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OnderzoekOnderzoek Faculteit der LetterenOnderzoeksinstitutenThe Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG)News

CHS seminar: Bettina Reitz-Joosse - Writing a landscape of defeat: the Romans in Parthia

When:Mo 08-01-2018 16:00 - 17:00
Where:Turftorenstraat, room 08

In 2015, Bettina Reitz-Joosse was awarded a four year research grant (NWO-Veni) with which she can develop my interest in the relation between Roman literature and material culture in a new direction. Until 2020, sge will investigate war commemoration in the Roman world, focussing on ‘landscapes of war’ in Roman literature.

Roman battlefields often remained unmonumentalised, and fallen soldiers were cremated and buried in unmarked mass graves. This lack of physical commemoration contrasts sharply with the attitude towards landscapes of war in Roman literature. There, the very unmarkedness of battlefields allowed for a nuanced form of remembrance: reflections on the consequences and the costs of wars, on their gains as well as their losses. While the physical sites were gradually reclaimed by nature or agriculture, their equivalents in the world of text and imagination crystallised different interpretations of wars and conflicts for centuries to come.

Reitz-Joosse analyses representations of selected battle sites in Roman literature in their material, intellectual and literary context, using the insights and tools of intertextuality, memory studies, and ecocriticism. Through this context-sensitive literary analysis she investigates the cultural importance of landscapes of war in ancient Rome, arguing that Roman authors turned landscapes into ‘shadow memorials’ of war and its consequences.