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Literature and Politics: Construction and Dissemination of the Portrayal of Public Figures in Ancient World

(2014 - 2015)

REFERENCE: FCT 2417 and CAPES 10396/13-0

The portrait is one of the forms of political intervention in Greek-Roman antiquity, taking into account that, through the elements of realism, distortion or idealization, it reflects an ethical-ideological position which is at the basis of the western world’s civic conscience, transported to the New World in modern age. The literary forms of these portraits remain in the current biographies (authorized or not) of politicians and other public figures, representing a way of civic intervention, often controversial and manipulative.

Modern biographies, therefore, continue following the topics and schemes established since antiquity in biographical, historiographic, epigraphic, rhetorical, philosophical, and poetic texts, among others. Both in antiquity and modernity, literary portraits circulate alongside other images.

In the case of ancient societies, the images circulating in coins, statues, paintings, reliefs, mosaics, busts and so many others could be both in line and in confrontation with literary images. Therefore, the study of the construction of the old portrait helps us to perceive the Foundation of certain political invectives or encomiastic narratives consolidated in the Portuguese-Brazilian cultural memory, as well as the conflicts and variants that happen over time.

In our case, they are constructions that span the centuries based on dynamics which allow us to better understand both ancient societies and the contemporary universe.