Macquarie University
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Capite coperto/aperto in context: selected depictions of female head covering on statuary and in relief sculptures in the Large and Small Herculaneum woman types from the Roman world between the 1st century B.C.E. and 4th century C.E.

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posted on 2022-03-29, 03:13 authored by Elizabeth Smith
In this thesis I examine head coverings among selected sculptural representations of women in the Large and Small Herculaneum types as they appear in portrait statues, reliefs and sarcophagi from the Roman world in the period between the 1st century B.C.E. and the early 4th century C.E. Where enough contextual information survives, I explore the possible reasons why the female figure depicted has a head covering or not. I focus primarily on depictions of married women, representations of mother-figures and portraits of women depicted alongside statuesque iconography on sepulchral monuments and in civic commemorations. My study enriches our knowledge of women from the Roman world, highlighting the different forms of their representation within sculptural monuments, as well as the nuanced and multivalent reasons for portraying women with and without head coverings within visual commemorations.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter One. Scholarly considerations of head-covering practices and depictions of head-covering garments, and literature on the Large and Small Herculaneum Woman statue types -- Chapter Two. Research methods and corpus overview -- Chapter Three. Marriage and the ideal matrona : interpreting marital status from the presence or absence of a head covering -- Chapter Four. The significance of head coverings in some depictions of mother-figures among family groups -- Chapter Five. Attitudes to idealised representations : the presence and absence of head coverings within statuesque depictions of women in the Large and Small Herculaneum types -- Conclusions -- Bibliography.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 255-291

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Ancient History

Department, Centre or School

Department of Ancient History

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Lea Beness

Additional Supervisor 1

Maryam Khalid

Additional Supervisor 2

Peter Keegan


Copyright Elizabeth Smith 2019. Copyright disclaimer:






1 online resource (291 pages) illustrations (some colour)

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