imagines were conveyed from a bride’s natal atrium to her marital one and thence both patrilineal and matrilineal imagines were inherited by sons and daughters. Both Antonia and her bridal imagines were given in marriage to Vatinius, as were Calpurnia and her imagines to (perhaps) Asprenas (although the imago of her grandfather Piso was probably absent or at least un-displayed), and Calpurnia and her imagines to Pliny. The implication is that an imago could function as an inheritance and dos for an elite woman. Essentially, a bride’s patrilineal and matrilineal imagines, inherited from her parents, were part of the dotal property, reproduced and transmitted from her natal home to her marital one. As marriages without manus were the dominant form by the end of the Republic, and our earliest extant source for the bridal transmission of imagines is from Cicero, we cannot be certain whether this process differed for marriages with and without manus, but, if the bridal imagines were treated as a kind of dos, then they would have been transmitted either way79. Whether or not a husband kept the bridal imagines after divorce or remarriage is another matter, which I will discuss below. What is fundamentally significant here is that when an elite woman married she transferred her patrilineal and matrilineal imagines into her husband’s home – a physical reminder of her natal family and a potential source of comfort, inspiration, pride, and perhaps even shame, as we saw with Clodia. Beyond a physical transfer, this was a mechanism for transferring elite female status and social position between families, for the aforementioned tituli would have accompanied these imagines, clearly indicating the social position and status of the elite men they signified. The imago and accompanying titulus were a deposit of symbolic capital, embodying an elite woman’s social position and status vis-à-vis her ancestors.

Matrona and mater

An elite matrona and mater could expect her marital atrium to accumulate more imagines if her male relatives (brothers, husband, sons etc.) attained the aedileship (or the higher curule magistracies). She may indeed have desired and exhorted her sons to campaign for election to the aedileship (or higher), as suggested by a passage in Polybius, where he represents Pomponia M’.f. (RE 28) expressing such a desire for both her sons, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (RE 336, cos. 205, 194 BCE) and Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiagenus (RE 337, cos. 190 BCE):

θεωρῶν γὰρ τὴν μητέρα περιπορευομένην τοὺς νεὼς καὶ θύουσαν τοῖς θεοῖς ὑπὲρ τἀδελφοῦ καὶ καθόλου μεγάλην προσδοκίαν ἔχουσαν ὑπὲρ τοῦ μέλλοντος, ἧς μόνης ἔμελεν αὐτῷ – τὸν μὲν γὰρ πατέρα τότε πλεῖν συνέβαινεν εἰς Ἰβηρίαν στρατηγὸν καθεσταμένον ἐπὶ τὰς προειρημένας πράξεις – οὐ μὴν ἀλλ’ ἔφη πρὸς αὐτὴν ὄνειρον τεθεωρηκέναι δὶς ἤδη τὸν αὐτόν. δοκεῖν γὰρ ἅμα τἀδελφῷ καθεσταμένος ἀγορανόμος ἀναβαίνειν ἀπὸ τῆς ἀγορᾶς ὡς ἐπὶ τὴν οἰκίαν, ἐκείνην δὲ συναντᾶν αὐτοῖς εἰς τὰς θύρας καὶ περιπτύξασαν ἀσπάσασθαι. τῆς δὲ παθούσης τὸ γυναικεῖον πάθος καί τι προσεπιφθεγξαμένης ‘Εἰ γὰρ ἐμοὶ ταύτην ἰδεῖν γένοιτο τὴν ἡμέραν’ ‘Βούλει’ φησί ‘μῆτερ, πεῖραν λάβωμεν’ (Polyb. 10.4.4-8).

Seeing that his mother [Pomponia] was visiting the different temples and sacrificing to the gods on behalf of his brother [Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiagenus, for his election] and generally exhibiting great apprehension about the result, he [Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus] was concerned only about her – his father [Publius Cornelius Scipio] having left for Spain, where he had been appointed to the command in the aforementioned campaign – he, as a fact, told her that he had twice had the same dream. For he said that he dreamt that along with his brother, he had been elected aedile [ἀγορανόμος] and was going up from the forum to their house, and that she met them at the door and embraced them and welcomed them. She was affected by female passion [πάθος] and exclaimed, “If only I could see the day!” “Mother, would you like us to make an attempt?” he said80.

This passage and its preceding context contain some problems, namely errors regarding the implied dates of Africanus’ and Asiagenus’ aedileships and the brothers’ respective ages81. Despite these, Polybius provides clear evidence that by the early second century BCE, (he thought) it was not unusual for an elite mother to be invested in and encourage her sons’ elections to the aedileship (or higher), as well as to publicly sacrifice on their behalf for their electoral success82. Given that the aedileship (or the higher curule magistracies) was so closely linked with an imago, Pomponia’s desire here may have been that her sons attain both electoral success and the attendant imagines. Certainly, Polybius elsewhere stresses the importance of imagines for elite families (Polyb. 6.53.4-54.3)83. Pomponia was not alone in her investment and engagement in her sons’ political careers: numerous other instances exist84. We can imagine, then, that elite mothers directly engaged with the imagines, perhaps as they walked through their atria or when (if) they worked wool on their telae there, and exhorted their sons to attain more of them for their atria, as we will see in the passage below.

Such maternal engagement with the imagines is evinced by a letter from Pliny (the Younger) to his elite female friend Corellia Q.f. Hispulla (RE 6, PIR2 C 1296) in the early second century CE85. In this exchange, Pliny indicates that his friend the rhetorician Iulius Genitor (PIR2 I 341), Pliny himself, and Corellia would use her (patrilineal and matrilineal) imagines as didactic tools for her son, (Lucius Neratius) Corellius Pansa (RE 2, PIR2 C 1293, cos. ord. 122 CE)86:

Nihil ex hoc viro filius tuus audiet nisi profuturum, nihil discet quod nescisse rectius fuerit, nec minus saepe ab illo quam a te meque admonebitur, quibus imaginibus oneretur, quae nomina et quanta sustineat (Plin. Ep. 3.3.6).

Your son will hear nothing from this man [Iulius Genitor] except what will benefit him, he will learn nothing that would have been better for him not to know, and he will be admonished [reminded] no less often by him than by you and me, by what ancestor masks he is burdened, and what great names [e.g. nomen and tituli] he bears87.

Pliny is clear. Corellia, along with Iulius Genitor and Pliny, frequently reminded her son of the burden of his imagines. These were no abstract or subitae imagines. By the time of this correspondence, Corellia was daughter of the deceased Quintus Corellius Rufus (RE 3, PIR2 C 1294, cos. suff. 78 CE) and Hispulla (RE 1, PIR2 H 185) and wife of either Lucius Neratius Priscus (RE 15, PIR2 N 60, cos. suff. 97 CE) or his brother Lucius Neratius Marcellus (RE 9, PIR2 N 55, cos. suff. 95, 129 CE)88. Her husband and brother-in-law were sons of Lucius Neratius Priscus (PIR2 N 59, cos. suff. 87 CE). Corellia’s marital atrium would have thus contained these patrilineal and matrilineal imagines, resplendent with consular tituli. It was with these imagines and tituli that she reminded her son where he came from and with which she would have encouraged him to pursue a political career, perhaps when she walked through this same atrium or while (if) she worked wool there. We can imagine that Corellia (and Pliny and Iulius Genitor) frequently used these imagines to remind her son that both his (patrilineal and matrilineal) grandfathers were (suffect) consuls and to urge him to imitate their examples. It would appear that such encouragement was successful, for her son became consul ordinarius in 122 CE, no small feat, adding his own imago and consular titulus to the family atrium for future generations89. Not only were elite daughters like Clodia aware of the burden of the imagines, but mothers like Corellia imparted this knowledge to their own children, using the imagines as didactic tools90.

Remarriage, divorce, and complex (re)configurations of bridal imagines

What happened to bridal imagines on the occasions of a remarriage or divorce? This is a question without clear answers in our extant sources, but one that I shall grapple with nevertheless. The frequencies of remarriage and divorce in the Republic and Empire are a matter of considerable scholarly speculation and debate, partly due to the poverty of the surviving data91. Whatever the frequencies may have been, what happened to the bridal imagines when such events occurred? As mentioned previously, some of our sources term imagines part of the hereditas or patrimonium for the descendants of an office-holder, and I have suggested that the imagines could function as both an inheritance and dos for an elite woman – in that she inherited them from her natal family (inheritance) and transferred copies of them to her marital home (dos). By the second century BCE, a widow or divorcee (or her paterfamilias if he was still alive) could sue to recover the dos by an actio rei uxoriae (action on a wife’s property)92. This recovery was subject to any pre-existing pacta dotalia (dotal contracts) and to certain rules and deductions for the maintenance of children, moral offences, expenses, and gifts in the case of divorce, but the recovery was not subject to such deductions if the husband died93. If bridal imagines could function as a dos, did the dissolution of a marriage by death or divorce constitute a reason to recover, return, remove from display, or destroy the bridal imagines? The SCPP attests to the proliferation and widespread reproduction of imagines of the gens Calpurnia among agnatic, cognatic (cognati), and marital relatives (adfines) by 20 CE – the inference being that any family connected by blood or marriage could have had copies of their imagines (SCPP 76-82). As mentioned previously, the creation, inheritance, and display of imagines were the province of custom, family arbitration, and law – perhaps there were many possible context-dependent outcomes for the bridal imagines after the dissolution of a marriage94. I propose that another factor is important to consider, namely, that the bridal imagines could constitute an inheritance for an elite woman’s children95. If an elite woman bore children by one husband and she or her husband died or she subsequently was divorced from him, presumably these children could inherit copies of her bridal imagines96. These children would be cognati, and, as the SCPP suggests, thus inherit these bridal imagines and be able to display them. If an elite woman bore no children by one husband and died or was divorced from him, would there be any reason or inclination besides affection for him to retain the bridal imagines? This childless widower or divorced husband was not an adfinis or cognatus – perhaps he was not thus able to display her bridal imagines97. In the absence of surviving evidence, I shall now consider the case of one elite woman and her two daughters, all of whom remarried and divorced, and speculate on the possible (re)configurations of their bridal imagines.

We turn now to the case of Caecilia L.f. Metella (RE 134) and her daughters, selected as examples due to their elite social position (and access to imagines) and the substantial surviving evidence for their remarriages and divorces. Caecilia was daughter of Lucius Caecilius Metellus Delmaticus (RE 91, cos. 119 BCE) and thus an heir to a long line of patrilineal consular imagines stretching back to the aforementioned Lucius Caecilius Metellus (RE 72, cos. 251, 247 BCE), as well as those of her many consular uncles and consular great-uncle98. She had two marriages: one to Marcus Aemilius Scaurus (RE 140, cos. 115 BCE), dissolved by his death in 89 BCE; and the second to Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (RE 392, cos. 88, 80 BCE), dissolved by a divorce Sulla initiated on her deathbed in 81 BCE99. In her first marriage, she bore two children, Marcus Aemilius Scaurus (RE 141, pr. 56 BCE) and Aemilia M.f. (RE 154)100. In her second marriage, she bore two additional children, Faustus Cornelius Sulla (RE 377) and Fausta Cornelia L.f. (RE 436)101. Caecilia’s elder daughter Aemilia also had two marriages: the first to Manius Acilius Glabrio (RE 38, cos. 67 BCE), dissolved by a divorce in 82 BCE prompted by her stepfather Sulla and Caecilia; and the second to Cnaeus Pompeius Magnus (RE 31, cos. 70, 55, 52, BCE), dissolved by her death when she bore Manius Acilius Glabrio (RE 39), the son of her first husband102. After the death of Caecilia and then Sulla, their son Faustus Cornelius Sulla – and perhaps also by implication their daughter Fausta Cornelia – became a ward of Lucius Licinius Lucullus (RE 104, cos. 74 BCE)103. Fausta Cornelia had two marriages as well: the first at a young age to Caius Memmius (RE 8, pr. 58 BCE), dissolved by divorce in ca. 55 BCE, long after the birth of their son Caius Memmius (RE 10, cos. suff. 34 BCE); and the second to Titus Annius Milo (RE 67, pr. 55 BCE)104. Theirs were complex clusters of remarriage and divorce105.

