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History and Silence Purge and Rehabilitation of Memory in Late Antiquity

by Charles W. Hedrick

  • ISBN: 9780292731219
  • ISBN10: 0292731213

History and Silence Purge and Rehabilitation of Memory in Late Antiquity

by Charles W. Hedrick

  • List Price: $60.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Texas Pr
  • Publish date: 04/01/2000
  • ISBN: 9780292731219
  • ISBN10: 0292731213
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Description: The ruling elite in ancient Rome sought to eradicate even the memory of their deceased opponents through a process now known as damnatio memoriae. These formal and traditional practices included removing the person's name and image from public monuments and inscriptions, making it illegal to speak of him, and forbidding funeral observances and mourning. Paradoxically, however, while these practices dishonored the person's memory, they did not destroy it. Indeed, a later turn of events could restore the offender not only to public favor but also to reinclusion in the public record.

This book examines the process of purge and rehabilitation of memory in the person of Virius Nicomachus Flavanius (?-394). Charles Hedrick describes how Flavian was condemned for participating in the rebellion against the Christian emperor Theodosius the Great -- and then restored to the public record a generation later as members of the newly Christianized senatorial class sought to reconcile their pagan past and Christian present. By selectively remembering and forgetting the actions of Flavian, Hedrick argues, the Roman elite honored their ancestors while participating in profound social, cultural and religious change.

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