Anna Anguissola

Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa
Masterpieces to remember: imitation and the strategies of memory in Roman art

Within Roman visual culture, the memory of Greek sculptural styles provided a useful tool for expressing a nuanced variety of concepts, tightly organized in a semantic code of 'new' values and qualities. Displaying the copy of an ancient masterpiece implied several stages of recollection, each of which could apply to different viewers, providing them with a comparable variety of ideas. When it comes to the reuse of figural traditions, not only are we asked to distinguish between intention and cliché, but we should also take into consideration the multitude of layers through which memory constructed meanings (linking places, persons and contexts from different times and geographical areas). References to 'ancient' Greek masterpieces (chronologically distant) were layered over hints to Roman 'modern' artefacts or places (far closer to the ultimate recipient) that had already exploited that tradition and had then turned themselves into prototypes to be retained and imitated. These are issues and questions that I wish to address through a set of extremely popular case-studies (the Diskobolos, the Doryphoros and the Diadoumenos, the Tyrant-Slayers, the Hercules Farnese, the group of Hermaphroditos Struggling with a Satyr), each addressing a particular 'replica series' and its contexts. Memory, here, provides a highly flexible key for understanding some of the dynamics that lie at the core of the interest towards artefacts of the past and their appropriation through copying.

Publications & conference papers 2012
Publications & conference papers (update), 2011
Publications & conference papers, 2010-2011

Alessandro Barchiesi

University of Siena at Arezzo / Stanford University
The War for Italia: Conflict and Collective Memory in Vergil's Aeneid

I am grateful to the Memoria Romana project for supporting the publication of my book, which is the result of the 2011 Sather Lectures at the University of California, Berkeley. The projected volume discusses the conflict between Italy and Rome as seen in Virgil's Aeneid, and focuses on two memory-related areas: first, the reconstruction and re-evaluation in ancient collective memory of the traumatic events of 91-89 BCE - the so-called Bellum Sociale between Italici and Romani - and second, the reception of Virgil's Aeneid in the context of modern Italian identity-building.

Publications & conference papers, 2011

Sinclair Bell

Northern Illinois University
The Art of the Race: Circus Spectacles and Memory in Roman Culture

As arguably the oldest and most prominent of Rome's Erinnerungsorte, the Circus Maximus (and the Vallis Murcia that girdled it) served as a stage not only for the display of races but also ( through the performance of certain festivals) for the reenactment of the city's deep past. While the site's formative role and continued centrality to Rome's institutional memory has been well-documented, especially through study of the literary sources, its importance to individual Romans has gone largely overlooked. By contrast, the evidence of material culture can offer us individual, often poignant, testimonies to how spectacles reached beyond the confines of the arenas themselves and penetrated deep into the consciousness of everyday Romans. In mapping the circus's display and re-display in Roman visual and material culture, this project will demonstrate how the venue and its games were constantly reactivated with new meanings and memory for a contemporary audience.

Publications & conference papers 2012
Publications & conference papers (update), 2011
Publications & conference papers, 2010-2011

Nicola Denzey Lewis

Brown University
Cultural memory in non-Christian funerary art in late antiquity

Constantine's accession to the imperial seat and his subsequent "conversion" - whether authentic or self-serving - initiated a range of social responses from Roman elite, one measurable in a series of public documents and monuments. My own work investigates the impact of Christianization, particularly as it instigates a set of responses from recalcitrant pagans. My working premise is that a palpable link exists between the political and cultural reality that was the end of Empire and the choice of subjects in privately commissioned non-Christian funerary art. The art of Rome's last pagans, I argue, reflects both a nostalgia for things changing and lost and a new responsibility to preserve a collective cultural memory of their Greek and Roman past. The construction and role of collective memory, in fact - its evocation, manipulation, power to preserve and persuade - can and should be a key "frame" for reading late funerary Roman monuments. I am particularly interested in the interplay between image, narrative, and created space and the manner in which wealthy patrons commissioned physical space that explored and exploited Greek myth. What does myth evoke, or was it meant to evoke, in the late Roman context?

