The pompa circensis, the procession which preceded the chariot races in the arena, was both a prominent political pageant and a hallowed religious ritual. Traversing a landscape of memory, the procession wove together spaces and institutions, monuments and performers, gods and humans into an image of the city, whose contours shifted as Rome changed. In the late Republic, the parade produced an image of Rome as the senate and the people with their gods - a deeply traditional symbol of the city which was transformed during the empire when an imperial image was built on top of the republican one. In late antiquity, the procession fashioned a multiplicity of Romes: imperial, traditional, and Christian. In this book, Jacob A. Latham explores the webs of symbolic meanings in the play between performance and itinerary, tracing the transformations of the circus procession from the late Republic to late antiquity.
Jacob A. Latham is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Tennessee. He has also taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the University of California, Los Angeles, and Pomona College, California. He is a historian of the religions of Rome, whose research explores the intersections of religious practice, civic life, and identity in the ancient Mediterranean world. He was awarded the 2005-6 Arthur Ross Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize Fellowship by the American Academy in Rome and the 2014 Best First Article Award by the North American Patristics Society. His work has appeared in Church History, History of Religions, the Journal of Religion, and Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome and a number of edited volumes.