Reinventing 'The Invention of Tradition'?

Indigenous Pasts and the Roman Present

Dietrich Boschung, Alexandra W. Busch, Miguel John Versluys (Hrsg.)

Wilhelm Fink Verlag (Paderborn), 1. Aufl. 2015, 264 Seiten, 45 s/w Abb., Franz. Broschur

Thirty years ago Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger introduced The invention of tradition as a concept to explain the creation and rise of certain traditions in times of profound cultural change. Taking stock of current theoretical understandings and focusing on the Roman world, this volume explores the concept of 'inventing traditions' as a means to understand processes of continuity, change and cultural innovation. The notion has been highly influential among studies concerned with the Greek and Roman eastern Mediterranean. Elsewhere in the Roman world and traditions other than Greek, however, have been neglected. This volume aims to evaluate critically the usefulness of the idea of 'inventing traditions' for the successor culture that was Rome. It focuses on the western part of the Roman Empire, which has been virtually ignored by such studies, and on non-Greek traditions. Why, in the Roman present, were some (indigenous) traditions forgotten while others invented or maintained? Using the past for reasons of legitimation in a highly volatile present is a cultural strategy that (also) characterises our present-day, globalized world. Can 'inventing traditions' be regarded as a common human characteristic occurring throughout world history?