By Emma Dench
Glossy remedies of Rome have projected in hugely emotive phrases the perceived difficulties, or the aspirations, of the current: "race-mixture" has been blamed for the cave in of the Roman empire; extra lately, Rome and Roman society were depicted as "multicultural." relocating past those and past extra conventional, juridical ways to Roman identification, Emma Dench makes a speciality of historical modes of pondering selves and relationships with different peoples, together with descent-myths, historical past, and ethnographies. She explores the relative value of occasionally heavily interconnected different types of blood descent, language, tradition and garments, and territoriality. Rome's construction of a particular imperial form is known within the context of the wider historical Mediterranean global during which the Romans self-consciously positioned themselves, and whose modes of inspiration they appropriated and reworked.
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Extra info for Romulus' Asylum: Roman Identities from the Age of Alexander to the Age of Hadrian
These include the appropriation of, and improvement on classical and Hellenistic inventions of the world for both Roman depiction of conquest and conquerors, and even for Roman conquest and imperial activities themselves. They also include the notion of the Roman past as a reference point for both competition and idealization: as we shall see below, the Roman past could in certain contexts be imagined to be so distant from the present that it could itself become the subject of ethnographical enquiry, another country with lessons to teach.
93 For the very diVerent shape of the Persian empire, see Briant 1996; it should also be noted that the relationship between participation in imperial culture and political ‘loyalty’ to Rome is a complex one: the former by no means necessarily implies the latter. g. g. Whittaker 1993; Purcell 1994b. While I recognize that the dynamics of power are complex, much more so than any simple bipartite model of ‘politicians’ having power over those who do not (see, succinctly, Whitmarsh 2001: 18–19, with bibliography), I am concerned that recent studies of Roman imperial culture may be beginning to minimize the increased social and political distinction that is a key aspect in the peculiar shape of the Roman empire.
Livy’s account uses the historical language of Rome’s involvement in Italy and the familiar spin of narratives of Roman conquest and empire: Wnding themselves denied societas (‘alliance’) and conubium (‘intermarriage’), Romulus’ men go out to solicit it. 63 When conubium is discussed in this context, there are hints of the ius conubii, one of the major juridical signiWers of Latin status. It is signiWcant that, in early imperial accounts in general, the rape of the 60 62 Arieti 1997. Pref. 11. 61 63 Livy 1.