damnatio memoriae


exactly 1675 years ago
It was yesterday, 1675 years ago, that Constantine the Great arrived in Rome to end his Vicennalia, his 20th anniversary as a Roman ruler. The next two weeks were not all joy and happiness, however, and indeed there was already a dark cloud over the celebration. Just two months prior, Constantine was for some reason forced to command the execution of his eldest son Crispus. That a father had to authorize and witness the death of his son is frightening enough, but just imagine what Rome was thinking given that, at this very same time 1675 years ago, Helena, Constantine's mother was also making her way to Rome for the celebrations, and she was bringing with her the newly discovered True Cross, testimony of the death of another son.
Constantine's second wife, Fausta, was not the mother of Crispus, yet it is written that Constantine also ordered her death right around this time. It's said she died in an overheated bath, a compulsory suicide even. Could it be that Fausta died exactly on July 25, the very date of Constantine's anniversary? That might explain why she also suffered damnatio memoriae, like Crispus.
Eusebius, in his Life of Constantine, which was published the year after Constantine's dead in 337, writes of Helena's death and burial, and even states that Constantine was with her at the time. Helena was indeed buried in Rome in what many believe was the mausoleum and sarcophagus originally intended for Constantine. Were the mausoleum and sarcophagus already complete in 326, and awaiting their presentation to Constantine during the Vicennalia? On August 3 Constantine left Rome and was never to return to Rome, alive or dead. After dying with a very broken heart, could it be that Helena was buried August 1 or 2? Could it be that with the finding of the True Cross again came three deaths?

2001.07.19 17:05
Crispus and Fausta
Hans A. Pohlsander:
I wonder if you could provide me with some information regarding the damnatio memoriae of Crispus and Fausta. Particularly, I'm trying to find out what ancient evidence there is that there was a damnatio memoriae of these two imperials. For example, was a damnatio memoriae typically issued as a Roman law, and, if so, what ancient legal text contains the damnatio of Crispus and Fausta. Or do we only know that there was a damnatio memoriae from post Constantine historians such as Aurelius Victor and Zosimus?
The main thrust of my present research involves Helena and Eutropia and their role in the rise of Christian architecture throughout the Empire. Presently, I am of the opinion that Crispus, Fausta, and Helena all died in 326 -- Crispus in May, and Fausta and Helena in Rome sometime next week 1675 years ago. Essentially, I take Eusebius' chapters 4 - 53 of book III of the Vita Constantini as being in chronological order. Who were those three imperials that first entered the Council of Niceae? I say Crispus, Fausta and Helena. The burial of Helena probably occurred August 1 or 2, just before Constantine left Rome for the last time of August 3. Eutropia remained ever loyal to Constantine, like she did in Rome, 312 when she admitted the adulterous paternity of Maxentius. Moreover, Eutropia continued Helena's church building efforts in the Holy Land, and I believe it was Eutropia that died in 329 when the Helena coins stopped appearing. Did Eustathius speak of Helena and the Cross when everyone know that Constantine forbade such talk of his dead mother. You see, I believe with the Cross came again three deaths, and that this 'sign' became Constantine's greatest test of faith -- there was first confusion and then there was silence.
Thanks in advance,
Stephen Lauf

