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Manufacturing Consent: the Imperial Ideology and Senatorial Representation in the Maxentian Period (306–312 CE) (2020-2021)


Publication: 10.58367/NECY.PM.H.2022.2
Field of study: History

The role of senatorial elites under the tetrarchic and Maxentian rule has received modest attention from historians. The exclusion from military service and government of provinces and the abandonment by emperors of the ideology of ‘republican monarchy’ destabilized the place of the senate in the structures of the empire. This article aims to investigate aristocratic involvement in the political change in Rome under Maxentius. It assesses the self-image of the senatorial aristocracy juxtaposed with that of the emperor in honorific inscriptions which reveal the shifting role of leading resident families of Rome in imperial power structures, challenged by the rapid advancement and consolidation of equestrian imperial elites. This article seeks to engage aristocratic self-representation together with the imperial one reinstated in the same historical context.

Keywords: late antiquity, tetrarchy, epigraphy, senate, aristocracy, government, statues, Maxentius, damnatio memoriae

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