Publications & conference papers, 2011

Virginia Fabrizi

University of Udine
Construction and interpretation of historical memory in Ennius' Annals

My research analyzes the construction of a historical, political and literary memory of Rome in Ennius' Annals. I'm considering the poem as an attempt at proposing new ways of interpreting the Roman past and present, and above all of perceiving Roman identity, in a time, such as the period of Rome's great Mediterranean expansion, in which the Romans' self-consciousness underwent radical changes. The assessment of the ways in which the poet dealt with the historical events he narrated, re-elaborating or, sometimes, rewriting them, constitutes an important part of my research. I aim at showing how the poet's relationship with his historical material was deeply connected to the need to adapt the memory of the city to her new reality of leading Mediterranean power, in order to make it the basis of a new Roman identity. Under this respect I'd like to show, on one side, how the imperial destiny of Rome was projected backwards onto the remote past, which thus acquired the faculty of influencing and explaining the present, acting as its mirror and model; on the other side, how the recent past and the present were deeply transformed, too, by being turned into the subject matter of Homeric-styled epic, and how the conventions of epic themselves became a founding element of a new memory, that was at the same time historical and poetic. The consciousness of the new identity of the city thus passed through the perception not only of her centrality in the Mediterranean world, but also of her status as privileged subject of epic song. But how could the new memory proposed in the Annals affect the way the Romans perceived their own memory and identity? In order to answer this crucial question, I find it also necessary to devote considerable attention to the processes of transmission and reception of Ennius' work. In particular, I'm going to focus on the dynamics of poetic memory characterizing the relationships between the Annals and later Latin literary tradition. I argue, among other things, that such mechanisms of intertextuality (in which an important role is played by elements linked to the vocabulary and imagery of memory) are not simply aspects of literary practice, but sometimes imply attempts at rewriting Roman historical, cultural and political memory and can be read as paralleling the shifts in the perception of Roman identity through the different historical and political contexts.

Publications & conference papers, 2010-2011
Publications & conference papers (update), 2011

Jessica Hughes

The Open University
Spolia as Mnemotechnology in Late Antique Rome

Scholars working on memory have often drawn attention to the link between material practices and mnemonic styles. The printing press, the photograph, the film industry, the museum and the world wide web are all examples of how new ways of 'doing things with things' have profoundly altered how we archive and access the past. This project looks at another emergent material practice with implications for memory, this time from late antique Rome - the creation of the architectural spolia monument. I plan to revisit well-known structures like the Arch of Constantine, the Arco di Portogallo, the Arcus Novus and the temple of Romulus, asking what these visual palimpsests can tell us about the way in which Romans selectively remembered their past. The project has two main components. The first focuses on 'individual' viewer memory, combining traditional iconographic and archaeological approaches with new insights from psychology and cognitive neuroscience. The second part of the project will move forward to look at the specific social and cultural context in which this viewing took place, investigating how the spolia monuments as mnemonic devices related to the power structures of late antique society. Questions I will ask include: Can architectural spolia accurately be described as a mnemotechnology, and if so, precisely how did this technology work? How far do the acts of assembling and curating memories overlap with the creation and consolidation of a dominant ideology? And - looking at the broader picture - to what extent did the late antique spolia monument revolutionise 'ways of remembering' in the city of Rome and beyond?

Publications & conference papers, 2012-2013
Publications & conference papers, 2010-2011
Publications & conference papers (update), 2011

Bilge Hürmüzlü

Süleyman Demirel University
'Pisidian Phrygia': Memory and Social Recognition of Northwest Pisidia in Roman Period

