Portraits of the Vestal Virgins, Priestesses of Ancient Rome

University of Michigan Press, 20 août 2015 - 291 pages
For more than eleven hundred years, the Vestal Virgins dedicated their lives to the goddess Vesta, protector of the Roman state. Though supervised by a male priest, the Pontifex Maximus, they had privileges beyond those of most women; like Roman men, they dispensed favors and influence on behalf of their clients and relatives. In 1883, Rodolfo Lanciani, Director of Antiquities for Rome, discovered the first Vestal statues. The recovery of the Vestals’ house, and the objects contained therein, was an exciting moment in Roman archaeology. Newspapers were filled with details about the huge numbers of sculptures, inscriptions, jewelry, coins, and terracotta figures.
Molly M. Lindner examines the sculptural presentation of the Vestal Virgins and investigates what images of long-dead women tell us about their lives. She addresses why these portraits were created, and why they only began to appear in the late first or second century CE—much later than portraits of other Roman priestesses and nonimperial women. Lindner sheds light on the distinctions between a Vestal portrait and portraits of other priestesses, and considers why Vestal portraits do not copy each other’s headdresses and hairstyles. In addition to the extensive illustrations that complement the text, a catalog of all known Vestal portraits displays historical clues embedded in the hairstyles and facial features of the Vestals and other women of their day. In Portraits of the Vestal Virgins, Priestesses of Ancient Rome, Lindner has given a voice to the long-silent women of these extraordinary marble portraits.

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Table des matières

Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Cult and College
Chapter 3 Architecture of the Atrium Vestae
Chapter 4 Display in the Atrium Vestae
Chapter 5 Iconography of Vesta and Numa
Chapter 6 Iconography of a Vestal Virgin
Chapter 7 Catalog of Sixteen Vestal Portraits
Chapter 8 Infula and Turban
Chapter 10 Honorific Statues of Roman Priestesses
Chapter 11 Incense Burning in Roman Sacrifices and Art
Chapter 12 Vestals Burning Incense
Chapter 13 Private Women Burning Incense
Chapter 14 Conclusion

Chapter 9 Exemplars of Sanctitas

Expressions et termes fréquents

À propos de l'auteur (2015)

Molly M. Lindner is Associate Professor (retired) in the Department of Art at Kent State University. She has published on portraits of women in antiquity and on the pedagogy of art history.

Informations bibliographiques