2001.08.14 22:42
damnatio memoriae question
I have two questions about ancient Roman 'damnatio memoriae', one general and one specific:
1. Was there some kind of official decree that declared a damnatio memoriae? And, if so, could someone offer an example?
2. In the case of the deaths of Crispus and Fausta (Constantine I's eldest son and second wife respectively), all 20th century historians refer to their subsequent damnatio memoriae, although I have yet to find a footnote that supplies an actual (late) ancient reference to verify the damnatio memoriae. Is there such a "footnote"?
I'm curious about this particular occurrence of damnatio memoriae because in Eusebius' Life of Constantine there is no mention of the death of Crispus and Fausta (which is today explained as a result of damnatio memoriae) and at the same time in the same text there is no mention of Helena and the finding of the True Cross (which is today referred to as Eusebius' "silence" on the subject). As you might guess, I'm wondering whether the Crispus and Fausta damnatio memoriae and the "silence" regarding Helena and the finding of the True Cross are part of the same historical phenomenon c.326 and just after.
And just to add some zip to the punch, who do you think were those three "family" members that first entered the hall at the opening of the Nicene Council in 325? Eusebius, again in the Life of Constantine, makes clear reference to this occurrence, but strangely does not supply the names of these obviously Imperial personages. Was Eusebius 'silent' because it was Crispus, Fausta and Helena that entered in an imperial line? Remember, Crispus was already declared Caesar a few years earlier, and Fausta and Helena were declared Augustae most likely just the proceeding November. I'm thinking it would not be at all unlikely that those most recently raised to imperial rank get to lead off the imperial 'parade'. And if it can be verified that Crispus was somewhere else July 325, then maybe it was his little half-brother Constantius (II), who was for sure raised to the rank of Caesar in November 324, that lead the Imperial procession.

2001.08.15 11:15
damnatio memoriae, next coins
Thanks all around for the damnatio memoriae answers, especially the Piso example and book reference. This data is indeed useful and helpful. I will soon present my case for Helena having died in Rome something like 31 July 326, just before Constantine left Rome for the last time.
In tandem with making my Helena death case, at the same time I'll have to address the more popular recent histories that place Helena's death date to c.328-9, which is based mostly on the fact that HELENA AUGUSTA coins were still being minted until late 328-9.
Is anyone on the list very familiar with these coins? Or is there a good reference book I could look to? I recall reading (I believe in Pohlsander, Helena: Empress and Saint, 1995) that there is actually a noticeable difference between the portrait of Helena on the later coins (those minted the few years prior to 329) and the Helena portrait on the pre-c.326 coins.

2001.08.16 10:06
First off I have to correct a mistake I made in writing here yesterday. I wrote that I have yet to see a footnote reference regarding the damnatio memoriae of Crispus and Fausta, and that statement is plain wrong. In truth I have seen the footnote, but not recently. Hans Pohlsander provides exactly what I was asking for within the Crispus and Fausta web pages at Pohlsander provides all the dm occurrences within the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum for both imperials: documented are six occurrences of dm for Crispus and one for Fausta, and the one of Fausta's is also one of Crispus'. I looked at all the referenced inscriptions (in CIL) yesterday afternoon. I'm not fluent in Latin to have been able to read everything, but I understand enough to know that there is very good documentation on this specific subject.
I also borrowed Hedrick's History and Silence, which was in the exact same stack area as the CIL. Seeing that Hedrick immediately writes about Piranesi in the book's Preface made the book doubly interesting to me. Yes it is a very good (and quite timely) book. Last night, when I got around to reading chapter four at leisure (I skipped to chapter four, but already read the preface), I found myself understanding exactly what Hedrick was relating, namely that he was very close to describing reenactment. I quickly found that the first footnoote in chapter four references Collingwood and reenactment.
Now on to other wavelengths oscillating here at lt-antiq. Regarding Helena and calendrical coincidences, I no doubt appreciate what Paul Halshall writes. I, in turn, truly wish I had the academic background that makes doing saint cultus research and reading a not so almost impossible (for me) task. Nonetheless, saint cults are not finite sets or a done deal. As far as I'm concerned the Saint Helena cult (for example) is certainly hitting a new high crest.
But, of course, there are many, like Richard Burgess, who have, like Saint Thomas, doubts as strong as convictions. These cases only enforce the reality that history's real job is to understand what did happen, not so much what didn't happen. Hedrick's History and Silence is on this point axiomatic.
Here's an apropos quotation from History and Silence (page 91):
"The history of poltical repression of social and cultural memory in ancient Rome, of the so-called damnatio memoriae, has yet to be written. Even the traditional narrative descriptions of the preocesses by which the state attacked the memory of those deemed public enemies are out of date or incomplete. Vittinghoff's classic book is more than fifty years old and is far from exhaustive. A full account of the damnatio memoriae would be a major project for a mature and accomplished Roman historian."
When reading all that has just been sent to lt-antiq on damnatio memoriae, I sense exactly the project that Hedrick is calling for.

