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Imperial Identities in the Roman World (Hardcover) (Arjan Zuiderhoek & Wouter Vanacker)

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In recent years, the debate on ‘Romanisation’ has often been framed in terms of identity, that is, how the expansion of empire impacted on the constructed or self-ascribed sense of belonging of its inhabitants. Research has often focused on the interaction between local identities and Roman ideology and practices, leading to the notion of a multicultural empire but this volume challenges this perspective by drawing attention to the processes of identity formation that contributed to an ‘imperial identity’, a sense of belonging to the political structures of the empire. Instead of concentrating on politics and imperial administration, the volume studies the manifold ways in which people were engaged in producing, consuming, organising, believing and worshipping that fitted the (changing) realities of empire, focusing on how individuals and groups tried to do things ‘the right way’, the Greco-Roman imperial way. Given the deep cultural entrenchment of ritualistic practices, an imperial identity firmly grounded in such practices might well have been instrumental not just to the long-lasting stability of the Roman imperial order but also to the persistency of its ideals well into Christian late antiquity and post-Roman times.

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