Artistic and architectural motifs and elements belonging to earlier societies and beliefs frequently reappeared in the Roman Period. Many such examples are found in Pisidian Phrygia, suggesting that a collective or cultural memory was at work even centuries after the original presence. Were these only decorative elements? Or are they evidences of "the power of the collective memory"? What, exactly, were the burial customs before and during the Roman Period in the region? What were the innovations and what do they mean in terms of the (dis)continuity of cultural memory? Certainly funerals were and are direct reflections of a society's belief in the afterlife. Collective memory also plays an important role in the presentation of grief and mourning. Burial types, goods, and modalities of display, which are often the symbolic keys to unlocking commemoration of status and prestige, will be studied in this project. Since these illustrate a nexus of social concerns from grief for the deceased to the celebration his or her power before a particular audience, they present an important reflection of the social memory. My focus is on how this process worked in the northwest part of Pisidia especially in regard to the rituals, which are an intrinsic part of cultural memory, during the Roman Period.

Publications & conference papers, 2010-2011
Publications & conference papers (update), 2011

Zena Kamash

University of Oxford
Memory, materiality and religion in Roman Britain

This project aims to explore how material manifestations of religion and religious activity in Roman Britain used and manipulated memories to create present identities and project hopes into the future. By bringing the role of materiality in memory to the fore, this project will build on the potential of material studies of memory to enrich our understandings of the ancient world as illustrated by eg Tatum and Alcock. This project will gather together information on architecture, finds and sites in a comparative framework, looking in detail at the best investigated temple sites in Britain and making briefer comparisons with other known temples. In addition, a selection of artefact assemblages from other locales, such as significant natural places (eg rivers) and domestic spaces, will be explored. Specific questions to be asked include: did these religious places become recognised as Nora's lieux de mémoire and if so, how? Did the physical environment and performance of specific activities work together or separately to create memories? How did the formalisation of religious architecture in the Roman period, and in particular the sensory impact this must have had, effect memory audiences? When sites were reused or built over, did this represent processes of remembering or of forgetting? Was visibility, necessarily, an indispensable component for remembering for all audiences in the Roman world? Finally, and central to all these questions, who were these memory audiences and how did their different identities affect their remembrances? It is hoped that through a focus on materiality and religion in Roman Britain this research project will engender novel insights into memory's role in the creation of pasts, presents and futures in a dynamic period and place in Rome's history.

Publications & conference papers, 2010-2011

Chris Keith

Lincoln Christian University
The Persecution of Memory: Christians and Their Books under Diocletian

My research focuses on the manners in which ancient Christians were embedded in the practices of the intertwined reading and memory cultures of the Roman Empire and simultaneously used those practices in order to construct and express an identity that was, in many ways, at variance with the Empire.  Thus, I am concerned with the role of early Christian texts, as physical commemorative artifacts, in the construction and maintenance of early Christian identity vis-à-vis both the Empire at large and Judaism.  Of particular interest from this perspective are both the development of early Christian book culture itself (especially the move from oral tradition to written tradition) and the eventual imperial response to that culture in the Great Persecution under Diocletian, where the pogrom took the form of elimination of Christians’ sacred texts.

Publications & conference papers, 2012
Publications & conference papers, 2011

Pietro Li Causi

Università di Palermo
Memoria nel De Beneficiis di Seneca

Il mio progetto di ricerca verte sull'uso e sulle strategie della memoria all'interno del De beneficiis di Seneca. Più in particolare sono tre gli ambiti che mi interessa esplorare: 1) le dinamiche dell'oblio e della memoria all'interno del protocollo senecano della gratitudine; 2) le dinamiche della costruzione delle identità all'interno dell'interazione rituale del bene facere; 3) la monumentalizzazione di determinati personaggi che, nelle sezioni narrative del trattato, incarnano e personificano le argomentazioni teoriche senecane.

Publications & Conference Papers, 2012-2013

Publications & Conference Papers, 2010-2011

Michèle Lowrie

University of Chicago
Exemplarity / Singularity
A Conference at the University of Chicago
March 8-10, 2012
Organizers: Michèle Lowrie (Classics, Chicago), Susanne Lüdemann (German, Chicago)
Co-sponsored by: Memoria Romana Project, Franke Institute - U.Chicago,
Center for Interdisciplinary Research on German Literature and Culture at U.Chicago, Depts. of Classics and Germanic Studies at Chicago, and Chicago Rhetoric and Poetics Workshop

This interdisciplinary conference considers the role of the exemplum in constructing subjectivity and the long history of this figure of thought's transformations into quite other structures in modernity. The example hands down the past and conditions the future. At issue are knowledge formation and transmission, memory and its media, the pragmatics of telling stories, the structure of the disciplines, and the interaction of the normative with the exceptional.