2001.08.18 13:19
damnatio memoriae and palimpsest
In doing further (re)reading of material on Helena and other Neo-Flavians, in Drijvers' Helena Augusta (1992) on p. 49 there is a 'reprint' of inscription CIL X 678. This is the same evidence of damnatio memoriae where we have examples of both the dm of Crispus and Fausta. While there are more extant examples of the dm of Crispus, this is the only extant example of Fausta' dm. As I mentioned the other day, I went to look at all the Crispus and Fausta dms within the CIL at Temple U's library. Since those books are enormous, I only photocopied CIL X 678. There a fair amount of Latin commentary that goes with the inscription, and some of the commentary is (as I found out last night) translated in Drijvers' book.
Not only were the words FAUSTA and UXORI (wife) erased, but they were replaced with HELENAE and MATRI. Thus, not only do we have here an example of damnatio memoriae, but an example of palimpsest as well. Question: is it a fairly common occurrence within other examples of dm for there to be a palimpsest as well, or is this more part of 'rare' damnatio memoriae subset?
Since CIL X 678 is the only extant example of Fausta's dm, I wonder if it might also be of some significance that it is actually a dm plus palimpsest. For example, could it be that Fausta's 'erasure' from memory is integral with Helena's 'inscription' into memory. Of course, on the immediate level, this tight connection appears obvious, but I'm still looking for other aspects and explanations that may enhance the understanding here. To sharpen the focus, I'm aware that there are many examples of palimpsests within inscriptions, so I'm more interested in examples where specific names/persons manifest a damnatio memoriae plus palimpsest combination.
I also read last night in Pohlsander's Helena: Empress And Saint (1995) on p. 151: "The feast of the Invention of the Cross was previously observed in the West on 3 May but was suppressed by Pope John XXIII in 1960." Could this be considered one of the new forms of damnatio memoriae, or is it an example of purging history of what didn't happen? Is there a name for the act of purging history of what didn't happen?

