Civil War Monuments: The Prelude to A Future Reckoning

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Abstract

The Romans were not afraid of talking about civil war and regularly did so, even if they did not always spell it out in explicit terms. Civil war had a great impact upon society and involved numerous levels of justification—chiefly, in the case of Rome, through the erection of victory monuments as conspicuous civil war markers in the city of Rome itself. Erected by the victor, these often displayed a positive and sanitised version of civil war which highlighted not the horrors of war but rather its successful termination, so creating a positive exemplum out of the conflict. Nevertheless, regardless of these efforts to sanitise the language and memory of a civil war, its story could not be retold without people remembering its terrors. Such monuments served to keep the memory of civil war alive and testify to the long-term impact of conflict. In addition, the long list of civil war monuments that we know of testifies to an ongoing debate about warfare at Rome. Unlike our modern counterparts—for example scholars of the American Civil War, who have no need to repeatedly reconstruct the context of their civil war monuments—we as ancient historians need to establish the civil war context of these ancient memorials first and foremost.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAncient Cultures of Civil War: Polarization, Conflict, and Reconciliation
EditorsHenning Börm, Carsten Hjort Lange, Joahannes Wienand
PublisherDe Gruyter
Publication statusIn preparation - 2022
EventInternal War. Society, Social Order and Political Conflict in Antiquity (Network), conference II: the Late Republic - University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
Duration: 13 Mar 202014 Mar 2020

Conference

ConferenceInternal War. Society, Social Order and Political Conflict in Antiquity (Network), conference II: the Late Republic
LocationUniversity of Heidelberg
Country/TerritoryGermany
CityHeidelberg
Period13/03/202014/03/2020
SeriesStudies in Ancient Civil War (editors: Johannes Wienand, Carsten H. Lange, Henning Börm)

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