Popular perceptions of Roman emperors from Augustus to Theodosius

November 2015February 2016
Summer Research Scholarship

This project will examine how Roman emperors were perceived by the inhabitants of their empire, from soldiers, slaves and freedmen to senatorial aristocrats. It has two main aims: (i) to explain the different ways in which the emperors’ military, judicial, religious and moral authority was conceived, interpreted and transmitted in the Roman world; and (ii) to analyze the continuities and changes in these aspects between the first and fourth centuries A.D. The overall project is funded by an Australian Research Council DECRA grant for 2015-2017.


The Summer Research Scholar will design their own independent research project related to the theme of Dr. Davenport’s research on ‘Popular Perceptions of Roman Emperors’. The student will research and write a 5,000-word paper on their chosen topic.

Topics could include, but are not limited to, areas such as: the reception and ‘afterlife’ of a particular emperor, or an imperial dynasty; laughing at emperors; imperial names and nicknames; the role of gossip and rumour in shaping the perception of Roman emperors; the subversion of imperial ideology in the Roman world; the reception of imperial rule in provincial coins, inscriptions, and documents; emperors in the Greek world; the perception of Roman emperors in Christian writings. Candidates should indicate particular topics they are interested in pursuing in their application.


Knowledge of Roman imperial history. At least one year of Latin or Ancient Greek.


Project members