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“Mythmaking, Memory, and A Sacred Landscape in Republican Rome”

Dr. Margaret Andrews

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The “Rape of the Sabine Women” and the subsequent Sabine War were considered in ancient Rome one of the most important and formative events in Rome’s early history. While several sites in and around the Forum preserved the memory of specific events in the Sabine War, Dr. Andrews argues that the memory of the Sabine women themselves was rooted in the Subura valley to the east of the Forum.

This talk presents the first chapter from Dr. Andrews' current monograph on the longue durée history of the Subura and its role as the primary locus for an institutional discourse on feminine virtue throughout its pre-modern history. She shows when, how, and why the story of the Sabine Women emerged and, more importantly, how it became anchored in the landscape of the Subura valley through a series of cult sites. She argues that the critical period was the Middle Republic, when the area experienced extensive residential development and became a venue for aristocratic competition. The narrative of the Sabine women was promulgated by victors in the Italian wars of the third century BCE and grafted onto pre-existing sacred sites in the valley, where many of these victors likely lived. This mythmaking in the Middle Republican period is but the first instance of the manipulation of local memory over the long history of the Subura.
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When and Where

Map Angell Hall - 2175 Angell Hall - Classical Studies Library

September 2018

4:00pm - 6:00pm

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