Book cover for 'Ceremony and Power'
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Ceremony and Power

Performing Politics in Rome between Republic and Empire
Geoffrey Sumi
Analyzes the relationship between political power and public ceremonial in the period between Julius Caesar and the first emperor Augustus


In Ceremony and Power, Geoffrey Sumi is concerned with the relationship between political power and public ceremonial in the Roman Republic, with particular focus on the critical months following Caesar's assassination and later as Augustus became the first emperor of Rome. The book traces the use of a variety of public ceremonies, including assemblies of the people, triumphs, funerals, and games, as a means for politicians in this period of instability and transition to shape their public images and consolidate their power and prestige. Ultimately, Sumi shows that the will of the people, whether they were the electorate assembled at the comitia, the citizen body at the contio, the spectators at the theater, the crowd at the triumph, or mourners at a funeral, strongly influenced the decisions and actions of Roman aristocrats.

Geoffrey Sumi is Professor of Classics at Mount Holyoke College.

Praise / Awards

  • "Geoffrey Sumi has written a book that should be on every Roman historian's shelves."
    —Allen M. Ward, New England Classical Journal

  • "This is a well-written, informative and useful book . . . an excellent example and an important one, with which those who teach this period in schools should become familiar."
    —John Murrell, The Journal of Classics Teaching

  • "Ultimately, the value of Sumi’s book is threefold: first, as an introduction and analysis of Roman public ceremony; second as a clear and elegantly written historical account of a troubled historical period (both in events and in our sources); and third as a contribution to the debate over the role of the populus in the Roman political imagination. A more affordable paperback reissue is particularly welcome as it allows Sumi’s work to reach a wider audience, something this work deserves. ?"
    --Bryn Mawr Classical Review
  • "Compellingly written...For historians, teachers and more advanced students it provides a stimulating perspective on how important events played out in a key period of Rome’s transition."
    --Classics for All
  • "The value of Sumi's work is that it has revealed the role of consensus between the governing elite and the Roman populus at public ceremonies in effecting the transition."

Look Inside

Copyright © 2005, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted August 2005 and February 2006.

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Product Details

  • 378 pages.
  • 4 maps.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2010
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-02592-3

  • PDF: Adobe Digital Editions e-book (DRM Protected)

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