This lecture will preview a manuscript in progress on the semiotics of the Roman Middle Republic. Inspired in conception and execution by Jurij Lotman and Boris Uspenskij's The Semiotics of Russian Culture, the manuscript scrutinizes those sign systems through which Romans and becoming-Romans of the Middle Republic communicated with each other and with the wider social and naturecultural world. For this lecture, I will focus on two sign systems: (1) divine figural representations (2) human names. Although each of these sign systems privileges particular media for their routing of communications, what I will emphasize through several case studies is the multi- and intermediality of mid-republican Roman culture.
Dan-el Padilla Peralta is Associate Professor of Classics at Princeton University, where he is associated with the Department of African American Studies and affiliated with the Programs in Latino Studies and Latin American Studies and the University Center for Human Values. He is the author of Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League (Penguin 2015) and Divine Institutions: Religions and Community in the Middle Roman Republic (PUP 2020); and he has co-edited Rome, Empire of Plunder: The Dynamics of Cultural Appropriation (CUP 2017). Current projects include a study of 338 BCE and the origins of Roman imperialism (co-authored with Denis Feeney and under contract with HUP), A People’s History of Rome (under contract with PUP), a volume on new approaches to the Middle Roman Republic (co-edited with Seth Bernard and Lisa Mignone), and a manifesto on race and racism in the disciplinary identity of Classics (co-authored with Sasha-Mae Eccleston). He has written for the public-facing Classics journal Eidolon and published pieces for The Guardian, Matter, Vox, the NYT, Fabulist, and diaphanes.