1st Edition

Power Couples in Antiquity Transversal Perspectives

Edited By Anne Bielman Sánchez Copyright 2019
    226 Pages
    by Routledge

    226 Pages
    by Routledge

    Everyone can name a couple made up of famous, rich, or powerful partners, who cultivate a joint media image which is stronger than either of their individual identities. Since the 1980s they have been known as "power couples". Yet while the term is recent, the concept is not. More than 2,000 years ago, Greeks and Romans became aware of the media potential of couples and used it as an instrument to reinforce political power. Notable examples are Philip II of Macedonia and Olympias, Cleopatra and Mark Antony, or the Emperor Augustus and his wife Livia.

    Power Couples in Antiquity brings together the reflections of ten specialists on Greek and Roman power couples from the fourth century BCE to the first century CE. It is focused on the birth and the development of the "ruling couple" in the Hellenistic Greek kingdoms and in Rome between the end of the Republic and the beginning of the Empire. By taking some emblematic cases, this book analyses the redistribution of public and private roles within these couples, examines the sentimental bonds or the relations of domination established between partners, explores how these relationships played out in private, and highlights the many common points between ancient and contemporary power couples. This book offers a fascinating insight into power dynamics in the ancient world, exploring not only the subtleties within these often complex relationships, but also their relationships with their subjects through the cultivation and manipulation of their joint public image.

    List of figures

    List of contributors

    Introduction. Anne Bielman Sánchez. Power Couples: from Antiquity to the Contemporary World.

    Chapter 1. Elizabeth Carney. An Exceptional Argead Couple: Philip II and Olympias.

    Chapter 2. Marie Widmer. Looking for the Seleucid Couple.

    Chapter 3. Monica D’Agostini. A Change of Husband: Cleopatra Thea, Stability and Dynamism of Hellenistic Royal Couples (150-129 BC).

    Chapter 4. Anne Bielman Sánchez and Virginie Joliton. Marital Crises or Institutional Crises? Two Ptolemaic Couples under the Spotlight.

    Chapter 5. Marie-Claire Ferriès. The Magistrate and the Queen: Antony and Cleopatra.

    Chapter 6. Ann-Cathrin Harders. Mark Antony and the Women at his Side.

    Chapter 7. Francesca Cenerini. An Exceptional and Eternal Couple: Augustus and Livia.

    Chapter 8. Judith P. Hallett. A Love Poet’s Script for an Augustan Power Couple: Propertius 4.11.

    Chapter 9. Thomas Späth. Claudius and His Wives: The Normality of the Exceptional?

    Chapter 10. Anne Bielman Sánchez. Power Couples in Antiquity: An Initial Survey.



    Anne Bielman Sánchez has been Professor of Ancient History at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, since 2005. Her research focuses on social problematics, especially on female public activities in the Greek Hellenistic world and in the Republican Roman world: queens, priestesses, female magistrates, and benefactors. Works include Inventer le pouvoir féminin: Cléopâtre I et Cléopâtre II, reines d’Egypte au IIe s. av. J.-C. (2015, co-authored with Giuseppina Lenzo) and Femmes influentes dans le monde hellénistique et à Rome (2016, co-edited with Isabelle Cogitore and Anne Kolb). From 2016 to 2019, she is leading a project funded by the Swiss National Fund for Scientific Research (FNS) that explores the phenomena of "couples" in Greco-Roman antiquity.

    "Overall, each chapter makes interesting contributions to the rich literature resource of academic research within its particular field. The book itself is well produced, with a beautiful typeface and superb detail in the images of the coins, which makes it easy to identify the features discussed in the text." - Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    "...by identifying a complex set of variables to help us think about the self-presentation and actions of power couples in antiquity, Bielman Sánchez has created something helpful for the study of gender and social history both in antiquity and beyond."-  Daniel Harris-McCoy, University of Hawaiʻi