The Art of Forgetting: Disgrace and Oblivion in Roman Political Culture / Edition 1

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Elite Romans periodically chose to limit or destroy the memory of a leading citizen who was deemed an unworthy member of the community. Sanctions against memory could lead to the removal or mutilation of portraits and public inscriptions. Harriet Flower provides the first chronological overview of the development of this Roman practice—an instruction to forget—from archaic times into the second century A.D. Flower explores Roman memory sanctions against the background of Greek and Hellenistic cultural influence and in the context of the wider Mediterranean world. Combining literary texts, inscriptions, coins, and material evidence, this richly illustrated study contributes to a deeper understanding of Roman political culture.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
An important contribution to the study of commemoration in the classical world. . . . Thorough and well-argued. . . . Lucidly written and enriched by numerous illustrations, this book provides not only a rich source of information about Greek and Roman memory sanctions, but also offers a profound analysis on their development and implications for Roman republican and early imperial politics.—Tyche

A much-needed articulation . . . of Roman commemoration practices. . . . An engaging survey of Roman history [for] the nonspecialist. . . . Well illustrated.—The Historian

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807830635
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 12/30/2006
  • Series: Studies in the History of Greece and Rome Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Harriet I. Flower is professor of classics at Princeton University. She is author of Ancestor Masks and Aristocratic Power in Roman Culture and editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic.

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Table of Contents

Preface     xix
Acknowledgments     xxiii
Clements' Hat: The Politics of Memory Sanctions and the Shape of Forgetting     1
The Roman Republic and Greek Precedents
Did the Greeks Have Memory Sanctions?     17
Greek Laws and Memory Sanctions     18
Amnesty: (Re)Shaping Civic Memory     23
Erasing Greek Public Inscriptions     26
Hellenistic Memory Sanctions in Context     31
Philip V of Macedon: The Romans Visit Athens in 200 B.C.     34
The Origins of Memory Sanctions in Roman Political Culture     42
The Three Early Republican Traitors     44
Memory and the Political Culture of the Nobiles     51
Memoria and Oblivio     55
Influences on Roman Memory Sanctions     60
Disgrace and the Manlii     63
Punitive Memory Sanctions I: The Breakdown of the Republican Consensus     67
The Invention of Punitive Memory Sanctions in 121 B.C.     69
Sextus Titius' Portrait of L. Appuleius Saturninus     81
Punitive Memory Sanctions II: The Republic of Sulla     86
Sulla's New Republic     86
Playing with Fire: Cicero, Catiline, and Clodius     98
Clementia Caesaris: Divus Iulius and the Memory of the Liberators     104
Punitive Sanctions in the Politics of the Late Republic     109
The Principate from Octavian to Antoninus Pius
Memory Games: Disgrace and Rehabilitation in the Early Principate     115
Marcus Antonius     116
Senatorial Self-Representation under Augustus: L. Munatius Plancus and M. Licinius Crassus     121
C. Cornelius Gallus, the Poet     125
"Opposition" to Augustus?     130
Maiestas under Tiberius: The Case of Cn. Calpurnius Piso     132
Memoriae Agrippinae     138
The Erasure of C. Asinius Gallus     143
Gaius' Ghost and the Memory of the Caesars     148
Public Sanctions against Women: A Julio-Claudian Innovation     160
Julia, Augusti f.     163
Disgrace in A.D. 8     167
Livi(ll)a and the Fall of Sejanus     169
The Memory of Messalina     182
Agrippina, Mother of Nero     189
Tacitus' Julio-Claudian Women     194
The Memory of Nero, imperator scaenicus     197
Nero the Enemy     199
Nero on Stage in A.D. 68     202
Neronians after Nero     209
Nero's Inscriptions     212
Remembering and Forgetting in the Grove of Dea Dia     223
The Image of Flavian Rome     228
Epilogue: Fannius' Dream     232
The Shadow of Domitian and the Limits of Disgrace     234
Nerva's Coup and the Disgrace of Domitian     235
Domitianic Epigraphy: Patterns and Pitfalls     240
Domitian at Puteoli and Misenum     256
Praising Trajan/Blaming Domitian     262
The Memory World of Pliny's Letters     266
Memory and Transitions of Power in the First Century A.D.: 69/96     270
Hadrian's Legacy     272
Conclusion: Roman Memory Spaces     276
Notes     285
Bibliography     349
Index     391
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