Ancient Portraiture and Biography (Also Classics 130)
Important individuals in Greek and Roman society were commemorated both in honorific portraits—bronze and marble statues set up in public places—and in biographies written to record for posterity their lives and achievements. In this class we will be reading a selection of Greek and Latin biographical texts (in translation) and comparing them with statuary monuments that represent the same individuals. We will be seeking to elicit the points of contact between the two commemorative traditions, visual and literary, and to understand the sometimes-similar functions they serve. But we will also be attempting to bring out the differences in the way that biographical texts and portrait images operate, and the consequences that this has for the way we, as historians, must approach them. Ancient authors to be sampled in this course: Plutarch, Xenophon, Plato, Diogenes Laertius, Augustus, Suetonius, the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, and the Panegyrici Latini.