Amidst this complexity, what might have happened to the bridal imagines of Caecilia, Aemilia, and Fausta Cornelia? Caecilia presumably transferred copies of her patrilineal and matrilineal (if her unknown mother had office-holding ancestors) imagines to the atria of both Marcus Aemilius Scaurus and Sulla. In their capacity as cognati, Caecilia’s children – Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, Aemilia, Faustus Cornelius Sulla, and Fausta Cornelia – could have thus inherited the matrilineal imagines of the Caecilii Metelli106. Aemilia, then, could have inherited these imagines and those of the gens Aemilia and transferred them to the atria of Manius Acilius Glabrio and of Cnaeus Pompeius Magnus. After her death during childbirth, her son Manius Acilius Glabrio could have inherited her patrilineal and matrilineal imagines, as well as those obtained from his father107. Whether Cnaeus Pompeius Magnus kept her imagines is an open question – would he or his subsequent wives have appreciated their presence? He may have returned them or chosen not to display them. Fausta Cornelia could have likewise inherited the matrilineal imagines of the Caecilii Metelli and the patrilineal ones of the gens Cornelia, transferring them to the atria of Caius Memmius and of Titus Annius Milo. Whether Caius Memmius kept these imagines after the divorce is uncertain. Their son, Caius Memmius, despite the divorce, could have inherited her matrilineal and patrilineal imagines. Certainly, he later memorialised his matrilineal heritage and descent from his matrilineal grandfather Sulla on the Monument of Memmius in Ephesus (IEph 403.1-2)108. I propose that Caius Memmius had access to a rich inheritance of consular imagines (and tituli), including those of the Caecilii Metelli from his matrilineal grandmother Caecilia and the imago of his matrilineal grandfather Sulla, imagines that may have facilitated his own election to the suffect consulship in 34 BCE. It is uncertain whether Marcus Aemilius Scaurus and Aemilia had access to the same imagines as their half-siblings Faustus Cornelius Sulla or Fausta Cornelia, or whether Manius Acilius Glabrio had access to the same imagines as his half-cousin Caius Memmius, but it is probable that all received copies of the imagines of Caecilia.

The example of Caecilia and her daughters indicates a few of the many possible (re)configurations of bridal imagines during remarriage and divorce. Despite the silence in our sources, I have argued that if a marriage produced children and was subsequently dissolved, the children of that marriage could feasibly inherit copies of bridal imagines, as they constituted their inheritance, but if the marriage did not produce children, the fate of the bridal imagines is uncertain.

Funus and female maior

Finally, we turn to the relationships between the imagines and an elite woman at the end of her life: at her funus (funeral), and when she became a female maior.


Beyond their numerous roles in elite funerals and other funerary practices – including as principal mourners and, in one recorded instance, as funeral arranger – some elite women themselves had funerals that incorporated imagines109. An elite woman could have a funus indictivum (public funeral), including a laudatio funebris, by 102 BCE at the latest, and probably much earlier110. Moreover, by ca. 91 BCE at the latest, these funerals included a pompa imaginum. The inclusion of the pompa imaginum in funerals for elite women is attested by Lucius Licinius Crassus (RE 55, cos. 95 BCE), in a forensic speech of ca. 91 BCE against Marcus Iunius Brutus (RE 50), retained by Cicero (Lucius Licinius Crassus fr. 45 ORF = Cic. De or. 2.225-226)111. In this speech, Crassus evokes the contemporary funeral of Iunia (RE 190), a recently deceased female relative of Brutus, and the attendant pompa imaginum, as a means to condemn Brutus:

Brute, quid sedes? Quid illam anum patri nuntiare vis tuo? Quid illis omnibus, quorum imagines duci vides? Quid maioribus tuis? Quid L. Bruto, qui hunc populum dominatu regio liberavit? Quid te agere? Cui rei, cui gloriae, cui virtuti studere? [...] Tu illam mortuam, tu imagines ipsas non perhorrescis? Quibus non modo imitandis, sed ne conlocandis quidem tibi locum ullum reliquisti (Lucius Licinius Crassus fr. 45 ORF = Cic. De or. 2.225-226).

Brutus, why do you sit? What do you want that old woman [Iunia] to announce to your father [Marcus Iunius Brutus]? What do you want her to announce to all those whose ancestor masks you see being led [in the pompa imaginum]? What do you want her to announce to your ancestors? What do you want her to announce to Lucius [Iunius] Brutus, who liberated the people from the dominion of the kings? What do you want her to announce you are doing? What thing, what status [glory], what virtue do you want her to announce you are striving for? [...] Do you not tremble before that dead woman – before the ancestor masks themselves? You have not left yourself any place [home or social position]112 for setting them up, let alone imitating them113.

The Brutus condemned in this speech was the son of Marcus Iunius Brutus (RE 49, pr. ca. 142 BCE), grand-son of Marcus Iunius Brutus (RE 48, cos. 178 BCE), nephew of Decimus Iunius Brutus Callaicus (RE 57, cos. 138 BCE), and grand-nephew of Publius Iunius Brutus (RE 54, pr. 190 BCE). All of these men would have had imagines. If theirs were the imagines Crassus was referring to, then Iunia was feasibly an aunt or great-aunt (or similar female relative) of Brutus. The reference to the legendary first consul Lucius Iunius Brutus (RE 46a, cos. 509 BCE) suggests the presence of his mask in her pompa imaginum too. What is pertinent here is that many imagines were led before Iunia in her funus, indicating that they were a vital part of an elite woman’s funus by 91 BCE114.

Similar elaborate funera with pompae imaginum are attested for elite women elsewhere. Plutarch records one held in 69 BCE for Iulia C.f. (RE 541) (Plut. Vit. Caes. 5). Iulia was daughter of Caius Iulius Caesar (RE 129) and Marcia Q.f. (RE 113), wife of Marius, and aunt of Caesar himself. The pompa imaginum for her funus included the imago of her husband Marius, but it is an extant fragment of her laudatio that proves particularly illuminating, on which more below115.

Tacitus records another funus held in 22 CE for the wealthy widow Tertia Iunia D.f. (RE 206), daughter of Decimus Iunius Silanus (RE 163, cos. 62 BCE) and Servilia Q.f. (RE 101), wife of the tyrannicide Caius Cassius Longinus (RE 59, pr. 44 BCE), and half-sister of the tyrannicide Marcus Iunius Brutus (RE 53, pr. 44 BCE) (Tac. Ann. 3.76)116. Tertia Iunia’s funus included a myriad of imagines from twenty of the most illustrious families, including the gentes Manlia, Quinctia, and presumably the gentes Iunia, Servilia, and Cassia, but excluded the imagines of her husband and half-brother:

Viginti clarissimarum familiarum imagines antelatae sunt, Manlii, Quinctii aliaque eiusdem nobilitatis nomina. Sed praefulgebant Cassius atque Brutus eo ipso quod effigies eorum non visebantur (Tac. Ann. 3.76).

The ancestor masks of twenty of the most illustrious families were borne before her [Tertia Iunia], of the Manlii and Quinctii, and other names of the same aristocracy [nobility]. But Cassius and Brutus were the most conspicuous precisely because their portraits were not to be seen117.

The lux of many imagines, even that of the invisible imagines of Cassius and Brutus, shone upon Tertia Iunia at her funus. The presence of the imagines of the gens Manlia can be explained by the adoption of Decimus Iunius Silanus (Manlianus) (RE 161, pr. 141 BCE), biological son of Titus Manlius Torquatus (RE 83, cos. 165 BCE), by Tertia Iunia’s distant patrilineal ancestor, Decimus Iunius Silanus (RE 160)118. Consequently, their presence suggests that if a person entered another gens via adoption he or she was still able to inherit and display the imagines of biological ancestors119. The explanation for the presence of the imagines of the gens Quinctia is more fraught. A male relative of Tertia Iunia, Marcus Iunius Silanus (RE 172, PIR2 I 830, cos. ord. 25 BCE), may have married a (Quinctia) (Cri)spina (PIR2 C 1581), thereby acquiring the imagines of the gens Quinctia, but her nomen is uncertain120. The presence – if secure – of the imagines of these gentes at Tertia Iunia’s funus provides further confirmation of the transfer of copies of a bride’s imagines maiorum into her marital home. The gentes Manlia, Quinctia, Iunia, Servilia, and Cassia had numerous imagines of past consuls and triumphal generals, too many to enumerate here121. With all of these imagines, Tertia Iunia’s pompa imaginum would have been a spectacular paean to the Republican aristocracy of office, a direct challenge to Tiberius as Flower has discussed elsewhere, and a powerful statement about her illustrious social position and place among the maiores122. The funera for Iulia and Tertia Iunia may have been atypical for elite women, given their relationships and contexts, but that for the other Iunia in ca. 91 BCE was probably more representative. Iunia’s funus indicates that an elite woman could, at least from ca. the first century BCE until perhaps the third century CE, expect to have a pompa imaginum at her funus123.

Female maior

By the second century BCE, elite women were treated as maiores, as Flower and Marja-Leena Hänninen have argued124. Given that matrilineal imagines existed in atria, were any connections made between a female maior, matrilineal ancestry, and these imagines? If we return to the case of Clodia, Cicero clearly indicates a connection between the imagines and female maiores in his Pro Caelio. There, he directly compares the male imagines of the gens Claudia with the exempla of Clodia’s female maiores Quinta Claudia P.f. (RE 435) and the Vestal Claudia Ap.f. (RE 384):

Nonne te, si nostrae imagines viriles non commovebant, ne progenies quidem mea, Q. illa Claudia, aemulam domesticae laudis in gloria muliebri esse admonebat, non virgo illa Vestalis Claudia quae patrem complexa triumphantem ab inimico tribuno plebei de curru detrahi passa non est? Cur te fraterna vitia potius quam bona paterna et avita et usque a nobis cum in viris tum etiam in feminis repetita moverunt (Cic. Cael. 34)?

If our male ancestor masks haven’t moved you, didn’t my descendant [sc. granddaughter], that famous Quinta Claudia, admonish you to compete with her in familial renown for female status? What about that famous Vestal Claudia, who grasped onto her father [Appius Claudius Pulcher] during his triumph and wouldn’t allow him to be dragged from his triumphal chariot by a hostile plebeian tribune? Why were you moved more by brotherly vices than by paternal and ancestral good qualities, often reappearing in both men and women, all the way back to me125?

