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The ‘doctrine of capacities’, the ‘political’ body and Julio-Claudian iconography

Pucknell, Danny 2022. The ‘doctrine of capacities’, the ‘political’ body and Julio-Claudian iconography. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The purpose of this thesis is to propose that there is a new way in which the iconography of the Julio-Claudian dynasty can be read by historians. I propose that the mechanism which can be applied to the iconography of the Julio-Claudians is that of the ‘doctrine of capacities’. The ‘doctrine of capacities’ suggests that a ruler has ‘two bodies’, that of their physical, natural body and their ‘political’ body, or the image which represents the political position they held. Reading the iconography of the Julio-Claudians using this prism suggests that they were adept at using their public image to display a ‘political’ body. That is, a public image which reflected the manner in which they wished to be portray themselves to those they ruled. Through careful examination of the literary and material evidence available, it is clear that not all of the members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty possessed ‘political’ bodies, and of those who did, it is clear that each member of the dynasty amended or adapted the ‘political’ body for their own benefit and to meet their own political needs. This thesis also suggests that the ‘doctrine of capacities’ is both flexible and adaptable when the images of the Julio-Claudians are examined, not only does the concept allow rulers to deal with a range of issues. Those assessed in this thesis are age, disability, gender and political inexperience. In order to bring this fully to the fore, I have made comparisons to more modern political leaders and, in this way, hope to show the effectiveness to the ‘political’ body which the Julio-Claudians were able to fashion.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CJ Numismatics
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
J Political Science > JC Political theory
N Fine Arts > NB Sculpture
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 March 2023
Date of Acceptance: 13 March 2023
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2024 02:30

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