Friday, 17 May 2019
Mar Marcos: Imperial Propaganda within the Theodosian Court: Literary and Visual Representations of Flaccilla Augusta
Theodosius I accessed to the imperial throne in 379 in unexpected circumstances, after the disastrous Roman defeat at Adrianople. Bearing in mind his retirement to the family estates in Hispania, some modern scholars have pointed out Theodosius might have been a usurper as he lacked of connections with the ruling power and the imperial family. But as soon as he settled in Constantinople, the sovereign revealed his dynastic ambitions building up the portrait of an imperial family where the image of the empress Flaccilla played a central role. This paper aims to analyse the strategies of propaganda developed at the court of Constantinople during the early years of Theodosius' reign, through a combination of literary and visual representations which served as a pattern over successive depictions of imperial families in Byzantium. The dynastic edifice became of a such stability that upon Theodosius' death, in 395, none of his sons, Arcadius and Honorius, had hesitated in succeeding him to the throne, establishing one of the longest-lived dynasties within the Roman empire.