Domitian's Warhorse: Expropriating Equestrian Imagery in Flavian Rome Open Access

Houseman, Cody (2017)

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A now lost colossal bronze equestrian statue representing the emperor Domitian (r. 81-96 CE) once dominated the Forum Romanum in Rome but now survives only through Silvae 1.1, an ekphrastic Latin poem by the poet Statius. Descriptions of the statue in the poem are at first unclear about how the honorific statue related to other prominent equestrian imagery around the Forum. When considered alongside the multiple numismatic equestrian representations of Domitian that survive, the text of the poem points to a more extensive use of equestrian imagery throughout the Flavian period (69-96 CE) than has previously been recognized. This paper first presents a typology for Domitian's numismatic equestrian representations and then considers how these representations relate to earlier equestrian imagery, Flavian propaganda, Domitian's statue as described by Statius, and the equestrian social class that the emperor increasingly courted during his principate. This paper aims to contribute a better understanding of: how Domitian's equestrian statues relate with his numismatic images; with which ancient audiences these images resonate meaning; and what messages these representations of Domitian may have signaled.

Table of Contents

Introduction, 1

Domitian's Numismatic Equestrian Representations and their Antecedents, 5

Contextualizing Flavian Numismatic Equestrian Representations with Sculpture, 15

Contextualizing Flavian Numismatic Representations with Other Equestrian Forms, 28

Statius on Equestrian Images, 33

Conclusions, 40

Appendix I, 41

Works Cited, 46

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