Spectacular Latin: The Role of the Latin Language in Political Spectacles under Italian Fascism

Han Lamers*, Bettina Reitz-Joosse*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article explores the role of the Latin language in the context of political performance and spectacle under Italian Fascism. We investigate the different ways in which Latin words, phrases, and texts are used as visual and symbolic elements of Fascist performances and how they are staged in contemporary media coverage. Specifically, this article focuses on three case studies: first, human mosaics of the word dvx; second, the use of a tapestry bearing a Latin motto in the context the fourteenth anniversary of Fascism; and finally, the role of a Latin foundation deposit in an inauguration ceremony for building works at the Esposizione Universale di Roma. Two main arguments connect the three case studies. First, we argue that the Latin language does not simply gesture towards Roman antiquity, but that it is used to evoke several different pasts at the same time. Second, we show that the Latin language has a range of affordances for diverse audiences, which are tied closely to the visuality, materiality, and symbolism of Latin during the ventennio fascista.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278–304
Number of pages27
JournalFascism: Journal of Comparative Fascist Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2023

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