Portraits of Livia : imaging the imperial woman in Augustan Rome


Portraits of Livia : imaging the imperial woman in Augustan Rome

Elizabeth Bartman

Cambridge University Press, 1999

  • : hb

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Bibliography: p. 225-229

Includes indexes



Driven by the novelty of her role as empress, Livia Drusilla, wife of Augustus, invented a visual language of female rank and status that was to have a profound impact on Roman art. The portrait solutions that she devised cleverly promoted the cultural programs of Augustus and his successors, Tiberius and Claudius, as well as her role in the imperial line of succession. In this study, Elizabeth Bartman sets Livia's imagery within its socio-political context while also analyzing the role played by gender in its formulation. Richly illustrated and including descriptive catalogue entries of more than 110 surviving portraits, as well as the epigraphic testimony for scores of images now lost, this study presents unparalleled documentation of Livia's image during more than sixty years of her public life in Rome.


  • Part I. Patterns of Representation: 1. Identifying Livia
  • 2. Modes of portrait production and reception
  • 3. Facial signals/body language
  • Part II. The Politics of the Portraits: 4. Livia and Octavian
  • 5. Livia and Augustus
  • 6. Livia and Tiberius
  • 7. The posthumous Livia.

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