Metaphors, monuments and texts: The life course in Roman culture

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The life course in ancient Rome is investigated in this paper to highlight how individual action was explained in relationship to the expectations of a person's age in relationship to their gender. A reconstruction of the life history for both females and males is attempted. Human growth is considered to show that rates may have been slower in antiquity than today. Following the analysis of the life course in texts, the representation of age and the life course is discussed in relation to the Ara Pacis. It is concluded that the mode of representation in both texts and this monument are in the same manner. Finally, the use of the life course of an individual emperor as a metaphor for the interpretation of Rome and its history is highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-455
Number of pages14
JournalWorld Archaeology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Ara Pacis
  • Historiography
  • Life course
  • Rome


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