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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Cinematic portrayals of ancient women: Cleopatra VII, Livia Augusta, Servilia Caepionis and the three waves of feminism
by Schwab, Andrea, M.A., Florida Atlantic University, 2016, 115; 10583110
Abstract (Summary)

This project examines the modern perception of ancient women, specifically through the creative (and often anachronistic) lens of film. All three women examined, Cleopatra VII, Livia Augusta, and Servilia Caepionis, all exemplify the modern influence on interpreting historical sources, resulting in all three becoming agents of feminism in their own times. Each woman did not culminate the probable influence they had in Roman society, but they are instead reflective of the patriarchal paradigms understood by 20th and 21 st century audiences. The burgeoning feminist ideologies of the 20 th century would influence the depictions of each character in an anachronistic fashion, distorting the actual control such figures had in history. While Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra capitalized on youth and sexuality as tools of powers, Siân Phillips’ Livia emphasized age and experience to advance in patriarchal Rome. Servilia, however, was an older matron who had both the experience and the sexuality to control those around her. While each figure approached it in very distinct methods, their common goal of changing Roman politics was reflective of the continued (and relatively unchanged) perception of ancient Roman women: as intelligent, yet dangerous, figures that served to derail patriarchal Roman politics.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Butler, Jeffrey
School: Florida Atlantic University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: MAI 56/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: American history, Classical Studies, Womens studies, Film studies
Keywords: Ancient women, Cleopatra, History in film, Livia, Servilia, Women in film
Publication Number: 10583110
ISBN: 978-1-369-61348-3
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