Workshop Participants:

Susan Blevins

Eternalizing the Emperor: Architecture, Cult and Imperial Deification in Rome

Lauren Donovan

On the Model of Augustus: Seneca and Octavian’s Civil Wars

Lucy Jones

Nostra Memoria: Social Memory in Republican Rome

Sebastian Modrow

From Punic to Roman Carthage: Roman reflections about an historical conflict and their contribution to the construction of Roman identity

Shreyaa Patel

Will to Forget?: Some Thoughts on the Discontinuous Memories in Tacitus & Tiberian Rome

Maggie Popkin

The Triumphal Route in Republican and Imperial Rome: Architecture, Memory, and Roman Identities

Emmanuelle Raymond

The Visit of Pallanteum in the Aeneid, A Mise en Abyme of the Confrontation of Ancient and Modern Theory on loci memoriae

Stefano Rebeggiani

Shadows from Alexandria: Ptolemaic Memories and the Political Discourse of the Thebaid

Aaron Seider

Commemorative Apostrophes in the Aeneid: Between Individual and Social Memory

Convened by Professor Karl Galinsky


[by Shreyaa Patel]

The workshop ended with a round-up discussion of the key points raised over the three days. Whilst the task of critically defining ancient (and modern) conceptions of the connections between memory and culture proved to be challenging, these connections do exist, and our presentations collectively elucidated the various theoretical approaches through which they can be better analysed and understood. Furthermore, despite our differences in approach and discipline, there remained numerous points of convergence across our papers, which I thought was of some significance given that this particular workshop did not limit itself to one definitive topical issue within the study of Roman culture.

Overall, our analyses disclosed Roman memory as shaped by, created, produced and recreated from authorial, architectural, literary and artistic commitment to the more important ideas and ideals of what it meant to be Roman at a specific time – and how that meaning changed over time – through a consideration of those aspects which people wished to remember and those which they willed to forget. Given this, I think we all approached Roman memory as something which saw the interaction between the individual and the collective, a relationship which many believe Collective Memory Studies dissolves; and a dominant reason for why it receives criticism as a tool for critical socio-cultural analyses. But surely, and as our workshop showed, collective memory survives because it means something to the individual and in the individual’s choice to embrace this shared meaning of the past, he perpetuates its relevance to and transmission through the group. Collective memory does not therefore ‘secrete and crystallise itself’ – whatever that means – nor does it deny individual action and reaction. Rather, I thought our defined and different analyses of the various interpretations of the past as represented in and reproduced by our various sources evidenced the various ways in which the former depends on the latter.   Above all, collective memory, however defined (and there was a lot of discussion of the relevant theoretical works), is not a static entity, but a process.

In sum, the workshop saw a very unique and enjoyable three days in Rome. Whilst I found it intellectually demanding, and difficult, it was overall an invaluable experience. I would like to thank the other presenters and stress how much I benefited from reading their papers and our various discussions in Rome and after – I have not been able to adequately explain just how much in my notes above, which are notably selective and subjective. Overall, some very special thanks are due to Professor Galinsky: on behalf of all who attended, I would like to express thanks to him for organising the workshop, for reading and commenting on our papers, for introducing us to each other and mostly for giving us the opportunity to be part of the Memoria Romana project, which has shown how theory can be used in a meaningful way.