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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

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Publication details for Professor Richard Hingley

Hingley, Richard (2014). Postcolonial and global Rome: the genealogies of empire [Introduction, Part I.2]. In Globalisation and the Roman World: World History, Connectivity and Material Culture. Pitts, M. & Versluys, M.-J. Cambridge University Press. 32-46.

Author(s) from Durham


This chapter reflects upon how contemporary scholarship in Roman studies relates to the politics of our world. Classical concepts of order, security and civilisation are deeply embedded within political understandings of the present. The Roman empire makes sense to us, in part, because our society sees contemporary values and aims embodied in the evidence from the classical past. This reflects the two-way relationship between classical times and the present. Our comprehensions of order, logic and justice are bound up with an inherited body of knowledge, much of which ultimately derives from the classical societies of Greece and Rome. We transform and develop these ideas, but we also build on them in the changing interpretations of the Roman empire that are created within archaeology and ancient history. Whatever academics may think about the strengths and weaknesses of globalisation theory, many of the concepts on which it draws have become common currency within the media and society in general. People in the Western world draw upon these ideas just as directly as their ancestors drew upon colonial concepts. This is why we cannot ignore globalisation when we explore the culture of imperial Rome.