Museum Home Research and Conservation Cultural Memories in the Roman Empire

Date: Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20, 2013
Time: Friday, 9:45 a.m.–5:45 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Reception follows each day.
Location: Getty Villa, Auditorium

Historical scholarship centers on determining what actually happened and why. Studies of historical, social, and cultural memory have a complementary emphasis: they focus on what people, and especially groups of people, remember, how these memories evolve, and how they shape identities. Ancient Rome was a memory culture par excellence and memory pervades all aspects of Roman culture: literature (including historiography), art, architecture, religion, and social and political history. Certainly by the time of the empire, such memories were pluralistic.

This two-day international conference presented at the Getty Villa addresses how memories evolved and functioned dynamically throughout the Roman Empire and explores both indigenous traditions and memories that persisted, were revived, or even invented. Topics include religious practices, the legacy of Troy, travel through the Empire, and early Christian cult sites.


  • Susan Alcock, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Francesco de Angelis, Columbia University, New York
  • Diane Favro, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Karl Galinsky, University of Texas, Austin
  • Alicia Jimenez, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
  • Zena Kamash, Oxford University, United Kingdom
  • Rachel Kousser, City University of New York
  • Kenneth Lapatin, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Carlos Norena, Unviersity of California, Berkeley
  • Daniel Richter, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • Felipe Rojas, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Brian Rose, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • Nicola Terrenato, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • John Weisweiler, University of Chicago, Illinois/University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • Tim Whitmarsh, Oxford University, United Kingdom
  • Greg Woolf, University of St. Andrews, Scotland
  • Ann Marie Yasin, University of Southern California, Los Angeles


Downloadable schedule (PDF, 2pp, 36 KB)

Please email any questions to

This conference is presented in collaboration with Dr. Karl Galinsky, Cailloux Centennial Professor of Classics and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Prof. Galinsky's research project "Memoria Romana: Memory in Roman Civilization" was initiated in 2009 with the award of a Max-Planck Prize for International Cooperation in the Humanities on the subject history and memory. The project is based at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany.

Susan Alcock

Related Event

Kaleidoscopes and Memory in the Roman Empire
(public lecture)
Date: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Getty Villa, Auditorium

Kaleidoscopes, with their moving fragments, mirrors, and varied colors that produce constantly shifting patterns, provide an apt metaphor for the creation and understanding of memories. Archaeologist Susan Alcock of Brown University uses this framework to consider the distribution of memory in the Empire, including initial possession, sharing, circulation, division, and dissemination, and presents three case studies to demonstrate the prismatic effects of these processes.

Planning your visit for the lecture
The main gate at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway opens to ticketed guests at 6:00 p.m. The auditorium opens at 7:00 p.m., and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests arriving late will be seated at the discretion of Getty staff. The galleries and Getty Store will be open before and after the lecture. A selection of light "grab 'n go" dinner fare as well as beer and wine are available for purchase at the Café until 7:30 p.m. Complimentary refreshments will be served following the lecture.

How to Get to the Getty Villa
The Getty Villa is located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, California, approximately 25 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for directions and parking information.

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