Here Cicero equates the imagines viriles with the famous Quinta Claudia and the Vestal Claudia, thence implying a correspondence between the didactic effects of imagines and the exempla of female maiores126. Moreover, Cicero reminds his audience here of the statue of Quinta Claudia in the temple of the Magna Mater and her memorialisation on stage, lasting testaments to the status she obtained for her prominent role in the inaugural procession for Magna Mater in 204 BCE127. Quinta Claudia was the daughter of Publius Claudius Pulcher (RE 304, cos. 249 BCE) and granddaughter of Caecus, while the Vestal Claudia was the daughter of Appius Claudius Pulcher (RE 295, cos. 143 BCE): both would have been well aware of the didactic effects of imagines128.

Cicero further indicates that the social position of an elite man could be constituted by the inheritance of matrilineal imagines in his Pro Plancio of 54 BCE. In his defense of Cnaeus Plancius (RE 4, curule aedile 54 BCE) against the charge of ambitus (electoral corruption), Cicero suggests that the aristocratic (noble) ancestry of Marcus Iuventius Laterensis (RE 16, pr. 51 BCE), by virtue of his consular patrilineal and matrilineal maiores and attendant imagines, did not help him win the aedilician election of 54 BCE:

Est tuum nomen utraque familia consulare. Num dubitas igitur quin omnes qui favent nobilitati, qui id putant esse pulcherrimum, qui imaginibus, qui nominibus vestris ducuntur, te aedilem fecerint? Equidem non dubito (Cic. Planc. 18).

Your name [Marcus Iuventius Laterensis] is a consular one on both sides [patrilineal and matrilineal] of your family. So can you doubt that all who favour the aristocracy [of office], who think it is the most beautiful thing, who are led by your ancestor masks and your names [e.g. nomen and tituli], would have made you aedile? I cannot doubt it129.

Here Cicero is referring to the relationship between electoral success and the commendatio maiorum, those deposits of symbolic capital in the form of imagines, inherited by Laterensis from his unknown father and (probable) mother Otacilia (RE 19)130. These (admittedly ancient and thus obscure) deposits can be identified, namely the patrilineal imago and consular titulus of Manius Iuventius Thalna (RE 30, cos. 163 BCE) and the matrilineal imagines and consular tituli of Manius Otacilius Crassus (RE 10, cos. 263, 246 BCE) and Titus Otacilius Crassus (RE 11, cos. 261 BCE). This inheritance did not help Laterensis obtain the curule aedileship of 54 BCE, but it presumably helped him obtain the praetorship of 51 BCE, despite the antiquity of the imagines. In this case, Otacilia (if her identity is secure) bequeathed the lux of her distant ancestors’ imagines to her son.

Suetonius provides further supporting evidence. In his account of the aforementioned funus for Iulia C.f. (RE 541) in 69 BCE, he retains a fragment of her laudatio funebris, delivered by her nephew Caesar when he was quaestor (Caius Iulius Caesar fr. 29 ORF = Suet. Iul. 6.1). In this speech, Caesar emphasises the illustrious patrilineal and matrilineal ancestry of Iulia, particularly through her mother Marcia Q.f. (RE 113):

Amitae meae Iuliae maternum genus ab regibus ortum, paternum cum diis inmortalibus coniunctum est. Nam ab Anco Marcio sunt Marcii Reges, quo nomine fuit mater; a Venere Iulii, cuius gentis familia est nostra. Est ergo in genere et sanctitas regum, qui plurimum inter homines pollent, et caerimonia deorum, quorum ipsi in potestate sunt reges (Caius Iulius Caesar fr. 29 ORF = Suet. Iul. 6.1).

The maternal stock of my aunt Iulia arose from kings, her paternal stock is linked to the immortal gods. For the Marcii Reges come from Ancus Marcius, and her mother [Marcia] was of that name [family]; the Iulii, which is our family’s clan, are from Venus. Therefore our stock has the sanctity of kings, who are most powerful among men, and the ceremony [sacredness] of the gods, who have power over the kings themselves131.

While Caesar does not explicitly refer to imagines in this extract of the speech, legendary imagines clearly existed: the imago of Ancus Marcius may have been part of Iulia’s pompa imaginum132. He and his family inherited the sanctitas of kings through Iulia’s mother Marcia, herself a daughter or sister of Quintus Marcius Rex (RE 90, pr. 144 BCE) and thus sister or aunt of Quintus Marcius Rex (RE 91, cos. 118 BCE). Presumably, this sanctitas was inherited by virtue of the imago of Ancus Marcius that Marcia provided in marriage to Caius Iulius Caesar (RE 129). Caesar’s invocation of Ancus Marcius recalls Livy’s reference to Ancus Marcius (RE 9) acquiring an imago of Numa Pompilius from his mother Pompilia (Livy 1.34.6). Perhaps Numa’s imago was present in Iulia’s pompa imaginum too. It was through his aunt Iulia and her mother Marcia that Caesar inherited the lux of such regnal imagines. Caesar makes it abundantly clear that matrilineal ancestry mattered.

Propertius’ famous elegy for Cornelia (P.f.) (RE 419, PIR2 C 1475) illuminates the connection between an elite woman’s matrilineal ancestry and the tituli accompanying imagines (Prop. 4.11.29-32)133. In this elegy, Propertius’ Cornelia recalls the ancestral trophies denoting her patrilineal and matrilineal ancestry – via the gens Cornelia through her (uncertain and poorly attested) father (Publius) Cornelius (cognomen uncertain, Lentulus Marcellinus or Scipio) (RE 332, PIR2 C 1437) and the gens Scribonia through her mother Scribonia L.f. (RE 32, PIR2 S 274) – and in this recollection she alludes to both her patrilineal and matrilineal tituli134:

Si cui fama fuit per avita tropaea decori, / aera Numantinos nostra loquuntur avos: / altera maternos exaequat turba Libones, / et domus est titulis utraque fulta suis (Prop. 4.11.29-32).

If fame from ancestral trophies has distinguished anyone, our bronzes [statues] speak of Numantine ancestors: another crowd, the [Scribonii] Libones of [my] maternal side [Scribonia], equals these, and each of the two houses is supported by its descriptive inscriptions [tituli]135.

Cornelia, wife of Paullus Aemilius Lepidus (RE 82, PIR2 A 373, cos. suff. 34 BCE) and sister of either Publius Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus (RE 223, PIR2 C 1396, cos. 18 BCE) or Publius Cornelius Scipio (RE 333, PIR2 C 1438, cos. 16 BCE), would have inherited many patrilineal and matrilineal imagines and tituli of the gentes Cornelia and Scribonia, transferring copies of them from her natal home into her marital one136. In this elegy, Propertius’ Cornelia explicitly invokes the matrilineal tituli (and thus imagines) she received from her mother Scribonia, who was daughter of Lucius Scribonius Libo (RE 19) and sister of Lucius Scribonius Libo (RE 20, PIR2 S 264, cos. 34 BCE)137. Scribonia would have received the tituli and imagines of her distant patrilineal ancestors Lucius Scribonius Libo (RE 16, pr. 204 BCE) and Lucius Scribonius Libo (RE 17, pr. 192 BCE). Propertius’ Cornelia, then, is referring to the consular titulus of her matrilineal uncle and the praetorian tituli of her distant matrilineal ancestors. Matrilineal ancestral trophies – statues, tituli, and imagines – graced and supported Cornelia’s marital home, conspicuously memorialising and glorifying her matrilineal ancestry.

Suetonius’ account of the emperor (Servius Sulpicus) Galba’s (RE 63, PIR2 S 1003, cos. ord. 33, 69 CE) ancestry and imagines offers further insight. In this account, Suetonius stresses the illustrious patrilineal and matrilineal ancestry and imagines of Galba’s mother Mummia Achaica (RE 26, PIR2 M 712), who died when he was young138:

Neroni Galba successit nullo gradu contingens Caesarum domum, sed haud dubie nobilissimus magnaque et vetere prosapia, ut qui statuarum titulis pronepotem se Quinti Catuli Capitolini semper ascripserit, imperator vero etiam stemma in atrio proposuerit, quo paternam originem ad Iovem, maternam ad Pasiphaam Minonis uxorem referret. Imagines et elogia universi generis exequi longum est (Suet. Galb. 2-3).

Nero was succeeded by Galba, who was related in no degree [cf. social position, rank] to the house of the Caesars, but was without doubt of the highest aristocracy [nobility] with a great and ancient lineage, for he always added to the inscriptions on his statues that he was the great-grandson of Quintus [Lutatius] Catulus Capitolinus, and when he became emperor he even displayed a family tree in his entrance hall on which he traced back his paternal origins to Jupiter and his maternal origins [through Mummia Achaica] to Pasiphaë wife of Minos. It is a long thing [exercise] to follow the ancestor masks and elogia [= tituli] of the entire stock139.

Here Suetonius reports that Galba treasured his matrilineal ancestry through Mummia Achaica, perhaps even more so than his patrilineal ancestry. While Galba inherited consular imagines and tituli from his father Caius Sulpicius Galba (RE 53, PIR2 S 999, cos. suff. 5 CE) and patrilineal great-great-great-great grandfather Servius Sulpicius Galba (RE 58, cos. 144 BCE), his matrilineal ancestry and matrilineal imagines were equally (if not more) illustrious. For Mummia Achaica’s patrilineal great-grandfather was the famed Lucius Mummius (Achaicus) (RE 7a, cos. 146 BCE) victor over Corinth140. Moreover, her matrilineal grandfather was the Quintus Lutatius Catulus (RE 8, cos. 78 BCE) that Galba so cherished, her matrilineal great-grandfather thence Quintus Lutatius Catulus (RE 7, cos. 102 BCE), who himself received the imagines of the gens Servilia in marriage, and Mummia’s family reputedly stretched back to the legendary Pasiphaë herself141. Suetonius’ direct references to matrilineal ancestry in the stemma of Galba’s atrium, as well as to the many (presumably patrilineal and matrilineal) imagines and tituli, indicate that during Galba’s reign female maiores and matrilineal ancestry were important to his elite (imperial) identity – even though his reign was short and his Republicanism exceptional142. Galba’s deceased mother Mummia Achaica was a female maior: it was she who bequeathed the inheritance of illustrious imagines and tituli on Galba, including those of the gentes Mummia, Lutatia, and Servilia.

