Under Divine Auspices: Divine Ideology and the Visualisation of Imperial Power in the Severan Period

Under Divine Auspices: Divine Ideology and the Visualisation of Imperial Power in the Severan Period


By (author) Clare Rowan


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  • Format: Hardback | 317 pages
  • Dimensions: 176mm x 250mm x 24mm | 798g
  • Publication date: 25 February 2013
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 1107020123
  • ISBN 13: 9781107020122
  • Illustrations note: 98 b/w illus.
  • Sales rank: 1,092,824

Product description

This book explores how deities were used to communicate and negotiate imperial power under the Severan dynasty (AD 193-235). Septimius Severus connected his reign to the divine support of Liber Pater and Hercules, while Caracalla placed a particular emphasis on the gods Apollo, Aesculapius and Sarapis. Elagabalus' reign was characterised by the worship of the Emesene deity Elagabal, which resulted in a renewed emphasis on the cult of Jupiter under Severus Alexander. Numismatic evidence is reintegrated into the wider material culture of the Severan period in order to bring new insights into the use of the divine in this period, as well as the role played by the provinces in the formation and reception of this ideology. By taking a dynastic approach, this book demonstrates the dynamic nature of the imperial public image and the complex dialogue that existed between Rome and the wider Empire in this period.

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Author information

Clare Rowan completed her doctorate in ancient history at Macquarie University in 2009. She has been a Junior Fellow and Research Officer at the Australian Centre for Ancient Numismatic Studies and the Macquarie Gale Fellow at the British School at Rome, and is now employed on the project 'Coinage and the Dynamics of Power: the Western Mediterranean 500-100 BC' at the Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main.

Review quote

'Under Divine Auspices will prove valuable not only for those interested in Severan propaganda, but for students of Roman history in general.' Julie Langford, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. Contextualising a 'foreign' dynasty; 3. Septimius Severus, Liber Pater and Hercules; 4. Medical tourism and iconographic dialogues in the reign of Caracalla; 5. Elagabalus, Summus Sacerdos Elagabali; 6. Severus Alexander and the re-founding of Rome; Conclusion: divine ideology in the Severan dynasty; Appendix 1. Silver reverse types from Trajan to Severus Alexander; Appendix 2. Reverse silver dies of the 'stone on quadriga' type of Elagabalus; Appendix 3. List of hoards used.