Kate Schulein, a double major in classics and history, presented Livia: Portraits of an Ideal Roman Matron in order to explain how these statues of Livia displayed the traditional form of an ideal Roman female. She began the research for this project in a Classics course from 2009. Kate uses several different statues to demonstrate the ideal Roman matron. She explained that the Roman civilization was plagued by many wars in 1st century BC and so the Roman Emperor Augustus decided that people needed to emulate a specific way of living in order to recreate their society. He chose the image of his wife, Livia, as a model of this ideal. Augustus installed laws that created rewards and punishments for those who did or did not become the “ideal Romans”.
The three pieces of art that Kate mostly focused on were the Ara Pacis – South Frieze, the portrait statue of Livia near the Porta Primus, and the statue of Livia, wife of Augustus. She chose them based on history, availability, and by how much they were still intact. She analyzed the clothing including the “stola” (the dress traditionally worn by married women), the velum (a woman’s veil), and the palla. When looking at busts, she observed the hair styles (faiyum, salus, diva augusta, etc) strong nose, petite mouth, and small but sturdy chin, all aspects that are apparently indicative of a respectable female woman in Rome, namely Livia.
In conclusion, Kate found that “Augustus utilized busts and statues of his wife, Livia Drusilla, to represent the moral codes Roman women were to adhere to in order to strengthen the empire”. She thoroughly researched her subject and demonstrated it in a way that would have caused anyone even remotely interested in Classics to listen with a single-minded intensity.