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Performance, Memory, and Processions in Ancient Rome
The Pompa Circensis from the Late Republic to Late Antiquity

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  • Date Published: January 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107576667

$ 30.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • The pompa circensis, the procession which preceded the chariot races in the arena, was both a prominent political pageant and a hallowed religious ritual. Traversing a landscape of memory, the procession wove together spaces and institutions, monuments and performers, gods and humans into an image of the city, whose contours shifted as Rome changed. In the late Republic, the parade produced an image of Rome as the senate and the people with their gods - a deeply traditional symbol of the city which was transformed during the empire when an imperial image was built on top of the republican one. In late antiquity, the procession fashioned a multiplicity of Romes: imperial, traditional, and Christian. In this book, Jacob A. Latham explores the webs of symbolic meanings in the play between performance and itinerary, tracing the transformations of the circus procession from the late Republic to late antiquity.

    • Addresses a huge gap in scholarship, and allows one of Rome's three great processions to stand alongside the triumph and funeral procession, which have received a lot more scholarly attention (especially the triumph)
    • Builds upon and extends previous important work emphasizing performance, memory, and the spatial context of processions, while offering new insights into the experience of participants and spectators
    • Addresses the essential elements of the procession and its development over time but more importantly emphasizes neglected aspects of ancient processions, such as non-elite participants, the itinerary, and the effect on and import to the audience
    Read more

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107576667
    • length: 367 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 176 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.681kg
    • contains: 86 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    1. History in the subjunctive
    2. Idioms of spectacle between Hellenism and Imperialism
    3. Ritual rhythms of the pompa circensis
    Part I. An Ideal-type between the Republic and Memories of the Republic:
    1. Pompa hominum: gravity and levity, resonance and wonder, ritual failure
    1.1 'Rituals in ink': Dionysius of Halicarnassus
    1.2 Gravity, levity, and ritual resonance in the pompa hominum
    1.2.1 'Those holding the greatest authority'
    1.2.2 '[Roman] sons on the verge of manhood'
    1.2.3 'The charioteers followed'
    1.2.4 'Numerous companies of dancers'
    1.2.5 'Bands of dancers playing satyrs'
    1.2.6 'Censers in which incense and frankincense were burned'
    1.3 Wonder: spectacle and the pompa circensis
    1.4 Ritual failure in the pompa hominum
    2. Pompa deorum: performing theology, performing the gods
    2.1 Religious education and performed 'theology'
    2.2 Performing the gods
    2.2.1 Fercula and simulacra
    2.2.2 Exuviae and tensae
    2.2.3 Folkloric figures
    2.3 Regulations, risks, and ritual failure in the pompa deorum
    3. Iter pompae circensis: memory, resonance, the image of the city
    3.1 An itinerary of collective memory
    3.2 Resonance and repetition
    3.2.1 Capitolium: 'the citadel and Capitolium, the seat of the gods, the senate, and the head of public judgment'
    3.3.2 Forum Romanum: 'wider intercolumniations should be distributed around the spectacles… and in balconies should be placed in the upper stories'
    3.2.3 Velabrum: 'the vile throng of the vicus Tuscus'
    3.2.4 Aedes Cereris
    3.2.5 Circus Maximus: 'they come to see, they come that they may be seen'
    3.3 Imaging Rome on the ground and in the imagination
    3.3.1 Way-finding in Republican Rome
    3.3.2 Symbolic cityscapes: Senatus populusque Romanus et dei and Aurea Roma
    3.4 An ideal-type between the Republic and memories of the Republic
    Part II. The Pompa Circensis from Julius Caesar to Late Antiquity:
    4. 'Honors greater than human': Imperial cult and the pompa circensis
    4.1 Imperial gods in the pompa circensis: from Caesar to the Severans
    4.1.1 Dynastic beginnings: Caesar to Augustus
    4.1.2 The Augustan settlement: honoring divus Augustus
    4.1.3 Innovation into tradition: the Julio-Claudians
    4.1.4 Divi, divae, and the imperial family from the Flavians to the Severans
    4.1.5 The traditional gods
    4.2 An imperial palimpsest: the itinerary from Augustus to Septimius Severus
    4.2.1 Restoring cultural memory in Imperial Rome
    4.2.2 Deus Praesens: Imperial cult temples and triumphal arches
    5. Behind 'the Veil of power': ritual failure, ordinary humans, and Ludic processions during the High Empire
    5.1 Imperial ritual failure
    5.2 'Ordinary' humans in the pompa circensis
    5.3 The pompa circensis outside Rome and the pompa (amphi-)theatralis
    5.3.1 The pompa circensis outside Rome
    5.3.2 The pompa (amphi-)theatralis
    5.4 'The horses, fleet as the wind, will contend for the first palm'
    6. The pompa circensis in Late Antiquity: imperialization, Christianization, restoration
    6.1 Pompa diaboli: Christian rhetoric and the pompa circensis
    6.2 Voluptates: imperial law and the 'secularization' of the ludi
    6.3 Emperors and victory: the pompa circensis in Late Antiquity
    6.4 The sub-imperial pompa circensis in Late Antiquity
    6.5 Restoring the 'Republic': the Late Antique itinerary

  • Author

    Jacob A. Latham, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
    Jacob A. Latham is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Tennessee. He has also taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the University of California, Los Angeles, and Pomona College, California. He is a historian of the religions of Rome, whose research explores the intersections of religious practice, civic life, and identity in the ancient Mediterranean world. He was awarded the 2005–6 Arthur Ross Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize Fellowship by the American Academy in Rome and the 2014 Best First Article Award by the North American Patristics Society. His work has appeared in Church History, History of Religions, the Journal of Religion, and Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome and a number of edited volumes.

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