chapter  1
11 Pages

Imperial Portraits

As early as the third millennium BC, Egypt and the cities on the Persian Gulf had developed effective methods of portrait sculpture. Much later on, during the last centuries BC, a number of different phenomena in the Greco-Roman world contributed to the revival and further evolution of this art. The Greeks of the epochs of Alexander III the Great (d. 323 BC) and his successors, the Hellenistic monarchs, had a liking for human documents of a biographical or autobiographical character. This tendency was stimulated by a fashion for philosophical reflection and self-analysis, as well as by the enhancement of heroworship, and the growing interest in personalities which such trends encouraged.