2001.08.28 11:08
Re: Prisca, Eutropia and Valeria
Thank you for supplying the Lactantius source regarding the (textually slim) possibility that Prisca and Valeria were Christian believers during the persecution of 303-305 or in the following years of their lives. While textual evidence is most often the cornerstone of historical veracity, there are also many other factors that relate 'history'. For example, you mention some reasons that may have compelled Eutropia to 'convert' to Christianity by 324 or soon thereafter. A question I ask is: how might Eutropia (and Helena for that matter) have reacted when she learned of the dire fate of Prisca and Valeria? Prisca and Eutropia no doubt knew each other quite well, perhaps just as well as their respective husbands Diocletian and Maximian knew each other. The violent deaths of Prisca and Valeria may well have affected Eutropia greatly. Perhaps this is the reason why she later decided to "embrace the faith of her son-in-law," or perhaps this is one of the factors that further resolved Eutropia's own faith. The point being that either scenario is plausible depending almost only on individual point of view.
As to lack of other textual evidence regarding the possible Christian beliefs of Prisca and Valeria, I am quickly reminded of the recent discussion here on damnatio memoriae and the notion of historical 'silence' as well. Last night I was reading H.W. Bird's Introduction to the Breviarium ab Urbe Condita of Eutropius, and was intrigued to learn that Christianity was virtually not at all mentioned in this abbreviated history of Rome and its rulers, even though the text was dedicated to and written for the Christian Emperor Valens in 369. Did Eutropius omit Christian details because he himself was not a Christian? Having been close to the emperor Julian (the Apostate), however, the rise (and threat) of Christianity to the Hellenic status quo was surely not unknown to Eutropius. The Breviarium of Eutropius is a perfect example of textual history that purposefully omits much of what (really) happened.
[As an aside, last summer (15 August to be exact) I thought of a great title for a book, but alas I wasn't sure what the content would or could be. Given what appears to be my approach toward (writing) history, I think I could now eventually fill a book entitled Learning from Lacunae: a progressive inquiry of the acquisition of knowledge via reflection on what is not there.]
Putting the issue of Prisca and Valeria in the background for a while, the most widely accepted reason that any Imperial of the early 3rd century became an avowed Christian is due largely to augury, specifically Constantine's report that there was a 'sign' in the sky 27 October 312, the night before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. While augury is for the most part considered a Pagan practice, it is nonetheless exactly a type of augury that Constantine professed to base his faith upon. That augury was still very much practiced throughout the Empire in the early 3rd century is well documented, for example, Maxentius went into battle at the Milvian Bridge in confidence against Constantine because 28 October 312 was exactly the sixth anniversary of Maxentius' raise to power (28 October 306). Some historians write that Maxentius' augers foresaw a great victory, but unfortunately it turned out not to be his own.
I have to admit that 'augury' has very much to do with my investigation into the life of Helena. Since 1 April 1999 (Holy Thursday that year, and the fifth anniversary of the death of a close architect/friend of mine; 1 April 1994 was Good Friday) there have been repeated occurrences that I could call 'signs', however, for reasons of objectivity, I choose to first off accurately record the occurrences (e.g., 'calendrical coincidences'), and thus treat the occurrences as their own history. If I am able to write anything with complete veracity, it is the story of how Helena (very unexpectedly) became a part of my life. Is it significant that within the first week of writing EPICENTRAL that Steven Izenour, co-author of Learning from Las Vegas died on 21 August 2001 (the same date as my grandmother's death 13 years ago, and the birthday of my nephew/Godson also 13 years ago)? Or that a Vietnamese nun was brutally attacked early 23 August 2001 while on her way to Mass at St. Helena's Church in Olney, Philadelphia? (The nun was hit on the head with a hammer, but not severely injured, and St. Helena's is the Catholic parish next to my own; I live in (the exact same valley of) St. Ambrose Parish, Philadelphia. And the relationship between Ambrose and Helena certainly hasn't escaped me). The only real significance of all this is that it is indeed all true, which is a whole lot more than can be said of many 'histories'.
Getting back to serious history then, it is interesting to note that Fausta is named within the Breviarium of Eutropius, specifically her disclosure of Maximian's plot against Constantine (Book 10, section 3). Comparatively, the death of Crispus is mentioned (10:6) but only that Constantine "killed his son"--the name of Crispus is omitted. This appears to be a sure sign as to the continuance of the damnatio memoriae of Crispus, but why then is Fausta's name written in the same text if she also suffered damnatio memoriae. Again, is there then a special significance to the 'Helena/Fausta' palimpsest of CIL X 678?

2001.09.06 17:11
various follow-ups
From damnatio memoriae to the Cathedral of Tyre, it feels like a spotted, blurred vision becomes continually clearer. I've even found what I think will be my next late antiquity interest (once there is some Helena closure), and that is to start learning about what (really) happened when the Christian East (paradigm) shifted to Islam.

