Introducing the Project


Nero and Agrippina, from the Sebasteion at Aphrodisias (Photo by C. Davenport)

Salvete omnes! Welcome to this new blog, where we will be discussing Roman emperors and examining how their personalities, policies and power were conceived, interpreted and transmitted throughout the Roman world, from Augustus through to Late Antiquity. The aim of the web site is to provide the general public with some insights into on-going research for the project Popular Perceptions of Roman Emperors. The project is based at the University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia), and generously funded by the Australian Research Council from 2015-2017 through a Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA). The project will examine perceptions of Roman emperors in antiquity across four thematic areas: (1) War; (2) Justice; (3) Religion; (4) Morality and Private Life. It will also assess the various continuities and changes in these ideas and their popular reception during the first four centuries A.D. (ending with the reign of Theodosius I).

We’ll be sharing our thoughts on a wide range of evidence from the ancient world, some of which will probably be familiar to the general public, such as Suetonius’ Lives of the Caesars, and other sources which may be less so, like martyr acts, provincial coinage, or dedicatory inscriptions. The project will examine the positive reception of imperial images and ideology, as well as the negative portrayals of emperors as delirious, depraved, deranged, or devious, in order to determine their wider significance. The blog posts will be written by the project’s Chief Investigator, Dr. Caillan Davenport, as well as the research assistants Ms. Nicola Linton and Ms. Charlotte Mann, who are investigating the papyrological and numismatic evidence, respectively. We hope you enjoy reading and sharing the journey with us!

Caillan Davenport

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