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Ceremony and Power

Performing Politics in Rome between Republic and Empire

Geoffrey Sumi

Publication Year: 2005

In Ceremony and Power, Geoffrey Sumi is concerned with the relationship between political power and public ceremonial in the Roman Republic, with particular focus on the critical months following Ceasar's assassination and later as Augustus became the first emperor of Rome. The book traces the use of a variety of public ceremonies, including assemblies of the people, triumphs, funerals, and games, as a means for politicians in this period of instability and transition to shape their public images and consolidate their power and prestige. Ultimately, Sumi shows that the will of the people, whether they were the electorate assembled at the comitia, the citizen body at the contio, the spectators at the theater, the crowd at the triumph, or mourners at a funeral, strongly influenced the decisions and actions of Roman aristocrats.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Title Page

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pp. iii-

Copyright

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pp. iv-

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

This book is a substantial revision of my doctoral dissertation submitted to the University of Michigan. I owe a debt of gratitude to the members of my doctoral committee, in particular my adviser, David Potter, who was instrumental in getting the project started and remained a...

Contents

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pp. ix-

Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-15

This study is concerned with the relationship between political power and public ceremonial in the Roman Republic, with particular focus on the critical months following Caesar's assassination and later as the Republic gradually transformed into the Principate. The Roman...

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1. Consensus and Conflict

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pp. 16-46

Our discussion of the relationship between power and ceremonial in the late Roman Republic will begin with a framework or typology of ceremonial- ┬Łan enumeration and general description of the kinds of events that form the focus of this study and their historical development...

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2. Dictator Perpetuo

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pp. 47-73

The political career of Julius Caesar,1 like many of his contemporaries, played out on the stage of public ceremonial, through which he introduced himself to the electorate as well as established, polished, and honed his public image...

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3. Standing in Caesar's Shadow

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pp. 74-96

As Caesar lay dead in the theater of his former son-in-law and rival, his imprint was everywhere visible not only on the events of the time but also on the calendar of festivals and the physical landscape of the city of Rome itself. Virtually every festival, triumph, law, or speech...

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4. Caesar ex machina

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pp. 97-120

The contiones immediately after the Ides of March demonstrated that Caesar's memory and how it should be preserved shaped the words and influenced the actions of the political leaders at the time. In other words, political power was directly linked to the posthumous honors...

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5. The Arrival of Octavian and the Ascendancy of Antonius

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pp. 121-141

The events surrounding Caesar's funeral and Amatius' execution did nothing to resolve the questions over Caesar's memory, beyond forcing the conspirators to abandon the city. Without Brutus and Cassius to accommodate, Antonius could focus his efforts on the consolidation of his...

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6. Politics and Public Entertainment (July 44 BC)

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pp. 142-158

Following Antonius' passage of legislation at the beginning of June, the conspirators' future was more clouded than ever.1 Returning to Rome was out of the question, but the grain commission, a feeble gesture on Antonius' part, offered no brighter prospects. The conspirators' access to the...

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7. Rivalry and Reconciliation

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pp. 159-185

This chapter covers a much longer period than the four previous, about sixteen months from the failure of the reconciliation of Antonius and Octavian at the end of July to the formation of the Second Triumvirate, the coalition of M. Aemilius Lepidus, Antonius, and Octavian...

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8. The Performance of Politics in the Triumviral Period

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pp. 186-219

The previous five chapters focus on a relatively brief chronological period- the twenty months or so between Caesar's assassination and the formation of the Second Triumvirate- in which we examined public ceremonial against a backdrop of political developments. This...

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9. The Princeps as Performer

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pp. 220-262

When Augustus on his deathbed compared his life and career to the performance of a mime, even extending the metaphor with a request for applause as he left the stage,1 he acknowledged that...

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Conclusion

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pp. 263-268

Throughout this study, we have been concerned with the close relationship between power and public ceremonial in Roman politics. I have argued that public ceremonial in the late Republic and early...

Notes

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pp. 269-328

References

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pp. 329-345

Index

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pp. 347-360

Plates

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pp. 361-366


E-ISBN-13: 9780472025923
E-ISBN-10: 0472025929
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472115174
Print-ISBN-10: 0472115170

Page Count: 378
Publication Year: 2005

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Rome -- Politics and government -- 265-30 B.C.
  • Rome -- Politics and government -- 30 B.C.-68 A.D.
  • Political customs and rites -- Rome.
  • Rites and ceremonies -- Rome.
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