The Roman Cultural Memory of the Conquest of Latium

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Classical Studies
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In this dissertation, I examine the Roman cultural memory of the conquest of Latium and Rome’s earliest expansion through case studies of three Latin cities—Tusculum, Tibur, and Praeneste. Each of these cities underwent the transition from independent civic entity to community of Roman citizens on a different timeline than the majority of Latium: though most Latin cities came under Roman control after being defeated in the Roman-Latin Wars around 338 BCE, Tusculum had already been incorporated as the first municipium cum suffragio after 381 BCE, while Tibur and Praeneste seem to have remained independent allied cities until 90 BCE. I reconstruct the Roman cultural memory of these cities and how it changed over time, incorporating a variety of textual and material sources including literary references, inscriptions, iconography alluding to each city, and monuments or significant sites. I demonstrate that the memory of Tusculum, Tibur, and Praeneste as formerly independent, non-Roman communities persisted through the Late Republic and into the Empire, even as they became completely politically integrated with Rome. The cultural memory of these cities was shaped by continuing interactions between the Romans and the inhabitants of each conquered city, perhaps newly incorporated as Roman citizens themselves, and inconsistencies in depictions of the cities, I argue, provide evidence of the ongoing processes by which the conquered citizens of Latium and the conquerors of Latium were negotiating their history of conflict by reinterpreting and reframing their shared memory of the past. By identifying recurring themes and motifs across many types of evidence, as well as areas of dissonance and mutually incompatible characterizations, I argue that developments in the cultural memory of pre-Roman Latium should be connected to the multiple social groups within the Roman community that would have preserved different memories of Tusculum, Tibur, and Praeneste.

Cynthia Damon
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