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    Imagining ruins in ancient Rome

    Edwards, Catharine (2011) Imagining ruins in ancient Rome. European Review of History 18 (5/6), pp. 645-661. ISSN 1350-7486.

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    Abstract

    The celebration of ruins, their capacity to evoke melancholy and offer consolation, is often characterised as a specifically modern phenomenon. It is also a phenomenon particularly associated with Rome. This article aims to explore the significance of the ruined city as imagined by a number of Roman (and Greek) writers, Virgil and Tacitus in particular. Such ruins often serve as traces of violent ruptures in the history of a city whose literary presences more usually work to emphasise continuity and durability. Through these texts, which describe the ruins of antiquity, the city of Rome could preserve all the nuance of its rich and complex past, both the beauty of the city and its devastation, in the minds of later readers.

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