Sarah Nash (University of Alberta), "Private Portraiture of Girls and Women as Artemis in the Roman Imperial Era"
During the Roman Imperial Period, young girls and married women alike were commemorated in the guise of Artemis, typically in a hunting role. The portraiture is most often attested on funerary monuments, such as freestanding statuary and altars, which were set up at Rome and its environs between the late 1st and early 3rd centuries CE. Women were afterward commemorated as non-mythological huntresses, closely modeled after Artemis, on Roman “Hunt Sarcophagi”. At the same time, depictions of Artemis were appearing on funerary monuments in the Province of Macedonia. The creation of such portraiture not only for girls, but also for women, seems surprising at first glance. As a huntress, Artemis cross-dresses and assumes traditionally masculine roles; she remains virginal and outside the household, completely opposed to marriage and childbearing. As such, I seek to assess how the hunting costume of Artemis conveyed positive messages about the female deceased, set within a broader analysis of shifting female virtue in this era. This examination is part of a larger study on cross-dressing in mythological portraiture.