Representation of Gender and Sexuality in Roman Art with particular reference to that of Roman Britain

  • Angela R. Morelli

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The subject matter for this research is the representation of femininities and masculinities in Roman art with particular reference to that of Roman Britain. The study focuses on the visual presentation of gender for specific deities, personifications and figural images in funerary art; this includes concepts of sexuality that in some cases become entwined with the study of gender. I have endeavoured to demonstrate how socially constructed values add to the understandings of gender and Roman art.

    The first chapter concentrates on Roman concepts relating to masculinities and femininities, detailing how these are portrayed in visual culture. This entails the identification of gender markers in various forms including clothing (for example the toga and stola), jewellery (such as the bulla) and distinct objects (for instance, military paraphernalia, weaving combs and spinning equipment).

    Following this broad introduction to gender in Roman art, the study then centres on specific deities, commencing with Venus and Mars, then Diana and Apollo, and Minerva and Hercules - each one has a particular gender ascription. I examine these in terms of visual representation and how their specific femininities and masculinities were presented.

    Personifications and figural funerary art, respectively, are the following and final chapters of the research. The former deals with the use of personifications in Roman art and the latter with patronage and presentation of figural tombstones and inscriptions. Both chapters observe these issues with preference towards the demonstration of gender allocation and any undertones implicated.
    Date of AwardJun 2005
    Original languageEnglish


    • Gender identity
    • Roman Art
    • Roman Britain
    • Sexuality
    • masculinities
    • femininities
    • visual culture
    • Roman deities
    • personifications in Roman Art

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