Flavian Rome: Culture, Image, Text

Flavian Rome: Culture, Image, Text

Flavian Rome: Culture, Image, Text

Flavian Rome: Culture, Image, Text

Synopsis

The politics, literature and culture of ancient Rome during the Flavian principate (69-96 ce) have recently been the subject of intense investigation. In this volume of new, specially commissioned studies, twenty-five scholars from five countries have combined to produce a critical survey of the period, which underscores and re-evaluates its foundational importance. Most of the authors are established international figures, but a feature of the volume is the presence of young, emerging scholars at the cutting edge of the discipline. The studies attend to a diversity of topics, including: the new political settlement, the role of the army, change and continuity in Rome's social structures, cultural festivals, architecture, sculpture, religion, coinage, imperial discourse, epistemology and political control, rhetoric, philosophy, Greek intellectual life, drama, poetry, patronage, Flavian historians, amphitheatrical Rome. All Greek and Latin text is translated.

Excerpt

One of the marks of a vital academic discipline is its capacity to reevaluate its own internal narratives. For much of the twentieth century the political, social and architectural history of ancient Rome during the Flavian principate (69–96 CE) attracted scholars and scholarship of the first rank, while the literature of the period was the victim of a story designed to discourage its study. Castigated as unoriginal, arid, trivial and bookish, the poetry of the period especially was marginalised as second-rate and, more often than not, left unexamined. The last two decades or so, however, have seen something of a revolution in the evaluation of both the poetry and prose writings of the Flavian period, and in the appreciation of the political and cultural context of which those writings were a constitutive and exegetic part. It seemed the right time to commission a set of studies of the larger political and cultural context of Flavian Rome, its literary and artistic productions, and the dynamic interplay between them. Our first aims were fairly limited: to bring together perhaps a dozen chapters which would explore the cultural dynamics of the period by juxtaposing literary with art-historical and political or cultural research. As our commissioning and passion grew, we discovered so much exciting work taking place that we doubled the number of chapters (and could have tripled it) and embraced several that dissolve the very 'literary', 'political' and 'cultural' distinctions which have themselves done much to restrict our knowledge. We decided to commission not only established international figures, who form the majority of the contributors, but also young, emerging scholars at the cutting edge of the discipline. It needs to be emphasised that all the chapters in this volume are new studies. They range from political, military and social analysis, through intellectual and art history, numismatics and literary criticism, to discourse inquiry and cultural critique. The result is a critical survey of the period, which underscores and re-evaluates its foundational importance. All Greek and Latin have been translated to make the volume accessible to as wide a readership as possible. We hope that the collection will be valuable both to the undergraduate student of the period and to the specialist scholar.

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