The Ancient Mediterranean - A talk by Andrew Gallia, History, University of Minnesota

11/19/2012 - 5:00pm - 6:30pm

Andrew Gallia is a professor of History at the University of Minnesota, where he also teaches courses in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies.  By training and inclination a Roman historian, Professor Gallia also maintains a keen interest in Greek history and culture and in the history of ancient civilizations generally. His work combines analysis of written sources (literary and epigraphic texts) with that of material remains (as represented in the disciplines of art history, archaeology, and numismatics). His first book, Remembering the Roman Republic: Culture, Politics and History under the Principate (CUP 2011), explores what its blurb describes as a "central paradox" of the Roman Principate: the presence of multiple, repeated claims of continuity with the past in the face of a political system that marked a clear break with the old traditions. Though we regard the Principate (Professor Gallia doesn't like the term "Empire") as a distinct era of Roman history, defining the relationship between this period and that of the "free" Republic was not so easy for those who lived through it. In six case studies spanning the years between the fall of Nero and the height of Trajan's power, he examines some of the ways that emperors and their subjects confronted and tried to make sense of (i.e., remembered) their Republican heritage.

Professor Gallia is currently working on a new book on the tradition of tyrannicide in Greek and Roman culture. Tentatively entitled "Sic Semper Tyrannis: The Tradition of Political Violence in Ancient Greece and Rome," this work is an outgrowth of a larger project on the role of historiography in the interaction between Greek and Roman culture. He is interested in exploring not just the relationship between historical accounts and the popular tradition about tyrannicides (a well-plowed field, at least in some of the furrows) but also the tension between professed political ideals (like protecting freedom and fostering equality) and the messy reality of political murder. How did conspiracy and assassination become noble acts?  

Organized by the Institute for Advanced Study's Mediterranean Identities Collaborative.


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