Kelsey Shawn Madden
Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kelsey_Madden2
Vulnerable Victims of War: The Meaning and Significance of Barbarian Women and Children Represented in Roman Conquest Iconography from the 1st to the 4th centuries AD
From the early first century A.D., in the reign of Augustus, Roman military victories over barbarian peoples were celebrated visually in reliefs decorating monuments in public spaces. This form of imagery is well known on Roman state-sponsored triumphal arches and other structures in theforum in Rome and in the central places of towns throughout Roman Italy. Archaeological and art historical assessments of these images always have focused on the representation of male barbarians, often engaged in battle with Roman soldiers, however the reliefs on a wide range of monuments also depict defeated families -the fundamental unit of a society-, with special attention to women and children. This research project aims to record, contextualise, and assess the imagery of barbarian women and children in order to understand the meaning and purpose of portraying the most vulnerable victims of war. Whilst the presence of women and children has been noted in earlier studies on monuments in Rome, such as the Ara Pacis and the column of Trajan, there has been little attempt to locate or study such depictions elsewhere and in different contexts. As such, there is a serious gap in research pertaining to the Roman iconography of conquest.
My study will compile a comprehensive catalogue and analysis of the images of barbarian women and children as portrayed on large public imperial monuments, such as triumphal arches and columns, that were in highly visible locations in Rome, the capital of the empire, and that soon spread to other communities in Roman Italy to express imperial ideology. My research will also examine other less well-known monuments, such as breastplate reliefs on statues of emperors, marble sarcophagus reliefs, high-status cameos, silver table-wares, and coins, as these are images able to reach a wider audience in public and private contexts due to being on portable or moveable objects.