By Michæl Dietler
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Additional resources for Archaeologies of Colonialism: Consumption, Entanglement, and Violence in Ancient Mediterranean France
From Bismark to Gladstone, Napoléon III, and the graduates of the École Coloniale, they shared an exclusive common bond of tastes, values, and implicit cultural references lodged in esoteric access to an idolized and idealized ancient culture. 29 32 • ARCHAEOLOGIES OF COLONIALISM This classical training and taste constituted a far more exclusive point of transnational elite commonalty than, for example, Christian religious beliefs and familiarity with the Bible (something that was shared with the lower classes).
But the specific manifestations of the ideological relationship between ancient and modern colonialisms were both varied and pervasive. Initially, from the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries, Rome was the nearly exclusive source of imperial models. As Anthony Pagden has noted: It was, above all, Rome which provided the ideologues of the colonial systems of Spain, Britain and France with the language and political models they required, for the Imperium romanum has always had a unique place in the political imagination of western Europe.
37 However, this Roman legacy, known mostly through the ancient texts of writers, the remnants of its monuments, and, eventually, the remnants of its material culture provided by archaeologists for the museums of the imperial capitols of Europe, was interpreted in an astonishing variety of ways. For example, Patricia Seed has convincingly demonstrated that, from the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries, the major European colonial powers all explicitly based their “ceremonies of possession” in the New World, by which they claimed sovereignty over land and peoples, on their understandings of ancient Roman practices.
Archaeologies of Colonialism: Consumption, Entanglement, and Violence in Ancient Mediterranean France by Michæl Dietler