The stemma in Galba’s atrium provokes another question. If Galba traced back his maternal origins on his stemma to Pasiphaë, might that suggest that she was represented by an imago picta or a titulus on this stemma143? Suetonius’ Pasiphaa Minonis uxor resembles elite female nomenclature and the brevity of tituli (Suet. Galb. 2)144. If Pasiphaë was represented by either or both of these, what would preclude the inclusion of other imagines pictae or tituli for female maiores, legendary or otherwise, in stemmata? Plutarch indicates that many elite families sought lineages from Numa through either his sons or his daughter Pompilia (Plut. Vit. Num. 21), recalling Livy’s account of Ancus Marcius and his matrilineal imago of Numa (Livy 1.34.6), as well as Caesar’s evocation of Ancus Marcius and Marcia in his laudatio for his aunt Iulia (Caius Iulius Caesar fr. 29 ORF). Perhaps then imagines pictae or tituli of the historical Marcia and the legendary Pompilia existed in the stemma in Iulia’s atrium. Statius offers some support for this supposition in his Silvae. He suggests that Caius Vitorius Hosidius Geta (RE 1, PIR2 H 217), the son of his friend Marcus Vitorius Marcellus (RE 2, PIR2 H 217, cos. suff. 105 CE), is blessed by his maternal stemma:

Surge, agedum, iuvenemque puer deprende parentem, / stemmate materno felix, virtute paterna (Stat. Silv. 4.4.74-75).

Arise, be doing, boy [Caius Vitorius Hosidius Geta], and overtake your young parent [Marcus Vitorius Marcellus], blessed by your maternal family tree and your paternal virtue145!

Here Statius refers to the stemma of a conjectural Hosidia Geta (RE Vitorius 1, 2), wife of Marcellus and daughter (or granddaughter) of a Caius (or Cnaeus) Hosidius Geta (RE 5, PIR2 H 217). Her father (or grandfather) received ornamenta triumphalia (triumphal ornaments) in 43 CE146. If Statius’ stemma materna is not simply a literary evocation, it may suggest that Hosidia Geta was represented in some way in the stemma in Marcellus’ atrium, perhaps with an imago picta or titulus147. Cicero and Pliny’s (the Younger) aforementioned allusions to patrilineal and matrilineal nomina could also support the existence of tituli for elite women in stemmata, if by nomina they meant tituli (Cic. Planc. 18; Plin. Ep. 3.3.6; 8.10.3). Moreover, Seneca (the Younger) and Pliny’s (the Elder) paradigmatic statements about stemmata do not preclude the existence of such elite female tituli or imagines pictae:

Qui imagines in atrio exponunt et nomina familiae suae longo ordine ac multis stemmatum inligata flexuris in parte prima aedium conlocant, non noti magis quam nobiles sunt (Sen. Ben. 3.28.2)?

Those who display ancestor masks in their entrance hall and set up the names [= tituli] of their family in a long order and fastened [attached] in the multiple bends of family trees in the first part of the house, are they not notable rather than noble [aristocratic]148?

Stemmata vero lineis discurrebant ad imagines pictas (Plin. HN 35.6).

The family trees moreover traced their lines to painted family portraits149.

Perhaps, then, female maiores were memorialised in atria, not with wax imagines of their own, but in the form of nomina familiae (tituli) and imagines pictae in stemmata. If elite female tituli and imagines pictae existed, they would have elucidated family connections and matrilineal ancestry. These, in conjunction with elite male imagines and tituli, may even have functioned as a formal measure of an elite woman’s social position before the passage of the lex Iulia de maritandis ordinibus (18 BCE) and the lex Papia Poppaea (9 CE), though we cannot be certain150. Nonetheless, the aforementioned evidence demonstrates that matrilineal ancestry and imagines could constitute and signify elite female and male social position and status in the Republic and Empire.


Imagines were a constant presence throughout the lives of elite women. Like Clodia, a filia would have felt the lux of the imagines – both a blessing and burden – and their constant didactic presence in her natal home, for they loomed over her when she walked through the atrium or when (if) she worked wool on the telae there. Like Antonia and Calpurnia, a nupta and uxor inherited her patrilineal and matrilineal imagines maiorum and transferred these bridal imagines to her marital family, bringing copies from her natal atrium to her marital atrium. Her bridal imagines were a kind of inheritance and dos that embodied her social position and status vis-à-vis her ancestors. Like Pomponia, a matrona and mater would have encouraged her sons to attain the aedileship (or the higher curule magistracies) and the attendant imago. Like Corellia, she would have also used imagines as didactic tools with her own children. As with Caecilia, Aemilia, and Fausta Cornelia, remarriage and divorce might affect the (re)configurations of her bridal imagines: if her marriage was dissolved by death or divorce, her bridal imagines might become an inheritance for any surviving children, but otherwise their fate is uncertain. At an elite woman’s funus, patrilineal and matrilineal imagines might accompany her in a pompa imaginum, as with the funera for Iunia, Iulia, and Tertia Iunia. Beyond her death, when an elite woman became a female maior like Marcia, Scribonia, or Mummia Achaica, her patrilineal and matrilineal ancestry and imagines could constitute her own and her descendants’ social position and status. Finally, these descendants may have memorialised a female maior with her own titulus or imago picta in the stemmata in their atria, thence elucidating their matrilineal ancestry. Thence the imagines maiorum were not just symbols of paternal gloria, but also of maternal gloria. Matrilineal ancestry mattered. An elite atrium and a pompa imaginum could be full of both patrilineal and matrilineal imagines. Consequently, the ancestry of an elite woman could be physically present and on display in elite homes and funerary practices. For an elite married woman, her bridal imagines were a physical reminder of her natal family and her presence in the marital home, and a potential source of comfort, inspiration, pride, or even shame.

We must, then, reconsider the imago. While there may have been no wax imagines of elite women, elite women were certainly coupled, identified, and connected with them in both the Republic and Empire. These imagines and their accompanying tituli could function as an inheritance and dos for an elite woman, transmitting the social position and status of an elite woman from her natal family to her marital family. Thus, for example, the consular imagines and tituli of Otacilia and Mummia Achaica elevated their descendants. For, as Cicero suggests, their descendants now had consular names (tituli) from the matrilineal side (Cic. Planc. 18). Thence an elite woman’s social position and status, as inherited from her patrilineal and matrilineal ancestors, could be conferred upon any husband(s) and subsequent children, and the imagines were part of this conferral. An elite woman’s imagines maiorum were her own commendatio maiorum: her social position and status materialised. Truly, an elite woman could say:

Parem ex maiorum imaginibus gloriam traxi (Val. Max. 5.5.praef)!

I drew equal status from the ancestor masks!


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1 Recent significant studies: Drerup 1980; Flower 1996; Walter 2004, esp. 109-111; Rüpke 2006; Pollini 2007; Kaplow 2008; Rose 2008; Hölkeskamp 2010, esp. 112-115. Return to text

Many thanks to Lovisa Brännstedt, Jacqueline Clarke, Kyle Conrau-Lewis, Jacqueline Fabre-Serris, Judith Hallett, Alison Keith, Chris de L’isle, Tuomo Nuorluoto, Ida Östenberg, Robin Rönnlund, C. Brian Rose, Irene Selsvold, Kimberley Webb, Helène Whittaker, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and feedback on initial drafts of this article. Any remaining errors are my own. RE and PIR2 numbers provided for persons discussed, where available. All magistracies and associated abbreviations: Broughton 1951; 1952; RE; PIR2. Female nomenclature: Raepsaet-Charlier 1987; Kajava 1994. Latin from the PHI Latin Corpus and Greek from the TLG, unless otherwise indicated. All translations are my own.

2 Apart from a brief discussion on their transmission from natal to marital homes in the RE and by Flower: RE s.v. imagines maiorum; Flower 1996, 59, 103, 201-202. Return to text

3 My focus will be on these imagines, not on the broader subject of elite women and their numerous roles in Roman funerary practices. On this topic, see recent discussions: Šterbenk Erker 2009; 2010; Valentini 2012, 119-199. See also a forthcoming article by Ida Östenberg, which she kindly provided me in advance: Östenberg (forthcoming). Return to text

4 By inheritance, I mean inherited property. On Roman women and inheritance: Dixon 1985; Crook 1986; Evans 1991, 71-83; Gardner 1995, 163-204. By dos, I mean the dotal property transmitted from a bride’s natal family to her marital one in marriage, which, in some instances, could operate as (part or the entirety of) an elite woman’s inheritance. Dotal property encompassed money, land, farms, buildings, livestock, slaves, gold, clothing, jewelry, household goods, and more. On dotal property: Evans 1991, 53-71; Treggiari 2002, 323-364, esp. 348-350. If a woman entered manus through marriage, this dotal property became the property of her marital paterfamilias. If she did not enter manus, her marital paterfamilias could use this property (with certain limits), but it remained the property of her natal paterfamilias (or her own if she was sui iuris – subject to tutela where relevant). Manus marriages seem to have been uncommon from the time of Cicero onwards. Marriages without manus – marriages sine manu – gradually overtook manus marriages as the default form from roughly the late second century BCE onwards. On these developments: Saller 1984, 196; 1994, 76; Dixon 1985, 163; Treggiari 2002, 30-34; Hin 2013, 289. If a woman’s marriage ended in divorce or widowhood, she or her natal family could recover (all or some of) the dotal property – subject to pre-existing dotal contracts and certain rules regarding marital conduct and maintenance of children. See: Saller 1984; Dixon 1985, 163; Crook 1986, 68-69; Treggiari 2002, 324-331, 350-353. On the possible (re)configurations of imagines on the occasions of divorce or remarriage, see discussion below. On dos functioning as an inheritance: Dig.; 28.5.62. See: Saller 1984 (with reservations); Dixon 1985, esp. 167-168; Gardner 1985; Champlin 1991, 117-118; Evans 1991, 68, 79-83. In this article, ‘social position’ is equated with locus, gradus, or dignitas, interconnected with but distinct from ‘status’, gloria. Cf. OLD s.v. locus (17, 18); gradus (8); dignitas (3); gloria (1a). I conceptualise status as the symbolic capital of individuals, their ‘prestige, reputation, [and] renown’ (Bourdieu 1985, 724). The symbolic capital of an individual contributes to their social position, that is, it helps to define social hierarchies. Symbolic capital emerges from legitimated or recognised forms of capital, viz. economic (wealth and assets), cultural (knowledge and values), and social (relationships and networks). On symbolic capital and the Roman elite: Beck 2005, 114-154; Hölkeskamp 2010, 107-124. Return to text

5 As attested paradigmatically by Polybius, Diodorus, Seneca (the Younger), Pliny (the Elder), and the Codex Iustinianus: Polyb. 6.53.4-54.3; Diod. Sic. 31.25.2; Sen. Ben. 3.28.2; Plin. HN 35.6; Cod. Iust. See: Flower 1996, 37-43 (Polybius and Pliny), 104-105 (Diodorus), 110-111 (Polybius), 259 (Seneca), 264-269 (Codex Iustinianus); Rose 2008, 113, esp. n. 89. For all textual testimonia: Flower 1996, 281-332. In what follows, I translate both imagines and imagines maiorum as ancestor masks, and imago as ancestor mask. Cf. OLD s.v. imago (2a); Flower 1996. Notably, much of our surviving literary evidence for the imagines derives from outsiders and new members of the office-holding elite (e.g., the evidence of Cicero, Pliny (the Elder), and Seneca (the Younger)), not long-term members, and is thus coloured by their outsider and newcomer status and goals. See: Flower 1996, 61-65. Return to text

