Memoria Romana

Memory in Rome and Rome in Memory
edited by Karl Galinsky

An illumination of memory-the defining aspect of Roman civilization


Concern with memory permeated Roman literature, history, rhetorical training, and art and architecture. This is the first book to look at the phenomenon from a variety of perspectives, including cognitive science. There is no orthodoxy in memory studies and the approaches are both empirical and theoretical. A central issue is: who and what preserved and shaped cultural memory in Rome, and how did that process work? Areas and subjects covered include the Romans' view of the changing physical fabric of the city, monuments (by etymology related to memory) such as the Arch of Constantine, memory and the Roman triumph, Roman copies of Greek sculpture and their relation to memory, the importance of written information and of continuing process, the creation of memory in Republican memoirs and Flavian poetry, the invention of traditions, and the connection of cultural and digital memory.

The ten chapters present original findings that complement earlier scholarship from the perspective of memory and open up new horizons for inquiry. The introduction by volume editor Karl Galinsky situates the work within current studies on cultural and social memory, and the concluding chapter by Daniel Libeskind provides the perspective of a contemporary practitioner.

Additional contributors include Richard Jenkyns, Harriet I. Flower, T. P. Wiseman, Karl-J. Hölkeskamp, Gianpiero Rosati, Diane Favro, Jessica Hughes, Anna Anguissola, Lisa Marie Mignone, and Bernard Frischer.

“Preservation? Creative distortion? Appropriation? Memoria Romana explores Rome’s paradoxes as a privileged site for memory work then and now.”
—Michèle Lowrie, University of Chicago

“This extraordinary collection of conference papers captures and explores the variety of Roman memory in almost all of its many forms—literary texts, art, buildings, monuments, events such as the Roman triumph, even the collision of ancient and modern memory in the city of Rome. The confluence of first-rate scholars from a number of different fields ensures that virtually no aspect of the subject goes unexamined. A product of Karl Galinsky’s remarkable Memoria Romana project, which was funded by a Max Planck International Research Prize in the Humanities, the volume draws deeply on the rich store of recent work on memory, theoretical and otherwise, while usefully suggesting directions for future studies.”
—Alain M. Gowing, University of Washington

Illustration: Veduta del Campo Vaccino, by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, circa 1748–74.

Karl Galinsky is Floyd A. Cailloux Centennial Professor of Classics and University Distinguished Teaching Professor, University of Texas at Austin.

Praise / Awards

  • Ancient historians have much to learn from better understanding how the memories of the artists and authors who now constitute their primary sources were shaped and shared, how and why Romans remembered, and how these processes of remembering differed from what they then chose to inscribe, and forget. At least from the time of Ennius, Rome’s present was always also its past."
    --Bryn Mawr Classical Review
  • "The chapters are all of a very high standard, and therefore make significant contributions to their individual subject areas, whilst demonstrating the potential of memory studies in opening up fresh interpretive avenues in research into the ancient world."
    --Journal of Roman Studies
  • "Opens up enriching perspectives on the current correlations between architecture and memory."
    --L'Antiquite Classique

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Product Details

  • 8.5 x 11.
  • 212pp.
  • 38 B/W Illustrations, 4 color illustrations.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2014
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11943-1

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  • $89.95 U.S.