The name of the formal dedicator. “One powerful tradition, for example, insisted that the great Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill, a building that came to be a major symbol of Roman power and was later replicated in many Roman cities abroad, was dedicated in the very first year of the new regime. True, it had been vowed and, so it was often said, largely built under the kings, by Etruscan craftsmen; but the name of the formal dedicator blazoned across its façade was that of one of the leaders of the new Republic.” How to understand "but the name of the formal dedicator blazoned across its façade was that of one of the leaders of the new Republic.”. Does it refer to that formal dedicator also is the leader of the new Republic.
Apr 23, 2016 11:59 AM
Answers · 6
Mark, more context would be helpful. Are you looking at a new replica or are you looking at a heritage building? Which building in which city is it? The writing was done in which period? The obvious sense, however, is that it is a political comment: whoever is in power would have his name emblazoned on the city's monument(s), regardless of historical truth and accuracy, and regardless of who actually built and dedicated the building(s) in the first place. It is true in political life as in corporate life, true for monuments as for policies, strategies and results. Today's power prevails over yesterday's. That is the way to read it.
April 23, 2016
(For other answers: a Google search informs me that passage is a quotation from a 2015 book, "SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome," by Mary Beard).
April 23, 2016
The meaning of the sentence is that "the façade named a leader of the new Republic as the dedicator." From Wikipedia I learn that the dedicator was a politician named Quintus Lutatius Catulus. According to the façade, Catulus gave the temple to Jupiter. That implies that the temple, in some sense, belonged to Catulus. The context suggests that the writer does not think this is a fair assessment. Some kind of temple had been there for centuries, and it had been repeatedly worked on and rebuilt. Catulus was was there when it was finished and took the credit. To give a modern parallel, the New York Philharmonic performs in a building in Lincoln Center that was built in 1962 and called "Philharmonic Hall." It has constantly had problems with acoustics and has been repeatedly rebuilt and remodeled, often in hope of improving the acoustics. A philanthropist named Avery Fisher made a large donation and in his honor it was renamed "Avery Fisher Hall." In 2014, in order to raise money, the orchestra removed Fisher's name and sold the naming rights to the highest bidder, and accordingly it is now called "David Geffen Hall." The name thus reflects the name of someone rich and powerful who really had nothing to do with the building of the hall.
April 23, 2016
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