Discussions of the reuse of Roman honorific statues have primarily focused on examples of so-called damnatio memoriae, where the image of a condemned emperor or elite is reworked into that of someone else. Sometimes the act of censure is easily recognizable and publicly exhibited. In the imperial cult temple at Misenum, for instance, the full and youthful face of a bronze equestrian statue of the emperor Domitian was cut away and replaced with the pinched and aging face of his successor, Nerva. But in other cases, labeling the statue as an example of so-called damnatio memoriae obscures the possible motivations behind its reuse.
In this lecture, Brenda Longfellow considers the afterlives of honorific portrait statues in Pompeii, detailing how individuals and groups in the city interacted with re-cut and re-purposed statues of publicly honored benefactors. It addresses the effects of obviously modified statues in public spaces, where they were seen by people who may have recognized the original honorand within the transformed statue.