6 Cf. Cic. Rab. Post. 16-17. See: Flower 1996, 53-59. Plebeian and curule aedileship by Cicero’s time: Taylor 1939; Flower 1996, 54, esp. n. 111. On skipping the aedileship: Livy 32.7.8-12; Plut. Vit. Flam. 2.1-2; App. Pun. 112. See: Beck 2005, 368-393; Lushkov 2015, 151-159. Male and female descendants: Cic. Vat. 28; Senatus Consultum de Cn. Pisone patre (SCPP) 76-82; Plin. Ep. 8.10.3. See: Flower 1996, 59, 103, 201-202 and discussion below. Return to text

7 Flower 1996, 7; Pollini 2007, 237. Elite women could attain public sacerdotal office, but this did not entitle them to imagines. On their sacerdotal offices: Boëls-Janssen 1993; Schultz 2006; Hemelrijk 2015; DiLuzio 2016. Return to text

8 Elite women also had other honours and privileges, including public sacerdotal office, prestigious non-sacerdotal religious roles, honorific statues and inscriptions, titles, representations on coins, privileged movement, elaborate transport and clothing, and public funerals. See: Chastagnol 1979; Purcell 1986; Hemelrijk 1987; 1999; 2005; 2012; 2015; Flory 1993; 1998; Hillard 2001; Berg 2002; Flower 2002; Schultz 2006; DiLuzio 2016; Hudson 2016; Webb (forthcoming). Return to text

9 Life-like: Polyb. 6.53.5. Wax: Plin. HN 35.6. Fictores: Serv. auct. ad. Verg. Aen. 8.634. Created during lifetime: SCPP 76-82; Tac. Ann. 2.32. See: Flower 1996, 2, 36-38, 53-59, 206; Rose 2008, 113-115. For possible creation after untimely death: Pollini 2007, 238, esp. n. 5. On the creation process for an imago: Rose 2008, 113-114; Rose & Lovink 2014. Return to text

10 Polyb. 6.53.4; Asc. Mil. 43C; Sen. Ben. 3.28.2; Ep. 44.5; 76.12; Plin. HN 35.6. See: Flower 1996, 40-46, 185-202. Return to text

11 Tituli: Livy 10.7.11. Cf. Livy 8.40.4; 22.31.11; Hor. Sat. 1.6.17; Panegyricus Messallae 28-36; Val. Max. 5.8.3; Tac. Dial. 8.4; Sil. Pun. 4.493-497. See: Flower 1996, 180-184, 206-207. For potential paradigms for tituli: CIL VI.1286; 1304; 1319; 31617; 37077; X.6087; Asc. Pis. 12C. Return to text

12 Flower 1996, 59. Return to text

13 On stemma and imagines pictae: Sen. Ben. 3.28.2; Plin. HN 35.6; Stat. Silv. 4.4.75; Mart. 4.40.1; 5.35.4; Suet. Galb. 2; Vesp. 12; Plut. Vit. Num. 21; SHA Alex. Sev. 44.3; Isid. Etym. 9.6.28. See: Flower 1996, 40-46; Corbier 2007; Pollini 2007, 239. Return to text

14 Polyb. 6.53.6-6.54.1; Diod. Sic. 31.25.2; Plin. HN 35.6. See: Crawford 1941; Flower 2006, 91-127; Favro and Johanson 2010. Laudationes funebres: Polyb. 6.54.1; Sempronius Asellio fr. 13 FrRH; CIL VI.1527 (laudatio Turiae); VI.10230 (laudatio Murdiae); Plin HN 7.139-140; Tac. Ann. 3.76; Plut. Vit. Caes. 5.2-5; Suet. Iul. 6.1. See: Flower 1996, 128-158. Return to text

15 Composition of pompa funebris adduced from Polyb. 6.53.6-9; Cic. De Or. 2.225; Diod. Sic. 31.25.2; Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 7.72.12; Hor. Epod. 8.11-12; Tac. Ann. 3.76; Suet. Vesp. 19.2; and the late Republican Amiternum relief apud Flower 1996, plate 6. See: Flower 1996, 98-106. Return to text

16 Imagines in the pompa funebris: Plaut. Amph. 458-459; Polyb. 6.53.6-9; Cic. De Or. 2.225-226; Mil. 33, 86; Diod. Sic. 31.25.2; Hor. Epod. 8.11-12; Livy Per. 48; Val. Max. 2.9.3; 5.8.3; 8.15.1-2; Plin. HN 35.6; Tac. Ann. 2.32; 2.73; 3.5; 3.76; 4.9; Plut. Vit. Caes. 5; App. Hisp. 89; Dio. 56.34. See: Flower 1996, 91-127. Actors with imagines, carriages, magisterial and honorific garb, retinues, and simulated behaviours: Polyb. 6.53.7-9; Diod. Sic. 31.25.2; Suet. Vesp. 19.2. See: Flower 1996, 102-106; Hölkeskamp 2011, 113. For the view that the actors-as-ancestors with their imagines represented statues: Rüpke 2006, 272-278. Return to text

17 Polyb. 6.5.8-9; Tac. Ann. 3.5. See: Walbank 1957, 739; Flower 1996, 129-130; Woodman & Martin 2004, 100. Ivory curule chair: Polyb. 6.53.9; Dion. Hal. 3.62.1; Livy 5.41.2; Hor. Epist. 1.6.53-54; Ov. Fast. 5.51; Pont. 4.9.27-28. Return to text

18 See: Walbank 1957, 737; Flower 1996, 130. Return to text

19 Flower 1996, 127. Return to text

20 See: Flower 1996, 46-47, 223, 263-264, 268; Pollini 2007, 245-252. Earliest literary references: Plaut. Amph. 458-459; Polyb. 6.53.4-54.3; Afr. frs. 363-364 Ribbeck. For their use in the third and second centuries BCE: Polyb. 6.53.4-54.4; Sall. Iug. 4.5-6; Livy 22.31.8-11; Val. Max. 8.15.1-2; App. Hisp. 89. Flower and Pollini posit the late fourth century BCE as potential origin: Flower 1996, 46; Pollini 2007, 245-252. For the early sixth century CE as final secure attestation: Cod. Iust.; Boethius, Con. 1.pros.1.3. See: Flower 1996, 268. Return to text

21 Restriction adduced from: Dio 47.19.2; Pompon. Porph. ad Hor. Epod. 8.11-12. See: Flower 1996, 223, 263-264. Additionally, the fire of 64 CE probably destroyed many imagines: Suet. Ner. 38.2. See: Flower 1996, 259. Return to text

22 Imagines and public office: Cic. Planc. 18; Rab. Post. 16-17; Verr. 2.5.36; Sall. Iug. 85.10, 25, 29-30, 38. See: Flower 1996, 10, 63-64, 220-222. On the patricio-plebeian senatorial elite as an aristocracy of office: Hölkeskamp 1993; 2010; 2011; Cornell 1995; Ryan 1998; Jehne 2011. Here I use the more inclusive terms patricio-plebeian senatorial elite or aristocracy of office as opposed to the more exclusive terms nobilitas or nobiles. On problems with these latter terms: Hölkeskamp 1993, 14; 2010, 78. Return to text

23 Hölkeskamp 2010, 112-115. Return to text

24 On imagines and the commendatio maiorum: Cic. Leg. Agr. 2.100; Pis. 1; Planc. 18, 51; Sall. Iug. 85.21-25, 29-30, 38; Hor. Sat. 1.6.7-17. See: Flower 1996, 60-90, 206; Morstein-Marx 1998, esp. 273-274, 279; Kaplow 2008, 410; Hölkeskamp 2010, 122. On Tiberius’ transfer of magisterial elections to the Senate in 14 CE: Tac. Ann. 1.14-15. See: Lacey 1963; Levick 1967; 1999, 69-88. Return to text

25 Didactic and exemplary nature of imagines: Polyb. 6.53-54; Afr. frs. 363-364 Ribbeck; Cic. Cael. 33-34; De or. 2.225-226; Mur. 88; Phil. 2.26; Pis. 1; Planc. 51; Sall. Iug. 4.5-6, 85.21-23, 38; Sen. Controv. 1.6.3; Panegyricus Messallae 28-36; Vell. Pat. 2.116.4; Val. Max. 3.3(ext).7; 3.5; 5.8.3; Laus Pisonis 1-24, 32-34; Iuv. 8.1-23; Plin. Ep. 3.3.6; Tac. Ann. 2.27; Plut. Vit. Mar. 9.2. See: Flower 1996, 220-221; Hölkeskamp 2006, 483. Cf. cultural memory in the Roman Republic and Empire: Gowing 2005; Hölkeskamp 2006; Flower 2014; Galinsky (ed.) 2014; Galinsky & Lapatin (eds.) 2015. Return to text

26 That the imagines (and accompanying spectacles) were an inheritance for the descendants of an office-holder is evinced by various authors of the Republic and Empire: Polyb. 6.54.2; Cic. Rab. Post. 16; Verr. 2.5.36; Sall. Iug. 85.30, 38; Sen. Controv. 1.6.3; Livy 3.58.2; Plin. HN 35.8; Plin. Ep. 8.10.3; Cod. Iust. Cf. Flower 1996, 10, 22-23, 264-265. It is uncertain whether the inheritance of imagines was effected or affected by testamentary dispositions or intestate succession. Pliny (the Elder) records one instance where testamentary adoption led to the inheritance of imagines: Plin. HN 35.8. In this passage, Pliny indicates: a) that a Cornelius Scipio Salvitto (RE 357, cf. Plin. HN 7.54; Plut. Vit. Caes. 52.5) adopted a Cornelius Scipio Pomponianus (RE 357) into the gens Cornelia via adoptio testamentaria (testamentary adoption); b) that Salvitto was heir to the imagines of the Africani, sc. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (RE 336, cos. 205, 194 BCE) and Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus (RE 335, cos. 147, 134 BCE); c) that by virtue of his testamentary adoption Pomponianus inherited and displayed these same imagines in his atrium; d) that Marcus Valerius Messalla Rufus (RE 268, cos. 53 BCE) was so incensed to see these imagines in Pomponianus’ atrium that he wrote his De familiis on genealogies in response. This passage reveals that some members of the elite were critical of the inheritance of imagines by testamentary adoption, but does not clarify whether imagines were (always or ever) bequeathed by testamentary dispositions, what might happen during intestate succession, or whether Rufus’ De familiis had any impact on the inheritance and display of imagines. On the imagines and the testamentary adoption of Pomponianus: Billows 1982, 53-62; Lindsay 2009, 162-163; Cornell (ed.) 2013, 386-388. Adoption inter vivos (and perhaps testamentary adoption) does not seem to have altered the ability of a person to inherit the imagines of biological ancestors. Cf. inclusion of the imagines of biological and adoptive ancestors in pompae imaginum: Tac. Ann. 3.76 (see discussion below); 4.9 (presence of imagines of gentes Iulia and Claudia at Drusus Iulius Caesar’s (PIR2 I 219, cos. 15, 21 CE) pompa imaginum in 23 CE). See: Flower 1996, 85, 243. It seems that the creation, inheritance, and display of imagines occupied the realms of custom, family arbitration, and law: Cic. Fam. 9.21 (advice on the selection of imagines for an atrium); SCPP 76-82 (legal ban, custom, and the display of imagines); Plin. HN 35.8 (publicly expressed disapproval at the creation, inheritance, and display of certain imagines). The aforementioned passage of Pliny provides further evidence of this (Plin. HN 35.8). Beyond the reference to Rufus, Pliny indicates that Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus (RE 261, cos. 31 BCE) delivered a speech in which he (presumably as paterfamilias) forbade (prohibere) the introduction of an aliena imago (unbelonging or unfamiliar ancestor mask) of the Valerii Laevini into his family. In this instance, Corvinus made the ultimate decision regarding the inheritance of this imago. See: Billows 1982, 54; Cornell (ed.) 2013, 387. The display – but not creation – of imagines in atria and pompae imaginum could of course be restricted by legal bans: SCPP 76-82; Tac. Ann. 2.32. See: Flower 1996, 23-31. The SCPP of 20 CE does not treat the imagines of the gens Calpurnia alongside matters of confiscated property and inheritance, but instead treats them as a separate matter of custom and family (SCPP 76-82). See: Flower 1996, 56-59. The Constantinian edict of 326 CE, however, does treat them as a matter of inheritance for minors (Cod. Iust. See: Flower 1996, 264-265. What can we make of this? Prior to the Constantinian edict (and perhaps thereafter), I suggest imagines were functionally an inheritance, but that their creation, inheritance, and display were subject to custom and family arbitration, not just testamentary dispositions or intestate succession. In these respects, decisions regarding imagines may have been made by the paterfamilias of an elite household (like Corvinus) – in consultation with a family consilium – and these decisions would be subject to scrutiny and potential criticism from other members of the elite (like Rufus). See: Flower 1996, 56-59. Return to text

