"[T]his important book, whose open-minded approach eschews glib labels and thus gives plenty of space for the imaginative interpretations essential to the theme, is relevant for cultural and political history...[Alcock] writes with confidence and authority to suggest new and diverse ways to approach what was surely an important part of the ancient world." Bryn Mawr Classical Review
"Alcock challenges us to see that people meander and move through a world populated with buildings and texts that speak, in a way, to one another, and to the pedestrians wandering among them. Don't forget to listen for the rhetoric of the landscape within the city and the rhetoric of the city within the empire. Alcock encourages us to put our ear to the very rocky ground, listening for what are considered usable memories, pasts convenient for present appropriation." - Laura Nasrallah, Harvard Divinity School
Social, or collective, memory has recently become a much debated subject, both in academic disciplines and in the popular media. People in antiquity surely possessed similar shared memories, but - except for the limited accounts of elite authors--they are notoriously difficult to recover. This book explores how material culture, in particular the evidence of landscape and of monuments, can reveal commemorative practices and collective amnesias in past societies. Three case studies are considered: Greece in the early Roman period, Hellenistic and Roman Crete, and Messenia from Archaic to Hellenistic times.