Emily L. Hurt
My project shows how Roman culture was produced and negotiated through the destruction and rebuilding of conquered cities. I operate in the space between two perspectives: that of the Roman conqueror and that of civic communities in cities that had once been violently destroyed. I trace Roman actions against rival cities in conjunction with the formation of Roman myths about their own history, finding that the construction of Roman identity was intimately connected to forms of intellectual and cultural violence which erased and overwrote the communal memory of civic groups. I then look at the long afterlife of rebuilt cities and how constructions of “Romanness” were imposed upon, and then appropriated and transformed, by newly established civic groups. Untangling the complex encounters between these two deeply entwined perspectives, I view destroyed cities as both literary and material palimpsests, formative spaces in which communities negotiated past and present identities.