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The Art of ForgettingDisgrace and Oblivion in Roman Political Culture$
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Harriet I. Flower

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780807830635

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877463_flower

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The Memory of Nero, imperator scaenicus

The Memory of Nero, imperator scaenicus

(p.197) Chapter VIII The Memory of Nero, imperator scaenicus
The Art of Forgetting

Harriet I. Flower

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter considers the disgrace of Nero, who had succeeded as the legitimate and designated heir of his predecessors according to a hereditary pattern and who had reigned for about fifteen years—as an example in the use of memory sanctions at moments of transition between dynasties, when a ruling family was replaced by a different individual or family. It notes that such transitions tended to be violent and illegal, happened unexpectedly, and had to be (re)presented in public after the fact, and observes that the violent death of an emperor and the simultaneous seizure of power by a usurper whose claim was not based on a family relationship posed its own memory challenge. The chapter explains that the dead emperor now became subject to memory sanctions of various kinds even as the message was sent out around the whole Empire that a new ruler was in place.

Keywords:   disgrace, Nero, hereditary, memory sanctions, transition, dynasties, emperor, usurper

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