Reconstructed Pasts and Retrospective Styles in Flavian Rome


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




After the fall of Nero and civil wars of 68/69 CE, the newly-established Flavian dynasty needed a new strategy to legitimate their reign. To this end, the Flavians forged a hybrid public image, couched in the pre-imperial forms of the Republican past. This dissertation examines the cultural resonances of the re-creation of the Roman past through a series of case studies in multiple media, including epic poetry, portraiture, historiography, and architecture of the Flavian era. The project analyzes how Romans represented and negotiated their history during this period of transition, especially how the Flavian dynasts re-shaped the Republican past in their own image. Accordingly, this study engages with larger debates concerning memory culture, retrospective styles, and the inherent problems of recalling and recreating the past.