27 Sall. Iug. 85.30: hereditas for the office-holding elite. Cod. Iust. patrimonium for minors. See: Flower 1996, 22-23, 264-265. Return to text

28 Cf. n. 26. See: Flower 1996, 53-59, esp. 59. Return to text

29 Flower 1996, 223-269, esp. 265-266. Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (cos. 510 CE) was himself a member of the office-holding elite and well aware of the imagines: Matthews 1981; Flower 1996, 265-266. For the smoky colour of the imagines, presumably from smoke stains and dirt in atria: Cic. Pis. 1; Sen. Ep. 44.5; Iuv. 8.8. See: Flower 1996, 186, 265. Return to text

30 This definition excludes wealthy sub-elite women, e.g. equestrian women, and encompasses both imperial and non-imperial elite women in the Empire. These are the women related to past, present, and future senators, thence those with (potential) access to male imagines. For elite women as senatorial women: Raepsaet-Charlier 1987, 1-14; Hemelrijk 1999, 10-13, 202; Webb (forthcoming). Overviews: Chastagnol 1979; Hallett 1984a; Purcell 1986; Raepsaet-Charlier 1987; Evans 1991; Boëls-Janssen 1993; 2008; Bauman 1994; Hemelrijk 1999; 2015; Flower 2002; Hänninen 2011; Valentini 2012. Return to text

31 Cf. CIL VI.1274; 10043. See: Kajava 1994, 19-31. Outside of the epigraphic context, elite women were probably referred to with their nomina in formal contexts and a range of personal names in informal contexts, including nomina, praenomina (particularly for multiple homonymous women e.g. female agnates), relational expressions (filia, uxor etc.), diminutives, nicknames, and pet names. See: e.g., Cic. Div. 1.103 (mea Tertia); 2.83 (Aemilia); Fam. 2.15.2 (Tullia mea); 4.5.1 (Tullia filia tua); 14.1.5 (mea Terentia); 14.4.3 (Tulliola mea); 14.19.1 (Tullia nostra); QFr. 2.6.1 (Tullia nostra). See: Kajava 1994, esp. 19-31, 118-124. Return to text

32 Fathers: Cic. Cael. 33; Phil. 3.16; Rosc. Am. 147. Brothers: Cic. Rosc. Am. 147; Livy Per. 19; Val. Max. 8.1.damn.4; Gell. NA 10.6.2; Suet. Tib. 2. Husbands: C. Gracch. fr. 48 ORF; Cic. Cael. 34. Sons: Polyb. 10.4.4-5.7; Nep. fr. 59 Marshall; Livy 40.37.6; Val. Max. 4.4.praef. See: Dixon 1988; Hemelrijk 1999, 10. Return to text

33 Hemelrijk 1999; 2015; Treggiari 2002; Langlands 2006; Schultz 2006; DiLuzio 2016. An elite woman’s social position, influence, and authority improved when she became a mother, and grew (along with her independence) if she was widowed. See: Hemelrijk 1999, 9-10. Return to text

34 Cf. Raepsaet-Charlier 1987, 1-14; Hemelrijk 1999, 10-13, 202; Webb (forthcoming). Return to text

35 In the Republic, a male senator had a formal social position based on his highest attained magisterial public office. We can thus speak in ascending order of non-curule (tribunician, quaestorian, aedilician) to curule (aedilician, praetorian, consular) senators, with consular senators and the princeps senatus at the summit. The formal cursus honorum with its sequence of offices was probably established in the middle of the third century BCE and certainly by the time of the lex Villia annalis of 180 BCE. Cf. CIL I2, p. 192 (elogium for Appius Claudius Caecus (RE 91, cos. 307, 296 BCE)); I2, p. 193 (elogium for Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus (RE 116, cos. 233, 228, 215, 214, 209 BCE)); IX.416 (lex Latina Tabulae Bantinae); Plin. HN 7.140 (laudatio for Lucius Caecilius Metellus (RE 72, cos. 251, 247 BCE)). See: Ryan 1998; Beck 2005, esp. 395-407; Beck et al. 2011, 6; Hölkeskamp 2011, 26; Jehne 2011. Cicero explicitly links some elite women with the praetorian and consular social position of their male relatives: Cic. Att. 2.1.5 (illa consularis); Cael. 33-34 (consular stemma); Phil. 3.16 (praetorian and consular stemmata); Planc. 18 (consular maternal stemma); Rosc. Am. 147 (consular stemma). Cf. consular wives: Papiria C.f. (RE 78) in Polyb. 31.26.6; an ignota in C. Gracch. fr. 48 ORF. Return to text

36 On these laws: Dio 54.16.2; 56.7.2; Dig. 23.2.44, 47. See: Raepsaet-Charlier 1987, 1-4; Hemelrijk 1999, 216-217, n. 18; McGinn 2003, 70-104. Return to text

37 Senatorial wives and daughters: CIL XIII.1801 (c.f., ca. 169 CE); ILAlg-02-03 7909 (c.p., ca. 176 CE); Dig. 1.9.8, 10, 12 (Ulpian). See: Raepsaet-Charlier 1987, 7-8; Hemelrijk 1999, 216, n. 17. Return to text

38 Consular wives: CIG 4380b2 = IGR IV.911 (ὑπατική, 184 CE); ILAfr 414 (consulari feminae); SHA Heliogab. 4.3; Dig. (Ulpian). See: Raepsaet-Charlier 1987, 12; Nicols 1989, 124-125. Return to text

39 For the presence of imagines in the home and spatial concerns: Flower 1996, 185-222. Return to text

40 On elite mothers, daughters, and granddaughters working wool on telae in atria: Asc. Mil. 43C; Livy 1.57.9; Suet. Aug. 64.2; 73.1. Cf. female wool-working in laudationes and an elogium: CIL VI.1527 (laudatio Turiae); VI.10230 (laudatio Murdiae); VI.15346. See: Flower 1996, 195. For loom weights in Roman elite atria as evidence for the presence of women: Allison 2004, 146-148; 2007, 348-349; Strong 2016, 20. Return to text

41 See: Larsson Lovén 1998, 88-89; Hersch 2010, 124-126. Return to text

42 On the public lives of elite women, see: Hallett 1984a; Purcell 1986; Dixon 1988; Evans 1991; Boëls-Janssen 1993; 2008; Bauman 1994; Hemelrijk 1999; 2015; Schultz 2006; Valentini 2012; DiLuzio 2016. Return to text

43 Cic. Phil. 2.26; Iuv. 8.1-23; See: Flower 1996, 207. Return to text

44 Polyb. 6.53.6; Cic. Sull. 88; Sen. Contr. 7.6.10 (festivals); SHA Tac. 19.6. See: Flower 1996, 207-208. That the family members did this themselves and not slaves is suggested by SHA Tac. 19.6. Return to text

45 Decoration: Polyb. 6.53.6; Cic. Mur. 88 (electoral success, laurel). Closure: Val. Max. 3.5; Sen. Contr. 7.6.10. See: Flower 1996, 207-208. Return to text

46 Commentary: Ramsey 2003, 200-201; Richardson 2011, 156, esp. n. 11. The legendary matrilineal imago of Caius Servilius Ahala (RE 32, magister equitum 439 BCE) would have entered the natal atrium of Marcus Iunius Brutus (RE 53, pr. 44 BCE) via his mother Servilia Q.f. (RE 101) or his adoptive father and maternal uncle Quintus Servilius Caepio (RE 40). Cf. Cic. Att. 2.24.3; 13.40.1; Plut. Vit. Brut. 1.5. On matrilineal imagines, see arguments below. Return to text

47 Cf. Flower 1996, 323. Return to text

48 In defense of Marcus Caelius Rufus (RE 35, pr. 48 BCE). Date: Cic. Cael. 1, 78. See: Austin 1977, 151. Return to text

49 Commentary: Austin 1977, 93; Flower 2002, 162-165. Return to text

50 The patrilineal imagines of the gens Claudia may have stretched past Caecus beyond even Attus Clausus sc. Appius Claudius Sabinus Inregillensis (RE 321, cos. 495 BCE) to their Sabine ancestors: Tac. Ann. 4.9. See: Flower 1996, 243. Return to text

51 Father (biological): Quintus Caecilius Metellus Nepos (RE 95, cos. 98 BCE). Uncle and father (adoptive): Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer (RE 85); Grandfather (biological): Quintus Caecilius Metellus Baliaricus (RE 82, cos. 123 BCE). Great-uncle and grandfather (adoptive): Lucius Caecilius Metellus Diadematus (RE 98, cos. 117 BCE). Great-grandfather: Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus (RE 94, cos. 143 BCE). Great-great-grandfather: Quintus Caecilius Metellus (RE 81, cos. 206 BCE). Great-great-great-grandfather: Lucius Caecilius Metellus (RE 72, cos. 251, 247 BCE). On adoption and imagines, cf. n. 26 and discussion on Tac. Ann. 3.76 below. Return to text

52 See: n. 25. Return to text

53 Cf. Flower 1996, 221. Return to text

54 For the lux of the imagines cf. Cic. Ag. 2.1; Sall. Iug. 85.23. For the lux as the glare of publicity: Flower 1996, 63, esp. n. 15. Cf. Morstein-Marx 1998, 273-274, 279. Return to text

55 Telae: n. 40. Lectus genialis: Cic. Cluent. 14; Hor. Epist. 1.1.87; Iuv. 10.334; Gell. 16.9.4; Festus, 83L. Bridal imagines: Cic. Vat. 28; Livy 1.34.6; SCPp 76-82; Plin. Ep. 8.10.3. See: RE s.v. imagines maiorum; Flower 1996, 59, 103, 201-202. Return to text

56 Reproduction and setting up of copies of imagines: Cic. Fam. 9.21.2-3. See: Flower 1996, 206; Rose 2008, 113-114 (plaster); Rose & Lovink 2014 (plaster). Fictores: Serv. auct. ad. Verg. Aen. 8.634. Reproduced tituli are presumed and supported by Sen. Ben. 3.28.2. Return to text

57 On this marriage: Schol. Bob. In Vatin. 27 (149 St.). Iulia L.f. was daughter of Lucius Iulius Caesar (RE 142, cos. 90 BCE). Return to text

58 Cf. OLD s.v. colloco (2, 3, 9). Return to text

59 Commentary: Pocock 1926, 114-115; Flower 1996, 103, 201-202. Return to text

60 By implication of my arguments below, he may also be referring to her matrilineal imagines, e.g. those of her matrilineal grandfather Lucius Iulius Caesar (RE 142, cos. 90 BCE) and great-great grandfather Sextus Iulius Caesar (RE 148, 149, cos. 157 BCE). Return to text

61 Commentary: Ogilvie 1965, 143. Return to text

62 Cf. Flower 1996, 62, 156, 347. Return to text

63 Legendary imagines: Tac. Ann. 4.9; Suet. Iul. 6. See: Flower 1996, 243. Return to text

64 On the SCPP: Eck, Caballos & Fernández 1996; Flower 1996, 23-31; 1998; Potter & Damon 1999. The penalties imposed included: (1) a ban on the mourning of Piso by women (SCPP 73-75); (2) the destruction of Piso’s public and private portraits (SCPP 75-76); (3) a ban on the display of his imago in pompae imaginum and atria of his relatives by birth or marriage (SCPP 76-82); (4) the removal of his name from a public inscription on the Campus Martius (SCPP 82-84); (5) the confiscation of his property (SCPP 84-105); (6) and the destruction of certain additions made by Piso to private houses (SCPP 105-108). See: Flower 1996, 27; 1998, 158-170. Return to text

65 Flower 1996, 102. Return to text

66 Latin apud Potter & Damon 1999, 26. Return to text

67 Commentary: Flower 1996, 24-25. Return to text

68 Interpretation: Flower 1996, 103. Return to text

69 Identification of Calpurnia as granddaughter: Eck, Caballos & Fernández 1996, 83-87 with stemma at 87; Flower 1998, 174 with stemma at 187; Raepsaet-Charlier 1999, 550. Return to text

70 Flower 1998, 164. Return to text

71 Cf. Flower 1996, 58. Piso’s imago may simply have not been displayed. Return to text

72 On the many imagines of the Calpurnii Pisones, see e.g.: Cic. Pis. 1; Laus Pisonis esp. 8, 33. Three of the most notable individuals with imagines from the Calpurnii Pisones follow, viz. those who were both consuls and triumphal generals or recipients of ornamenta triumphalia: Caius Calpurnius Piso (RE 62, cos. 180, triumph 184 BCE), Marcus Pupius Piso Frugi Calpurnianus (RE 10, cos. 61, triumph 69 BCE) and Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi (RE 99, cos. 15, ornamenta triumphalia 11 BCE). Triumphs (all forms) after Rich 2014; Goldbeck & Wienand (eds.) 2017. Return to text

73 Plancina was of course remitted in the SCPP, but later committed suicide when charges were renewed against her: SCPP 109-120; Tac. Ann. 6.26. Return to text

74 CIL VI.1371. See: Eck, Caballos & Fernández 1996, 83-87; Flower 1998, 174, 187; Raepsaet-Charlier 1999, 550 (with reservations). Return to text

75 Date: Sherwin-White 1998, 459. Return to text

76 Commentary: Sherwin-White 1998, 459. Return to text

77 Sherwin-White 1998, 459. Return to text

78 On adoption and the retention of the imagines of biological ancestors, cf. n. 26 and discussion on Tac. Ann. 3.76 below. As with Pomponianus, this was another testamentary adoption: Plin. Ep. 5.8.5. See: Sherwin-White 1998, 334. On Pliny’s (the Younger) biological father: RE Caecilius 40; Caecilius 115; PIR2 C 30; PIR2 C 80; Sherwin-White 1998, 69-70. Pliny may also have acquired patrilineal and matrilineal imagines from an earlier (perhaps second) wife, possibly a Venuleia L.f., conjectural daughter of Lucius Venuleius Montanus Apronianus (RE 9, PIR2 V 376, cos. suff. 92 CE) and Pompeia L.f. Celerina (RE 126, PIR2 P 670), herself a daughter of Lucius Pompeius Vopiscus C. Arruntius Catellius Celer (RE 122, PIR2 P 662, cos. suff. 77 CE), although he may not have kept her imagines after the death of Venuleia and his remarriage to Calpurnia, especially as the marriage was childless – a matter I discuss below. On Venuleia and Pompeia Celerina: Carlon 2009, 103-109; Shelton 2013, 96-97, 259. Return to text

79 Cf. n. 4. Return to text

80 Commentary: Walbank 1967, 199-200. Return to text

81 Walbank 1967, 199. Return to text

82 Walbank 1967, 199-200. Return to text

83 Walbank 1957, 738-740. Return to text

84 Notably that of Quarta Hostilia (RE 27): Livy 40.37.6. See: Briscoe 2008, 502-504. Cf. also the letter attributed to Cornelia P.f. ‘mater Gracchorum’ (RE 407): Nep. fr. 59 Marshall. See: Hallett 2002; Dixon 2007, 26-29. For other examples and commentary: Dixon 1988, 168-203. Return to text

85 Sherwin-White 1998, 211-213. Return to text

86 Date: Sherwin-White 1998, 211. Return to text

87 Commentary: Sherwin-White 1998, 213. Return to text

88 Context of letter: Sherwin-White 1998, 211-213. For identity problems for her husband and a stemma: Carlon 2009, 73-74, 222. Return to text

89 On this particular honour: Carlon 2009, 74. Return to text

90 See: n. 25. Return to text

91 See extensive discussions and accompanying bibliographies: Raepsaet-Charlier 1981-2; Bradley 1991; Treggiari 1991; 2002, 473-482, 516-519; Saller 1994, 2, 43, 46, 220; Hin 2013, 149. Susan Treggiari has collated the sparse surviving sources on divorces in the Republic and Empire, tallying 38 divorces in the Republic – with the majority (32) of these occurring in the 1st century BCE - and 27 in the early Empire (Augustus to Domitian): Treggiari 2002, 516-519. Cf. Raepsaet-Charlier 1981-2, 171-173 (early Empire); Treggiari 1991, 43 (late Republic). Moreover, she has estimated that among the elite there was ‘about one chance in six of a first marriage being dissolved by divorce within the first decade and about the same change of its being dissolved by death’ (Treggiari 1991, 45). Cf. Bradley’s assessment of (high) remarriage frequency in consular families between 80-50 BCE: Bradley 1991, 83. Richard Saller has rightly concluded that we may never know the frequencies of remarriage and divorce: Saller 1994, 220. Nevertheless, Saller claims that ‘divorce and remarriage were easy, carried little stigma, and were experiences so common that any prudent woman or father would take the possibility into account in making a dotal pact or will’ (Saller 1994, 220). In contrast, Treggiari warns that the available data cannot be generalised to ‘argue for a high frequency of divorce among the senatorial or equestrian class in general during the period c. 100 BC to AD 200’ (Treggiari 2002, 481). A vexed question indeed. Return to text

92 On actio rei uxoriae: Cic. Top. 66; Tit. Ulp. 6.6; Cod. Iust. 5.13. For the recovery of dowry in the second century BCE: Polyb. 18.35.6; 31.22.4; Livy Per. 46; Val. Max. 4.4.9. See: Saller 1984; Evans 1991, 66-71; Treggiari 2002, 324-326, 350-353. Return to text

93 On dotal contracts: these contracts controlled the fate of a dowry – who retained it after divorce or the death of a wife – and Saller, Crook, and Treggiari suggest they may have been frequently used by the elite. See: Saller 1984, 197; Crook 1986, 68; Treggiari 2002, 357-361. On rules and deductions: according to the Tituli Ulpiani, if the husband was found to be at fault (adultery or lesser moral offences) in the divorce, he had to repay the dos in full; if he was found to be faultless and his wife or her paterfamilias initiated the divorce, or if his wife was found to be at fault and he initiated the divorce, the husband could retain up to a half of the dos to maintain their children, and a sixth of the dos for moral offences; moreover, in the case of a divorce, the husband could claim deductions based on certain expenses incurred during the marriage and on certain gifts he made to his wife. See: Tit. Ulp. 6. Cf. Cic. Top. 19; Cod. Iust. 5.13. The exact rules for and proportions of the deductions may have differed between the Republic and Empire, but the underlying principle of the possible retention of a proportion of the dowry by the husband was probably the same. See: Saller 1984; Treggiari 2002, 350-361. Return to text

94 Cf. use of solere in SCPP 80 and n. 26. See: Flower 1996, 56-59. Return to text

95 Cf. n. 26. On women and cognatic inheritance: Crook 1986. Return to text

96 Children tended to remain with their father after a divorce. See: Dixon 1986, esp. 108-115; Treggiari 2002, 466-473 (with exceptions). Return to text

97 Although perhaps in a manus marriage the husband had the right to keep her imagines after her death as she was filiafamilias, but this is uncertain. His retention of the imagines was more likely controlled by personal preferences, custom, and community pressures. Cf. n. 26. Return to text

98 Caecilia was thence first cousin once removed of Clodia’s husband Celer. Her grandfather was Lucius Caecilius Metellus Calvus (RE 83, cos. 142 BCE), her great-grandfather was Quintus Caecilius Metellus (RE 81, cos. 206 BCE), and her great-great-grandfather was Lucius Caecilius Metellus (RE 72, cos. 251, 247 BCE). Her uncles and great-uncles with consular imagines included: Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus (RE 97, cos. 109 BCE); Caius Caecilius Metellus Caprarius (RE 84, cos. 113 BCE); Marcus Caecilius Metellus (RE 77, cos. 115 BCE); Lucius Caecilius Metellus Diadematus (RE 98, cos. 117 BCE); Quintus Caecilius Metellus Baliaricus (RE 82, cos. 123 BCE); Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus (RE 94, cos. 143 BCE). For the presence of the imagines of uncles in atria, cf. Cic. Cael. 33 and adfines and cognati in SCPP 76-82. Return to text

99 Cic. Scaur. 45; Sest. 101; Asc. Scaur. 27-28C; Plin. HN 36.116; Plut Vit. Sull. 6.10-12; 33.3; 35.2. Cf. Treggiari 2002, 516. Return to text

100 Cic. Scaur. 45; Sest. 101; Asc. Scaur. 27-28C; Plut. Vit. Pomp. 9.2-3; Vit. Sull. 33.3. Return to text

101 Asc. Scaur. 28C; Plut. Vit. Sull. 34.3; 37.4. Return to text

102 Asc. Scaur. 28C; Plut. Vit. Pomp. 9.2-3; Vit. Sull. 33.3. Cf. Treggiari 2002, 516. Return to text

103 Plut. Vit. Luc. 4.5 (mentioning only Faustus Cornelius). Return to text

104 Cic. Att. 4.13.1; 5.8.2-3; Val. Max. 6.1.13; Asc. Scaur. 28C; Mil. 31, 34C. Cf. Treggiari 2002, 517. Fausta Cornelia must have married Caius Memmius at an early age, as their son supported his half-uncle Marcus Aemilius Scaurus during his trial in 54 BCE: Asc. Scaur. 28C. Return to text

