Physical memories, eternal city : sourcing collective identity in the topography of Rome's Campus Martius
Sarah Marie Fassio
May 20, 2020
Department or Program
The physicality of a landscape and its architecture has the powerful ability to serve as a tangible source of collective memory. Such is the case with Rome’s Campus Martius (or, ‘Field of Mars’) – a space filled with monuments, temples, theaters, and columns located at the city’s northern edge. This research analyzes how these enduring physical structures perpetuate ideologies that influence a collectively remembered ‘Roman identity.’ To this end, the impact of Roman military culture is considered, as are traditions of public dedications, immortalizing monuments, and sacred rituals. By evaluating monuments existing in both the Republican and Imperial periods and in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, this research presents a fluid perspective of time, uniquely diverging from traditional historical differentiations between ‘antiquity’ and ‘modernity.’ The Campus Martius embodies the multi-faceted nature of Roman memory, stabilized and perpetuated via its monuments and topography.