2001.09.08 09:29
Re: Sarcophagus
I do not have information on the Constantine and Julian sarcophagi(sp?), but two closely related sarcophagi are in the Greek Cross gallery of the Vatican Museum, namely, the sarcophagus of Helena (Constantine's mother) and the sarcophagus of Constantina (Constantine's daughter, and Julian's sister-in-law -- Julian was married to Constantine's youngest daughter Helena). It appears that Helena, Constantina, and Fausta and Crispus comprise at least the few (or only?) members of Constantine's family that were not buried at Constantinople.
Helena was buried at Rome in what is today called the Tor Pignattara. Constantina too was buried at Rome in what is today Santa Costanza. Interestingly, I read a short webpage a couple of years ago that recent excavations and probes at Santa Costanza revealed a slightly earlier structure below Constantina's mausoleum (c. 354, now Santa Costanza). Both Helena's and Constantina's mausoleums were built co-joining original 'Constantinian' Basilicas, St. Pietro et Marcellinus and St. Agnes respectively. Additionally, both basilicas, like all the original Constantinian churches of Rome with the exception of the first (today's St. John Lateran), were built over catacombs or cemeteries. With regard to the new discoveries at Santa Costanza, I wonder if the slightly earlier structure under Santa Costanza might be were Fausta (Constantine's damnatio memoriae[d] wife, and the mother of Constantina) was buried after her suspicious death likely near or at Rome sometime summer 326.
Again, none of the above answers your question directly, but perhaps a comparison of the styles of all the extant sarcophagi of the neo-Flavians might lead to a further confirmation of the origin of the two sarcophagi now at Constantinople. Piranesi's Antichita Romane contains etchings of both Helena's and Constantina's mausoleums and sarcophagi --Taschen 293-296 and Taschen 235-239 respectively.

2001.09.08 16:50
back to the Campo Marzio
Hello John,
I trust you had a wonderful time in Italy, and that you're now back in England. I am very grateful for your sending me your paper on the Campo Marzio and Tafuri. It arrived here right around when you left for Italy, so I didn't email respond at that time. So, again thanks for your effort and kindness.
My work has somewhat shifted since our last email correspondences. Briefly, I'm working heavily on my theories revolving around the role of St. Helena (the mother of Constantine) within the Christian church building boom of the early 4th century. It was actually Piranesi and the Ichnographia Campi Martii that lead me to Helena and Rome's Pagan to Christian paradigm shift in general. I'm writing a lot to the lt-antiq (late antiquity) email list, and receiving much scholarly help and encouragement there.
Anyway, getting back to the two states of the Ichnographia, here are some further thoughts and questions:
1. I believe the first state is the plan as it is NOT published in books today. If you look at the smaller and earlier plans of the Campo Marzio within the plates prior to the Ichnographia, you will see earlier plans of the Circus Flaminius the same as the Circus Flaminus plan within the Univ. of Pennsylvania Ichnographia. Furthermore, the aerial view the circuses within the frontispiece depicting the Bustum Hadrian correspond in plan with the UofP Ichnographia.
2. I think the circus delineations of the second state (which are all virtually identical to each other) are in fact delineations based on the Circus of Maxentius (rather than the Circus Maximus). This is somewhat significant in that (according to my research and interpretation of the Ichnographia as a double narrative relating Rome's "inversion from pagan city to Christian city) Maxentius is exactly the ruler of Rome immediately prior to Constantine's Chistian efforts. (I will soon upload at Quondam a paper I wrote and delivered at Brussels November 1999 on this pagan-Christian inversion issue).
3. via questions I raised at lt-antiq, I'm now quite knowledgable of the practice of damnatio memoriae, and thus I now wonder if Piranesi purposefully 'erased' portions of the Ichnographia as a reenactment of the damnatio memoriae practice, and, like some extant examples of dm inscriptions, if he then purposefully followed up with a palimpsest (of another plan) over the erasure.
4. I realized that I have yet to see an actual print version of the second state of the Ichnographia. All I've ever seen is an actual first state (1761) version. Do you know if you've seen an actual eighteenth cent. print version of the second state? Moreover, did you happen to make a trip to Rome to see which state the actual engraved plates are in? It is the current state of the plates that would surely identify the second state (that is, unless someone long ago altered a reproduction, and it happens to be an altered reproduction that's been printed in books all these years).
5. I also believe that it was indeed Piranesi that made the changes. My main reasoning here is that Piranesi was very likely the only person that could have made the changes with such dexterity.
Let me know if you have any comments on these ideas, or if you've found out anything to enlighten the matter further on your own.
As to Tafuri, I have documented so many cases within the Ichnographia that carry explicit meaning and message on Piranesi's part, that all of Tafuri's theorizing that the Ichnographia is indicative of and/or percursor to the modern meaninglessness of architectural form is plainly and emphatically wrong. What Tafuri obviouly never did, but definitely should have done, is translate all the Latin labels that Piranesi applies to virtually all the plans of the Ichnographia. It is only through reading the labels in tandem with the planimetrics that the full meaning of Piranesi's Campo Marzio comes through. In other words, all your suppositions as to the incorrectness of Tafuri's interpretation of the CM are right on target.
Hope to hear from you soon.
All the best,
Steve Lauf

