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The factory of illusions in the ‘Third Rome’: Circus Maximus as a space of fascist simulation

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/04/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Fascism
Issue number1
Volume3
Number of pages26
Pages (from-to)20-45
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

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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This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC-BY-NC 3.0) License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/