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The Ruins of the Conquered: Josephus’s Jewish War and Pausanias’s Periegesis

The Ruins of the Conquered: Josephus’s Jewish War and Pausanias’s Periegesis

Chapter:
(p.87) Four The Ruins of the Conquered: Josephus’s Jewish War and Pausanias’s Periegesis
Source:
The Conquest of Ruins
Author(s):
Julia Hell
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226588223.003.0005

This chapter begins with a restatement of the author’s revisionist account of the Romans’ concept of the ruins of empire and of rubble, that is, the meaning they attributed to the ruinae that their conquests left behind. This involves an intervention in the field of ruin studies and a critical engagement with the work of Denis Diderot, Rose Macaulay, and Michel Makarius. The author then reads Josephus’s Jewish War and Pausanias’s Periegesis Hellados. These texts redefine the meaningless rubble of the conquered as the sacred and beautiful ruins of the defeated. While evoking Polybios’s law of ruin and the Book of Daniel, Josephus affirms the Roman Empire’s enduring power. Pausanias’s text turns Arcadia into the site of beautiful postcolonial ruins. In his description of Roman Megalopolis, Pausanius restages the Polybian scenario as a critique of the Romans’ myth of their benevolent empire. In the Periegesis, the Roman barbarians are here to stay.

Keywords:   Josephus, The Jewish War, Pausanias, Periegesis Hellados, Temple as ruin, Megalopolis, Claude Lorrain, Greek ruins, Roman triumph

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