Epistemicide: the Roman Case





Epistemicide, Roman Republic and Empire, postcolonial, indigeneity, slavery, Mediterranean, extractivism, ecology.


The desire to recover and preserve the antiquity that in some circles is designated as “classical” is rooted in the conviction that knowledge of that antiquity is a good. But does (or should) awareness of the epistemicides that define Greco-Roman antiquity modify the texture of that desire? Relying on the definition of epistemicide proposed by the postcolonial theorist Boaventura de Sousa Santos, this article argues that the Roman Republic and Empire engineered a staggering loss of epistemic diversity throughout the ancient Mediterranean, traceable along multiple vectors — from mass enslavement to ecological upheaval. It concludes with a summons to come to terms with the scope of ancient Rome’s epistemicide, and to embrace the epistemological and ethical recalibration needed to write its history.


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Biografia do Autor

  • Dan-el Padilla Peralta, Princeton University

    Assistant Professor of Classics at Princeton University, he is affiliated with the Programs in Latino Studies and Latin American Studies and the University Center for Human Values. He has co-edited a volume on appropriation in Roman culture for Cambridge University Press: Rome, empire of plunder: the dynamics of cultural appropriation (2017). His core research focus is the Roman Republic and early Empire. His 2015 memoir Undocumented: a Dominican boy's odyssey from a homeless shelter to Ivy League (Penguin Press) received an Alex Award from the American Library Association. In 2020 he published his Divine Institutions – Religions and Community in the Middle Roman Republic (Princeton University Press).



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Como Citar

Peralta, D.- el P. (2020). Epistemicide: the Roman Case. Classica - Revista Brasileira De Estudos Clássicos, 33(2), 151-186. https://doi.org/10.24277/classica.v33i2.934