The notion of aeternitas, designating perpetuity or eternity, first appears at Rome in Cicero's day, under the influence of philosophic speculation (notably that of Stoicism) on αἰών (eternity). From the beginning of the 1st cent. ce, aeternitas became an imperial virtue, advertising both the perpetual glory of the ruler and his power, parallel to the aeternitas populi Romani, and a promise of immortality. Assuming the iconography of the Aion of Alexandria, ‘Aeternitas Augusta’ or ‘Augusti’ appears on coins and, in 66, Aeternitas even received a sacrifice after the discovery of a plot against Nero. Aeternitas is usually depicted as a veiled woman holding sceptre, globe, and phoenix, or the sun and moon (referring to eternity). But Aeternitas can also be associated with male figures.
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St. E. Hijmans, in M. Zimmerman and R. Th. Van der Paardt (eds.), Metamorphic Reflections: Essays Presented to Ben Hijmans at his 75th Birthday (2004), 201–224.Find this resource: