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Schulz, Verena (2020): Material to Remember? 'Tyrannical' Space in Roman Imperial Historiography and Biography. In: Mnemosyne, Vol. 73, No. 2: pp. 296-319

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This paper discusses how the space designed by 'bad' emperors such as Nero and Domitian is described in Tacitus, Cassius Dio, and Suetonius. It argues that these authors use space to depict these emperors as tyrants. First, we will study how Roman emperors use space to fashion their memory. Their design of space is subject to interpretation, in particular as regards Roman emperors who were praised during their lifetime, but were considered tyrants after their death. In later historiography and biography, the depiction of their imperial space fulfils several functions. These functions, which together make this space appear as 'tyrannical' space, are the focus of the second part of the article. Finally, this negative framing of tyrannical space is complemented by the strategy of avoiding mention of certain spatial elements at all I shall argue that this forgetting of tyrannical space can be explained by its potentially positive memory.

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