How "Collective" was Roman Memory? The Role of Social Divisions in the Remembrance of the Roman Past during the Late Roman Republic

  • Luke Wilkinson

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis reconceptualises the sociological concept of 'collective memory' as it applies to late republican Rome. It argues that what has previously been regarded in modern scholarship as 'Roman' collective memory is in reality only representative of the memory culture of the Roman elite. The thesis, then, examines the memory systems of non-elite Romans, demonstrating that they had distinct modes of commemoration and had vibrant alternative narratives of the Roman past - this is a key aim of the thesis. To do this, it employs different sociological concepts from the field of memory studies, such as Jan Assmann's 'communicative' and 'cultural' memory and Pierre Nora's lieux de memoire. Each chapter displays a different interaction of non-elite Romans with memory, many of which are centred around 'flashpoint moments', episodes of such gravity that elite observers could not omit them from their histories. The thesis also argues that the growing rift in remembrance of the Roman past between different social groups during the late Republic contributed to a breakdown in trust that facilitated the collapse of the republican system and established the conditions for the subsequent Augustan dominance in Rome's monumental landscape.
Date of Award1 Aug 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMary Beagon (Supervisor) & Maria-Ruth Morello (Supervisor)


  • Non-Elite
  • Memory Studies
  • Roman Republic
  • Collective Memory
  • Ancient History

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