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Rome's Holy MountainThe Capitoline Hill in Late Antiquity$
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Jason Moralee

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190492274

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190492274.001.0001

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The Capitol and the Legends of the Saints

The Capitol and the Legends of the Saints

(p.185) 7 The Capitol and the Legends of the Saints
Rome's Holy Mountain

Jason Moralee

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 examines how dozens of martyr acts composed beginning in the fifth century turned the Capitol into a site of Christian resistance. In these pious fictions, rejection of a fantasy Capitol created a new heritage for the hill. The Capitol was reconstructed out of the “living textuality” of the hill, fragments of inscriptions, and the ubiquitous presence of ruins. Unmoored from the traditional ways of remembering the hill established in the late republic, the Capitol came to play a new role in a distinctly Christian history of a pagan Roman empire. These martyr acts elaborated new ways of knowing the hill and the city of Rome that had almost nothing to do with the classical past. Here, Roman traditions about Christian heroes made the Capitol emblematic of the Roman Empire itself, a symbol of awesome worldly power that could be dramatically neutralized by a battalion of Roman saints.

Keywords:   Prudentius, Damasus, gesta martyrum, martyr, passions, Silvester, Acts of the Greek Martyrs, capitolia, de Rossi, pontifices Capitolii

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