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Open Access The Factory of Illusions in the ‘Third Rome’

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The Factory of Illusions in the ‘Third Rome’

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Circus Maximus as a Space of Fascist Simulation

image of Fascism

Although the site of the ancient Circus Maximus was one of the most loaded spaces of the Fascist ‘Third Rome’, it has received limited attention as a privileged site where a dizzying array of myths and illusions were entertained, simulated, and deposited as new Fascist layers on Rome’s urban and mnemonic palimpsest. Previously a decayed, ‘unsightly’, and overcrowded hodgepodge of layers of life, history, and memory, it was substantially restored, ruthlessly emptied of its previous life, and then used for a multitude of Fascist rituals and projections (parades, celebrations, exhibitions, mass spectacles). In this article, I explore the diverse facets of the circus’s transformation in the 1930s and argue that the site was used as a prime space of enacting and simulating the full thrust of the Fascist regime’s regenerative repertoire, involving erasure and disruption of layers of the past, new additive elements and spatial practices, as well as a multitude of projections of a decidedly modern Fascist new order and temporality.

Affiliations: 1: Department of History, Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom, a.kallis@lancaster.ac.uk

10.1163/22116257-00301002
/content/journals/10.1163/22116257-00301002
dcterms_title,pub_keyword,dcterms_description,pub_author
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Although the site of the ancient Circus Maximus was one of the most loaded spaces of the Fascist ‘Third Rome’, it has received limited attention as a privileged site where a dizzying array of myths and illusions were entertained, simulated, and deposited as new Fascist layers on Rome’s urban and mnemonic palimpsest. Previously a decayed, ‘unsightly’, and overcrowded hodgepodge of layers of life, history, and memory, it was substantially restored, ruthlessly emptied of its previous life, and then used for a multitude of Fascist rituals and projections (parades, celebrations, exhibitions, mass spectacles). In this article, I explore the diverse facets of the circus’s transformation in the 1930s and argue that the site was used as a prime space of enacting and simulating the full thrust of the Fascist regime’s regenerative repertoire, involving erasure and disruption of layers of the past, new additive elements and spatial practices, as well as a multitude of projections of a decidedly modern Fascist new order and temporality.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22116257-00301002
2014-04-12
2016-12-11

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