Title: Iconic presences : late Roman consuls as imperial images
Ikonické přítomnosti : konzulové pozdně římského období jako obraz císaře
Source document: Convivium. 2019, vol. 6, iss. 1, pp. -147
ISSN2336-3452 (print)2336-808X (online)
License: Not specified license
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As Late Roman society reorganized itself around the person of the ruler, the consulate gained a special importance in the new social order. From the fourth century to the sixth, the consulate was held by emperors, high-ranking members of the imperial family, caesars, as well as a number of high-ranking officials who had either distinguished themselves in the service of emperors or who came from prominent aristocratic families. These individuals' consular responsibilities were limited mostly to the presentation of games and distribution of largesse. At the same time, this article argues, a further important aspect of the office for non-imperial consuls was to reproduce, or evoke, the physical presence of the ruling emperor, particularly his theophanic dimension. The text explores the strategy used to promote the living consul as iconic, in the sense of reproducing the imperial presence qua image of the divine.