Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World

Overview

Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World examines how religious and historical memory was fashioned, distorted, preserved, or erased in ancient societies - and what wide-ranging effects these actions had on the historical process. The volume is interested in how memory intersects with and shapes religious traditions and cultural identities. Its twelve case studies explore different aspects of the memory layers that make up ancient history (social, religious, cultural), and looks at how these layers ...

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Overview

Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World examines how religious and historical memory was fashioned, distorted, preserved, or erased in ancient societies - and what wide-ranging effects these actions had on the historical process. The volume is interested in how memory intersects with and shapes religious traditions and cultural identities. Its twelve case studies explore different aspects of the memory layers that make up ancient history (social, religious, cultural), and looks at how these layers are represented and refracted in different contexts of the written and material remains of antiquity. The process has its beginnings in the dim pasts of ancient communities, and continues in the later Greek and Roman periods where our most articulate ancient evidence lies. It is a process that continues, in a different way, in contemporary scholarship which draws on selected evidence and a variety of contrasting representations.

The three parts of the book vary the lens through which the impact of religious and cultural memory can be grasped. Part I looks at the commemoration of religious tradition in the context of cultural interaction - Greek, Roman, Jewish, and Christian. Part II focuses on how religious identities are defined and how homogenous-looking cultures engage in elaborate selective dialogue with their own past. In Part III, contested versions of the past are interpreted in studies of Roman historiography and of religiously motivated behaviour in late antique Asia Minor.

This interdisciplinary book highlights and celebrates the work of Simon Price, an important thinker and pioneer in this kind of wider historical research in ancient cultures and religions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199572069
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 5/4/2012
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Beate Dignas is Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History at Somerville College and Lecturer in Ancient History at Trinity College, Oxford University.

R. R. R. Smith is Lincoln Professor of Classical Archaeology and Art at Oxford University, and was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2010.

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Table of Contents

Preface
List of Illustrations
List of contributors
1. Introduction, Beate Dignas and R.R.R. Smith
Part I: Religious pasts and religious present
2. Memory and Ancient Greece, Simon Price
3. Sappho in the Underground, John North
4. Memory and its uses in Judaism and Christianity in the early Roman empire: the portrayal of Abraham, Martin Goodman
5. Statues in the temples of Pompeii: Combinations of gods, local definition of cults, and the Memory of the City, William van Andringa
Part II: Defining religious identity
6. Rituals and the construction of identity in Attalid Pergamon, Beate Dignas
7. Memory and identity in the Graeco-Roman cults of Isis, Richard Gordon
8. Epigraphy and ritual: the vow of the legionary from Sulmo, John Scheid
9. Building Memory: The role of sacred structures in Sphakia and Crete, Lucia Nixon
Part IIINB: Commemorating and erasing the past
10. You shall blot out the memory of Amalek : Roman historians on remembering to forget, David Levene
11. The discovery of old inscriptions in Antiquity and the legitimation of new cults, Aude Busine
12. Abercius of Hierapolis: Christianisation and social memory in Late Antique Asia Minor, Peter Thonemann
13. Defacing the gods at Aphrodisias, R.R.R. Smith

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