Participants: Clifford Ando (Classics, Chicago), Jim Chandler (English, Chicago), Alex Dressler (Classics, Wisconsin), Paul Fleming (German, Cornell), Christiane Frey (German, Princeton), Jan Goldstein (History, Chicago), Barbara Hahn (German, Vanderbilt), Rebecca Langlands (Classics, Exeter), Simon Malloch (Classics, Nottingham), David Martyn (German, McCalister), Michael Peachin (Classics, NYU), Matthew Roller (Classics, Johns Hopkins)

Publications & conference papers, 2012
Publications & conference papers, 2011

Eric Orlin

University of Puget Sound
Creation of cultural identities in Augustan Italy

I am interested in exploring how the reshaping of cities and their institutions throughout Italy during the Augustan period allowed for the construction of a Roman community and collective identity that incorporated both Italians and Romans. Many cities all over Italy saw dramatic rebuilding under Augustus, ranging from practical elements such as walls, gates, and aqueducts to theaters, amphitheatres, and religious sanctuaries. My project focuses on the site of Hispellum (Spello) in Umbria, both because the massive walls and other projects initiated during this period presented a new visual landscape and because Augustus involved the city with religious practices at the nearby Lacus Clitumnus and at Fanum Voltumnae across the foothills in Etruria. By examining how the physical monuments and religious rituals created new associations and new memories, I hope to illuminate an important mechanism that contributed to the emergence of a new sense of Roman community.

Publications & conference papers, 2012
Publications & conference papers (update), 2011
Publications & conference papers, 2010-2011

Felipe Rojas

Post-doctoral Research Fellow
Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World
Brown University
Anatolian Realia and the Roman Beholder

I study Roman “antiquarianism”, specifically, the reinterpretation and redeployment of archaic objects in Asia Minor between the first and the fourth centuries CE. I am currently writing a book that examines how the men and women of Anatolian cities such as Sardis, Ephesus, and Halicarnassus interacted with Iron and Bronze-Age remains, using them to conceptualize and articulate the local past, as well as to delineate and express individual and communal identities. My purpose is to elucidate the role of specifically Anatolian realia in the construction of a shared group consciousness in Roman Asia Minor. In addition, I aim to draw attention to strictly physical manifestations of Roman “antiquarianism” and demonstrate that interest in the past was not solely—or even primarily—a literary or mental pursuit. Rather, I show that the material matrix of memory was comprised of pre-existing landscapes, buildings, and statues that were reimbued with meaning, even as brand new objects to celebrate the local past were also being created.

Barbette Stanley Spaeth

College of William and Mary
Utilization of memory in Roman Corinth

In 146 B.C.E. the Roman general Lucius Mummius sacked Corinth as an example of what happened to those who resisted Roman rule. After this destruction, the city was largely abandoned for the next century, until Caesar sent out a colony to reoccupy the site in 44 B.C.E. An important question for scholars has been the extent to which Roman Corinth deliberately retained ties with its Greek predecessor. Did the Roman colonists and their descendents attempt to revive or to suppress the memory of the ancient Greek city and to what end? One area that has proven pivotal in examining the relationship between Greek and Roman Corinth is religion. Recent scholarship generally has taken the position that the leaders of Roman Corinth continued, or more properly revived, the important state cults of the Greek city in an attempt to add the luster of antiquity to their new city. The main evidence adduced to support this position is that the major divinities of the Greek period in Corinth continued to be worshipped in the Roman era, and several major cult sites of the Greek period were rededicated to the same divinities in the Roman era, including the Temple of Apollo off the Forum, the Sanctuary of Asklepios along the northern city wall, the Temple of Aphrodite on top of Acrocorinth and the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore on its slopes. The problem with this interpretation of the evidence, I argue, is that it ignores significant differences between Greek gods and Roman ones and between the Greek and Roman cults devoted to these divinities. My project is examine the evidence for the four major cult sites in Corinth that were reused by the Romans and attempt to answer these questions: Were the divinities worshipped at these sites and the cults practiced there Greek or Roman? If the evidence shows that they were in fact Roman, then why did the leaders of Roman Corinth choose to reuse the Greek cultic sites for them? I hypothesize that by choosing these sites the leaders of the city invoked the memory of the earlier Greek cults, but by replacing these cults with Roman ones, they were co-opting that memory in an assertion of Roman power and dominance.

