Ancient Rome and Modern America

A Comparative Study of Morals and Manners
Malamud, Margaret
Date published: 
October 2008

The idea of Rome as the virtuous Republic undermined by imperial corruption haunts the American imagination. In fact, Roman antiquity is arguably the most abiding cultural companion of the United States. Ever since the Revolutionary era, images and narratives of Rome have played a central role in shaping America’s perception of itself. Ancient Rome and Modern America explores charged moments in United States history when ancient Rome has been appropriated by disparate groups in order to debate the state of the nation and address internal tensions and anxieties. It shows how portrayals of Rome have been used by various classes and interest groups both to articulate and to contest political and cultural identities. The malleability of tradition and the remarkable continuity of Rome in the American imagination emerge powerfully under Malamud’s lens. In this book, we learn as much about America’s 'forgotten' history as we do about Rome. This text will appeal to readers interested in alternative views on US history, as well as to those interested in the uses of ancient Rome today.