2001.09.09 13:34
Re: architexturalizing
I suggest anyone interested in damnatio memoriae (a specific type of censorship) read History and Silence, by Charles W. Hedrick, Jr. (2000). Here are some of the chapter titles: "Remembering to Forget"; "Silence, Truth and Death"; "Rehabilitating the Text"; and "Silence and Authority".
In "Remembering to Forget" one learns that damnatio memoriae actually did more to make people remember than it did to make them forget. Officially and literally, the memory was erased, however, the act of erasure itself, like the scar that it is, only reinforces the real reality that once was. Yes, erasures ironically are very full of meaning...

damnatio memoriae - chapter
The damnatio memoriae chapter could essentially contain a crossing-out of those texts that are no longer valid because of my work and interpretations regarding Helena and Piranesi's Ichnographia of Il Campo Marzio.
Clearly demonstrate that (other) texts are different from my texts, and also show why and how the differences are relevant. Sometimes it may well be that both Damnatio memoriae and palimpsest are the operatives.
There are also all the lt-antiq dm letters, and those dms that happened to me personally (mostly at design-l and archipol, and of course lt-antiq itself).

2002.07.31 13:19
laws [of silence] "made"
This week 1676 years ago Rome witnessed the funeral of Helena Augusta. Constantine was in Rome to finish the celebration of his 20th jubilee as Roman emperor on 25 July 326, and Helena was late in arriving from Palestine with a piece of the Cross. Reenactionary indications point to 28 July being the date of Helena's death (very possibly at Naples), and to August 1 being the date of the funeral (a web search of mausoleo elena will show where Helena was buried). Constantine left Rome for the last time on 3 August 326--this is more or less precisely when Rome as capital of the Roman Empire ceased to be, and when Constantinople as capital of the Roman Empire began. And, it is at this time that the law of silence regarding Helena and her finding of the Cross at Golgotha was instituted and immediately enforced. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan during the reign of emperor Theodosius, officially broke the silence on 25 February 395 during his obituary of Theodosius at Milan.
All this may not seem important, but this is first time in modern history for the exact date of Helena's death to be established, thus rendering a rewriting of Constantinian necessary. Ironically, it was Eusebius, the first biographer of Constantine (c. 337) that cleverly recorded the events of Constantine's Vicennalia year in sequence, but modern historiography was led astray because it did not consider the possibility of a law of silence, even though modern historians do nothing but argue over Eusebius' silence.
Unlike damnatio memoriae, which really only more deeply establishes memories via the scars of erasure, the uncanny genius of laws of silence is that the more successful they are, the less history will ever know about them.
If nothing else, it is at least nice to remember the death of the woman who became nothing less than the first real master planner of Christianity and its architectural spread throughout the Middle East and Europe. St. Helena is also the patron saint of miners--Eusebius tells us how Helena freed slave-labor miners as she journeyed from the Middle East on her way back to Rome.
[In 2004, more severe reenactionary implications led to Helena's death having had occurred 25 July 326.]