105 For a tabulation of their divorces: Treggiari 2002, 516-517. Return to text

106 If the principles of the SCPP hold for the Republic. Return to text

107 For his survival, note his presence at the trial of his uncle Marcus Aemilius Scaurus: Asc. Scaur. 28C. Return to text

108 Alzinger & Bammer 1971. Return to text

109 On elite women and their numerous roles in Roman funerary practices, especially mourning, see recent extensive discussions: Šterbenk Erker 2009; 2010; Valentini 2012, 119-199. See also: Östenberg (forthcoming). Cf. elite women as principal mourners in SCPP 73-75 and Atia M.f. (RE 34) as testamentary funeral arranger for Caesar in Nicolaus of Damascus fr. 130 FGrHist. See: Flower 1996, 28-29, 116-117; 1998, 159, 177. The question of female arrangement of funera – and perhaps thus of pompae imaginum – is worth examining, but is not one I shall address here. Return to text

110 Popil(l)ia’s (RE 32) elaborate funeral and laudatio of 102 BCE: Cic. De or. 2.44. See: Hillard 2001. Earlier elaborate funerals for elite women: Livy 8.22.2-4 (328 BCE); CIL VI.5.3403 (probably spurious, 168 BCE); Polyb. 31.26.1-6 and Gran. Lic. 28.14-16 (ca. 163-162 BCE). See: Walbank 1979, 503, 505; Lintott 1986; Oakley 2009, 625-627. For elaborate funerals and laudationes as a privilege for elite women from 390 BCE: Livy 5.50.7; Plut. Mor. 242F (De mul. vir. praef.). See: Ogilvie 1965, 741; Hillard 2001; Valentini 2012, 119-199. See also: Östenberg (forthcoming). Return to text

111 Date: Flower 1996, 152; Hillard 2001, 50 n.27. Return to text

112 Crassus’ assertion that Brutus has no place (locus) to set up (conlocare) these imagines may mean that Brutus has none of the prerequisites for setting up an imago, neither an atrium for setting up his ancestral imagines nor the aedileship (or higher curule magistracies) to set up his own (cf. Cic. De Or. 2.226). Return to text

113 Commentary: Wilkins 1881, 308-309. Return to text

114 Cf. Flower 1996, 152-153. Return to text

115 Plut. Vit. Caes. 5.2. Cf. Suet. Iul. 6.1 and discussion below. See: Flower 1996, 124, 237. Return to text

116 Nomenclature: Kajava 1994, 206-207. Return to text

117 Commentary: Woodman & Martin 2004, 496-498. Return to text

118 On Silanus and his adoption: Cic. Fin. 1.24; Val. Max. 5.8.3; Livy Per. 54. See: Woodman & Martin 2004, 496. Return to text

119 Cf. n. 26. See: Flower 1996, 85, 243. Thus Clodia’s husband Celer and Pliny (the Younger) probably inherited the imagines of their biological ancestors. Return to text

120 (Quinctia) (Cri)spina: IG VII.1851. On nomenclature speculation: PIR2 I 1581 and Syme 1989, 190-191. Woodman & Martin 2004, 496-497 do not notice this possibility. Return to text

121 A list of some of the most notable follow, viz. individuals who were both consuls and triumphal generals. Gens Manlia: Aulus Manlius Vulso (RE 89, cos. 474, triumph 474 BCE), Marcus Manlius Capitolinus (RE 51, cos. 392, triumph 392 BCE), Titus Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus (RE 57, cos. 347, 344, 340, triumph 340 BCE), Lucius Manlius Vulso Longus (RE 101, cos. 256, 250, triumph 256 BCE), Aulus Manlius Torquatus Atticus (RE 87, cos. 244, 241, triumph 241 BCE), Titus Manlius Torquatus (RE 82, cos. 235, 224, triumph 235 BCE), Cnaeus Manlius Vulso (RE 91, cos. 189, triumph 187 BCE), and Lucius Manlius Acidinus (Fulvianus) (RE 47, cos. 179, triumph 185 BCE). Gens Quinctia: Titus Quinctius Capitolinus Barbatus (RE 24, cos. 471, 468, 465, 446, 443, 439, triumph 468 BCE), Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus Capitolinus (RE 32, Mil. Tr. c. p. 388, 385, 384, triumph 380 BCE), Titus Quinctius Pennus Capitolinus Crispinus (RE 35, cos. 351, 354, triumph 361 BCE), and Lucius Quinctius Crispinus (RE 37, pr. 186, triumph 184 BCE). Gens Iunia: Caius Iunius Bubulcus Brutus (RE 62, cos. 317, 313, 311, triumph 311, 302 BCE), Caius Iunius Bubulcus Brutus (RE 56, cos. 291, 277, triumph 277 BCE), Decimus Iunius Pera (RE 124, cos. 266, triumph 266, 266 BCE), and Decimus Iunius Brutus Callaicus (RE 57, cos. 138, triumph ca. 133 BCE). Gens Servilia: Quintus Servilius Caepio (RE 49, cos. 106, triumph 107 BCE) and P. Servilius Vatia Isauricus (RE 93, cos. 78, triumph 88, 74 BCE). Gens Cassia: Spurius Cassius Vicellinus (RE 91, cos. 502, 493, 486, triumph 502, 486 BCE). Return to text

122 Flower 1996, 253; Woodman & Martin 2004, 497-498. The challenge to Tiberius is apparent from the context: Tac. Ann. 3.76. Return to text

123 On the restrictions on pompae imaginum for non-imperial elite funerals in the third century CE: n. 21. Return to text

124 Flower 2002; Hänninen 2011. Return to text

125 Commentary: Austin 1977, 93. Return to text

126 Cf. Flower 2002, 162-165; Webb (forthcoming); Webb & Brännstedt (forthcoming). Return to text

127 Statue: Val. Max. 1.8.11; Tac. Ann. 4.64. Stage: Ov. Fast. 4.326. Procession: Cic. Har. Resp. 27; Livy 29.14.10-14; Ov. Fast. 4.291-346. See: Flower 2002, 164. Return to text

128 For identity of Quinta Claudia: Cic. Cael. 34. See: Austin 1977, 93. For identity of Vestal Claudia: Cic. Cael. 34; Val. Max. 5.4.6. Contra: Suet. Tib. 2.4. For this misidentification and a possible copyist error or confusion (e.g. fratrem for patrem): Austin 1977, 93; Rüpke 2008, 609, esp. n. 2; DiLuzio 2016, 225-228. The evidence of Cic. Cael. 34 and Val. Max. 5.4.6 should be preferred to that of Suetonius. Return to text

129 Cf. Cic. Planc. 15, 51. Commentary: Kerin & Allcroft 1891, 67, 69. Return to text

130 Cf. Kerin & Allcroft 1891, 69. On commendatio maiorum see: n. 24. On Otacilia (Laterensis): Val. Max. 8.2.2. On her identification and trial of ca. 66 BCE: Alexander 1990, 182. Return to text

131 Commentary: Crawford 1941, 20; Flower 1996, 143-145; Hillard 2001, 46 n. 4. Return to text

132 Pompa: Plut. Vit. Caes. 5. Legendary imagines: n. 63. See: Flower 1996, 143-145. Return to text

133 I am indebted to Judith Hallett for this suggestion. Return to text

134 On the problematic identity of her father: Tansey 2000, 265-266; Canas 2009, 183-195. Return to text

135 Commentary (small selection): Richardson 1977, 484-485; Hallett 1984b, esp. 257-258; Hutchinson 2006, 237; Hardie 2012, 370. Return to text

136 On the problematic identity of her brother: Canas 2009, 183-195. Return to text

137 On Scribonia’s stemma: Canas 2009, 198-209, esp. 209. Return to text

138 For early death of Mummia Achaica: Suet. Galb. 3. Cf. Galba’s father’s second wife Livia Ocellina (PIR2 L 305). Return to text

139 Commentary: Shotter 1993, 100-101; Dondin-Payre 1994, 130-131. Return to text

140 For Mummia Achaica: Suet. Galb. 4. Cf. maternal heritage in Suet. Iul. 6.1. See: Wiseman 1974, 156. Return to text

141 For the imagines of the gens Servilia, note the marriage of Quintus Lutatius Catulus (RE 7, cos. 102 BCE) to Servilia Q.f. (RE 98), daughter of Quintus Servilius Caepio (RE 48, cos. 140 BCE), sister of Quintus Servilius Caepio (RE 49, cos. 106 BCE), and mother of Mummia’s matrilineal grandfather Quintus Lutatius Catulus (RE 8, cos. 78 BCE) and Lutatia Q.f. (RE 24). The maternity of the son is uncertain. He may have been born to an earlier wife, the conjectural Domitia Cn.f. (RE 90), daughter of Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (RE 20, cos. 122 BCE) and sister of Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (RE 21, cos. 96 BCE), but her existence is far from certain. If she was the mother, then the imagines of the gentes Domitia and Servilia would have entered Catulus’ atrium. At the very least, through Catulus’ marriage to Servilia, the imagines of the gens Servilia entered Catulus’ atrium and, through his great-granddaughter Mummia Achaica, entered Galba’s atrium. On the imagines of the gens Servilia, cf. n. 121. Return to text

142 On Galba’s Republicanism: Wilkinson 2012, esp. 77-80. Return to text

143 On stemma: n. 13. I am indebted to C. Brian Rose for this suggestion. Return to text

144 Cf. [P]aulla Cornelia Cn(aei) f(ilia) Hispalli [uxor] (CIL VI.1294) and ns. 11, 31. Return to text

145 Commentary: RE Vitorius 2; White 1973, 280; Coleman 1988, 152. Return to text

146 Stat. Silv. 4.4.73; Dio 60.20.4. See: White 1973, 280; Coleman 1988, 151-152; Frere & Fulford 2001, 47. The domi triumphi in Stat. Silv. 4.4.73 suggests that in Marcellus’ atrium there may have been either a triumphal titulus of Caius (or Cnaeus) Hosidius Geta or an imago picta of him with his ornamenta triumphalia. Such triumphal themes on imagines pictae are evinced by: Laus Pisonis 8-9; Iuv. 8.3. See: Coleman 1988, 151-152; Flower 1996, 212. Cf. Corbier 2007. Return to text

147 Cf. similar themes: Stat. Theb. 1.392, 2.215-222. Return to text

148 Commentary: Flower 1996, 40-41. Return to text

149 Commentary: Flower 1996, 40-41. Return to text

150 On these laws: n. 36. Return to text


Electronic reference

Lewis Webb, « Gendering the Roman imago », Eugesta [Online], 7 | 2017, Online since 01 janvier 2017, connection on 13 juillet 2024. URL : http://www.peren-revues.fr/eugesta/550


Lewis Webb

University of Gothenburg