Augustan Literary Tours: Walking and Reading the City
Contribution to Book
It has become axiomatic in modern scholarship that the city of ancient Rome functioned as a text, with its countless buildings, monuments and inscriptions providing an array of stories waiting to be 'read' by its urban denizens. Individual buildings or monuments could serve as signifiers of past events, or even evoke multiple events at the same time. A triumphal arch, for instance, alluded both to a specific historical achievement (typically an act of war) and to the celebration of the achievement in Rome. This metaphor is particularly well suited to the imperial period when emperors such as Augustus or Domitian authored urban epics by leaving their marks all over the city. The layering effect of such varied stories often inspires a comparison of the city to a palimpsest, with the same manuscript endlessly rewritten by successive generations of dynasts and builders.
Ida Östenberg, Simon Malmberg, Jonas Bjørnebye
O'Sullivan, T. M. (2015). Augustan literary tours: Walking and reading the city. In I. Östenberg, S. Malmberg, & J. Bjørnebye (Eds.), The moving city: Processions, passages, and promenades in ancient Rome (pp. 111-122). London, UK: Bloomsbury.
The Moving City: Processions, Passages, and Promenades in Ancient Rome