Human beings have always been keenly aware of our physical appearance. When we get ready in the morning we see ourselves in the mirror. In modern times with digital media, we see ourselves in other angles then we normally did, including “selfies”. In Ancient Roman times, many influential Romans would create either a bust or statue of themselves. When comissioning a bust, many of the sculptures would actually look quite different than their subjects.
Archealogists have pieced together various pieces of information, including images on coins which may have been minted when the ruler was alive. Just as a photographer’s role is to capture a person’s best angles, a sculptor’s best interests were to make his subject look as attractive as possible. In many ways, these sculptors performed “plastic surgery” on their subjects as men and women’s physiques were often enhanced and faces were made to look more ideal than accurate.
Image for an influential Roman was important. Romans needed to portray handsomeness and authoriativeness and physical flaws may have made viewers of the sculptor to have less admiration of these rulers.
While many centuries have passed and technology has evolved, one consistent aspect about ourselves is that our physical appearance was important to us then as it is now.