In the Roman world, public artworks were commissioned by politically motivated individuals to reach the Roman populace. Sophisticated “messages” could be conveyed in these artworks through the choice of subject matter, motifs, and artistic style. References to historical figures or mythology might offer legitimization to an individual’s political ambitions; allegorical references might appeal to morals and ethics; symbols might reference important accomplishments or draw parallels from earlier history. Investigating such political “messaging” thus offers a means to study both the objectives and motivations of important political figures in Roman history, as well as the values and customs of contemporary Romans. Your Task You are a member of a select group of political advisors assisting a very important Roman politician, and you have been tasked with developing pieces of political “messaging” to promote the politician to the Roman public. Using the autobiographical text as inspiration, develop a program of public arts and building. With your other group members, explain the advice that you give to the politician. What “message” will advertise his important accomplishments and attributes to the Roman people? Why will that appeal to the Roman people? Develop a proposal for a public art and building program. Your political plan should be based on what you know about the political environment of the time, as well as the individual and his political ambitions. Then, you will attempt to explain that “message” by referencing real pieces of ancient art or a real ancient building associated with that politician. Your public art and building program will appear in three different media: portrait sculpture, a coin series, and a public building.
Each group member will take on the responsibility of one of the media (i.e., one will discuss a real sculpture; one will discuss a real coin series; and one will discuss a real building). Using your real archaeological example (from those provided in the accompanying packet), you will explain how the detailing, iconography, form, and function will convey a particular political “message” to the Roman public. In your discussion, keep in mind the very different audiences that your media will reach. Content Assessment Your essay should be comprised of two parts. (1) The first part of the essay should introduce the politician and the political environment in which he lives. It should also explain the general plan in promoting your political “message” and what that political message might mean and why it might appeal to the Roman people in that context. (2) The second part of the essay should address your specific coin, sculpture, or building to explain how the presentation of that artwork contributes to the overall propaganda program and helps the politician to achieve his political ambitions. What features of his autobiography are you referencing? It should present thoughtful observations about your coin, sculpture, or building. This discussion should be detailed, and the essay should demonstrate a deep engagement with the complexities of the topic and a nuanced view on the way that decorative motifs, iconography, portrait attributes, building plans present cultural references for a public audience and are therefore effective means of conveying political objectives and messages by public figures. Numerous specific examples of how political objectives might be conveyed through public art and building programs have been discussed in lectures, in assigned homework readings, and during the in-class activity. While the discussion of your statue, coin series, or building will be unique and original, the essay should nonetheless draw on the art history perspectives and approaches used to discuss examples presented in class. Writing and Grammar Assessment While this is not a formal research paper, this essay nonetheless should be well-written, and there should not be grammar or spelling errors. Before submission, be sure to closely proof-read your essay and run it through a spell and grammar check. In addition to addressing the required discussions (outlined above), the structure of the essay must be clear and well-organized, and should include a clear intro, body, and conclusion. Submission Procedures A printed paper copy of your paper is due in class on the assigned due-date. In addition, I ask that you also upload an electronic copy via Canvas on by the end of that same day (by 11:59pm) in order that it can be processed through the program TurnItIn. Paper Length and Formatting This paper must be at minimum 750 words in length, excluding any bibliography or quotations. Format the text and page accordingly: Times New Roman 12pt font, double-spaced, with 1” margins. Please remember to include a header with your name, the class, and date. Plagiarism and References This is intended to be a take-home essay of original writing. While during class your group may exchange ideas, and you will discuss your collective political advice to the politician, each paper MUST be written individually. The essay is designed to be completed using class materials. That being said, you may feel the need to do additional research. If you do consult other sources, be careful not to plagiarize. If you copy and paste text, you MUST use quotations and reference the source; otherwise, it is an act of plagiarism, which is a violation of FSU’s Academic Code of Conduct, see syllabus for plagiarism policy. If you are closely paraphrasing the ideas of another author, you must reference that author. All intra-textual references should include: (Author Year-of-Publication, Page #). A works cited list should also be included at the end of your paper. Examples of common bibliographic formats are provided in the resources page of the Canvas site.