2003.01.24 15:27
Re: Favorite Artist?
I like exploring limits via (my) art. I seem to have touched upon some of your tolerance. While finding your tolerance is not exactly my objective, I now have more data about limits, especially within this corner of the art world. I could be clever and say "sad little self promotions" is my form of self abjection, and in some ways that's true. But, on the other hand, my self promotion is not so little, and your attention helps to confirm that.
In defense of the links I've posted here, I'd say almost all of them have been fairly specific to the issue being responded to. For example, the issue of car-jackings was brought up and thus I responded with a story I wrote that centered around a car-jacking. Della Francesca was brought up, and I responded with a large portrayal of Helena Augusta, the woman credited with actually finding the True Cross because The Legend of the True Cross is della Francesca's largest work.
Extremes are interesting because they involve both the wholly outer and the wholly inner. All and nothing are both extreme cases.
Finally, besides exploring extremes, I participate in online forums as a (personal) art project. I like TALKBACK because it is so art scene-centric. You should try the late-antiquity list. I took things so far there right after 9-11 that some came to essentially ask that I be damnatio memoriae-ed. I'm rather proud of accomplishing the trek into that territory because damnatio memoriae was a quintessential late-antiquity practice. Mind you, I raised legitimate late antique issues, particularly the dating of Helena Augusta's death and the correct chronological sequence of Eusebius' Vita Constantini Book III, which shook up some otherwise staid thinking.
I favor Piranesi because he treated historiography as art, the same way he treated archaeology as art. What he did came right before the distinct rise of science, and it's separation from 'art'. I want to learn how to do such work again, thus I've been working at reenacting Piranesi for almost 15 years now. Piranesi primarily utilized two mediums, etching/engraving and publishing. I too utilize publishing as a medium, but in conjunction with html.

2003.04.04 13:31
Re: The Last Taboo?
What you inferred early on about the Chapmans' work being like grafitti from the past is uncannily insightful. An aspect of that specific work that perhaps you first saw—I'd like to hear more. What you say about the issue of viewer reaction is also completely worthwhile. I'm with you on that too.
What the Roman emperors did is part of the practice of damnatio memoriae, a particularly ancient Roman political practice, and thier also putting their own head upon what has been erased, manifests palimpsest. Damnatio memoriae plus palimpsest is a somewhat 'rare' set within damnatio memoriae in general. I see damnatio memoriae as again assimilation in the extreme.
Destroying art to create art. Is it really shocking to do something we viscerally do all the time just to live? I thought art was life now-a-days anyway.

2004.01.01 14:16
Re: earthquake in Italy
Yesterday, I began reading 1421: The Year China Discovered America by Gavin Menzies: "In the mid-fifteenth century almost every Chinese map and document of the period was deliberately destroyed by officials of the Chinese court, following an abrupt reversal of its foreign policy. Far from embracing the outside world, after these momentous discoveries China turned in on itself. Anything commemorating its expansionist past was expunged from the record."
How's this for an oxymoron?: "Damnatio memoriae lives on."

2005.03.04 12:01
Re: Versailles, sigh
"Welcome to Suburbobliviopolis" is how "Here a Versailles, There a Versailles, Everywhere a Versailles, Sigh" ends. The point of this virtual conference paper mostly about 'reenactionary architecturism' inversely culminates with an oblivion engendered via erasure (damnatio memoriae) with ultimate palimpsest. As with any good conference paper, you want to see/receive impressions and constructive reactions (so what you wanted to do further is perfect, as are the reactions at archinect). Additionally, your (intended) study evokes a new(?) kind of archaeology--digging through strata of data in cyberspace, no less!

2006.03.30 12:11
Lost ! Need help!!
Physical scars are not always synonymous with healing. For example, youths of Sierra Leone were abducted and scarred by rebels and then forced to fight their own people. Subsequently, these youths were literally marked as enemies of their own people. There is a doctor from Kansas (I think) that is there now removing what scars he can via plastic surgery.
The "scars" of damnatio memoriae are an interesting case where the scars of erasure actually work to help remember what was erased.



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