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damnatio memoriae

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Over on The Hill, Patrick Byrne offers the following:

Americans channel ancient Rome in condemning Confederate statues

After an unpopular leader died, the Romans were known to vandalize the leader’s monuments, likenesses or even property. The practice occurred so often that historians came up with a name for it: damnatio memoriae. Translated literally, it means “condemnation of memory/legacy.”

Interesting grounds for coining a new concept (at the time.)


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Toward the end of the article the author puts forth " As a society we should erect monuments that reflect the ideals we wish to venerate. The federal government should therefore erect a new monument to commemorate . . . like the Vietnam War Memorial." contrary to Ayn Rand's assessment in The Monument Builders.

[A] delusion of grandeur can be served only by the switching, undefinable chimera of a public monument—which is presented as a munificent gift to the victims whose forced labor or extorted money had paid for it—which is dedicated to the service of all and none, owned by all and none, gaped at by all and enjoyed by none.

Well, Miss Rand, when you put it that way . . .

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