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The Art of Forgetting: Disgrace and Oblivion in Roman Political Culture (Studies in the History of Greece and Rome) Paperback – 15 May 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press (15 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807871885
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807871881
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,342,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"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 m

About the Author

HARRIET I. FLOWER is associate 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. Studies in the History of Greece and Rome --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Torben Retboll on 8 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
Harriet I. Flower is professor of classics at Princeton University. Her book about "damnatio memoriae" in ancient Rome is based on a wide range of ancient literary sources, archaeological objects, and modern scholarship. Since "damnatio memoriae" is a modern term, she does not want to use it. She prefers the term "memory sanctions" (preface).

At first such sanctions were only used against persons who were already dead, but when Sulla returned to Rome in 82 BC, they were also used against persons who were still alive (pp. 86-98). During the Republic they were only used against men, but during the Empire they were also used against women (chapter VII). The sanctions used depended on the time and the place as well as on the persons involved. Here is a list of sanctions that could be used in order to destroy the image of a prominent person in ancient Rome:

* Public statues of the person could be removed, re-carved or destroyed
* Public inscriptions, which mentioned the person, could be erased

* The person's house could be destroyed
* The person's assets could be confiscated

* The person could be executed or forced into exile
* The person's family could also be directly punished

Many public inscriptions were only partially erased, and this fact often allows us to reconstruct what is missing. A typical case appears on the front cover of the book and inside the book on page 238, where the caption reads: "Inscription from a bridge with erasures of Domitian and of M. Mettius Rufus, Coptos, Egypt, AD 90/91."

In my opinion, a caption like this should present the whole inscription in the original language (Greek or Latin) plus an English translation. Unfortunately, HIF never does this.
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