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Decoration and Display in Rome's Imperial ThermaeMessages of Power and their Popular Reception at the Baths of Caracalla$
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Maryl B. Gensheimer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190614782

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190614782.001.0001

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(p.242) Conclusions
Decoration and Display in Rome's Imperial Thermae

Maryl B. Gensheimer

Oxford University Press

The concluding chapter summarizes the book’s key findings, reiterating anew the scholarly framework with which one can interpret the motivations underlying Caracalla’s endowment of such colossally expensive infrastructure and the ways in which his benefaction impacted both Roman daily life and the popular perception of the emperor. The conclusion reviews how and why one can explain Caracalla’s magnificent bath complex—a benefaction freely given to the Roman populace—in terms of normalized imperial spending on buildings and infrastructure and in the context of dynastic competition for legitimacy. Simultaneously, the conclusion elucidates the ways in which the Baths’ impressive decoration provides insights into the lived experience of just such grandiose public spaces.

Keywords:   baths, Caracalla, patronage, power, propaganda, intention, reception

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