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Mapping the representation of roman imperial power in times of crisis

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Chapter Summary

How did the representation of Roman imperial power develop during the troublesome years 193-284 A.D.? Was it a random process by means of ad hoc decisions from the different emperors and influential people around them? Or can we distinguish patterns in the ways in which third century emperors were represented and/or presented themselves to their subjects? This chapter addresses the questions indirectly. It describes the methodology that underlies an analysis of the representation of imperial power in the period preceding the third century crisis and in the period of actual crisis. It discusses the term 'power', 'representation' and all concepts linked to these issues. The chapter deals with the media used for representation. Finally, it presents a case study: in which way does a medium employed for representation, in this case imperial coinage, provide an insight into the development of the representation of power in the third century A.D.?

Keywords: actual crisis; Roman imperial power; third century crisis



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