Mary Beard joins Andrew Wallace-Hadrill to explore how Nero has been imagined and reimagined by artists through time. For more than two millennia, portraits of the rich, powerful and famous in the western world have been shaped by the image of Roman emperors. The image of Nero, among others, has persisted in painting and sculpture, from antiquity to the Renaissance to today, to symbolise a ruthless tyrant or hapless ruler.
But what makes the image of Nero so powerful that it has continued to be relevant and recognisable in political contexts up to the present day? And why have certain individuals sought to align themselves with Nero despite his murderous and megalomaniac reputation? Join Beard and Wallace-Hadrill for a discussion exploring these questions and themes from Beard’s latest book, Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient world to the Modern.
Against a background of today's 'sculpture wars' they also look back to the ways the Romans reacted to statues of leaders who had fallen from favour, and the problem of heroizing those in power. This debate will prompt us to ask: in the 21st century, what is public statuary really for? And how will today's heroes be judged by future generations?
This event is presented in collaboration with the British School at Rome.
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