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This volume wades into the fertile waters of Augustan Rome and the interrelationship of its literature, monuments, and urban landscape. It focused on a pair of questions: how can we productively probe the myriad points of contact between textual and material evidence to write viable cultural histories of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, and what are the limits of these kinds of analysis? The studies gathered here range from monumental absences to monumental texts, from canonical Roman authors such as Cicero, Livy, and Ovid to iconic Roman monuments such as the Rostra, Pantheon, and Solar Meridian of Augustus. Each chapter examines what the texts in, on, and about the city tell us about how the ancients thought about, interacted with, and responded to their urban-monumental landscape. The result is a volume whose methodological and heuristic techniques will be compelling and useful for all scholars of the ancient Mediterranean world.
Bringing together philologists, historians, and archaeologists, Rome, Empire of Plunder bridges disciplinary divides in pursuit of an interdisciplinary understanding of Roman cultural appropriation - approached not as a set of distinct practices but as a hydra-headed phenomenon through which Rome made and remade itself, as a Republic and as an Empire, on Italian soil and abroad. The studies gathered in this volume range from the literary thefts of the first Latin comic poets to the grand-scale spoliation of Egyptian obelisks by a succession of emperors, and from Hispania to Pergamon to Qasr Ibrim. Applying a range of theoretical perspectives on cultural appropriation, contributors probe the violent interactions and chance contingencies that sent cargo of all sorts into circulation around the Roman Mediterranean, causing recurrent distortions in their individual and aggregate meanings. The result is an innovative and nuanced investigation of Roman cultural appropriation and imperial power.