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Constructing Memory in Augustan Italy

Eric Orlin (Univ. of Puget Sound)
Photo of Eric Orlin
Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 7:30pm
Communications (CMU) 120
4109 Stevens Way NE, Seattle, WA 98195 - Google Map

This paper grows out of a project on the relationship between Rome and the rest of Italy in the early Principate, especially the nearly fifty years of Augustus’ rule.  Often attention has focused on the city of Rome itself, largely because of the richness of the evidence, both literary, epigraphic, and archaeological. But this is only one part of the story, and given that the population of Italy was many times greater than that of Rome itself, we miss an important aspect of the Augustan transformation of the Roman state if we focus exclusively on the city of Rome. The building projects that took place all over Italy during the early years of the Principate give us a window into questions about whether references to tota Italia held any real meaning, whether proximity to Rome or the service in the Roman Senate of Italian elites mattered. Viewing the these building projects through the lens of memory provides new insights on the development of identity in the Italian peninsula.

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