Antropologicheskij forum, 2021, no. 49


A Review of MARION KRUSE, THE POLITICS OF ROMAN MEMORY: FROM THE FALL OF THE WESTERN EMPIRE TO THE AGE OF JUSTINIAN. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019, 304 pp.

Yana Bespalchikova

European University at St Petersburg
6/1A Gagarinskaya Str., St Petersburg, Russia

Abstract: The monograph by M. W. Kruse—professor of Classics at the University of Cincinnati—investigates the difficulties of building a new historical memory and identity in the late Roman Empire at the end of the 5th—first half of the 6th century. At that time, the emperors did not actually control Italy and Rome, a previous center and origin of imperial statehood. The study is based on an analysis of the texts of the most influential authors of this period, in particular historians of the era of the emperor Justinian, as well as the narrative of his own laws—Novellae of the Corpus Juris Civilis. The monograph represents Kruse’s substantially reworked PhD dissertation on classical philology. In his study, Kruse makes a successful attempt at a large-scale revision of the current concept of modern science about the indifference of contemporaries to the events of 476 in Italy and argues that the assessment of these events as the fall of the Western Roman Empire and a momentous event is only a construct of historical science of the 19th century, originating from the works of E. Gibbon.

Keywords: Late Roman Empire, memory studies, cultural identity, Justinian.

To cite: Bespalchikova Ya., ‘A Review of Marion Kruse, The Politics of Roman Memory: From the Fall of the Western Empire to the Age of Justinian. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019, 304 pp.’, Antropologicheskij forum, 2021, no. 49, pp. 233–240.

doi: 10.31250/1815-8870-2021-17-49-233-240