Publications & conference papers, 2012-2013

Publications & conference papers, 2011

Karen Stern

Brooklyn College, CUNY
History, Memory, and Graffiti in Jewish Mortuary Contexts in Rome

Hundreds of epitaphs discovered in catacombs attest populations of Jews who once inhabited the city of Rome and buried their dead outside its walls. Hebrew scripts, menorah symbols and inscriptions of Ioudaios on epitaphs have drawn scholarly attention and have inspired study of Jewish populations, who buried in the Randanini, Monteverde and Torlonia catacombs in late antiquity. Closer inspection of these burial complexes reveals that ancient visitors had also marked their hallways and burial spaces with graffiti, which included personal names, well-wishes for the dead, and symbols associated with the destroyed Second Temple in Jerusalem. These graffiti have evaded systematic documentation and analysis, partly due to their apparently casual or secondary natures. Patterns in content and placement of graffiti and dipinti, however, suggest that catacomb visitors employed informal writing and decorative strategies not only to memorialize individuals, but also to express and perpetuate notions of collective historical memory. While the intentions of ancient actors and artists remain elusive, considerations of graffiti and dipinti illuminate overlooked modes of personal and collective memory that informed Jewish mortuary practices in late ancient Rome.

Publications & conference papers, 2012-2013

Rebecca Sweetman

University of St. Andrews
The Christianization of the Peloponnese: Memory and De-memorization

Using archaeological evidence, specifically the architecture and topography of Late Antique churches, I will argue for the manipulation of memory and use of 'de-memorization' of the Greek landscape to instigate and consolidate one the greatest social changes in the Roman Empire, that is, the widespread adoption of Christianity. Literary evidence indicates a single process of unequivocal and forceful spread of Christianity with an intolerance of any pre-Christian religious practice. On the other hand, the archaeological evidence, particularly the choice of location of churches in urban and sanctuary space and continuation of cult in some cases, suggests a much more relaxed attitude to Christianization than history relates. To rationalize these apparently different interpretations, while at the same time not underestimating the socio-political and economic agendas of Christianization, the concept of memory theory is applied and will show that the Christianizing process was both subtle and active and different periods in different places. This study will show how the mortuary, baptismal or episcopal functions of Christian churches in the Peloponnese and their location on the edges of towns or sanctuaries helped to quench the earlier social memories, by creating a new focus of community ceremony.

John Weisweiler

University of Chicago
Recipient of Marie-Curie Fellowship: University of Chicago (2010-2012),
Heidelberg (2012-2013), for the project, "Trans-regional élites in the Later Roman Empire."

New modes of memorialization in fourth-century Rome

In the fourth century AD, emperors spent most of their reigns close to their armies in the frontier regions of the Roman Empire. Imperial visits to Rome became rare events. My project looks at the visual media employed by aristocrats in Rome to articulate their relationship to the absent emperors. It explores the ways in which the emergence of physical objects which were able to preserve the memory of imperial closeness created new relationships of solidarity and dependence in the ancient capital.

Publications & conference papers, 2012
Publications & conference papers (update), 2011
Publications & conference papers, 2010-2011

Last modified Mar. 20, 2013