Remembering and restoring the republic: Star Wars and Rome

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Charles, MB 2015, 'Remembering and restoring the republic: Star Wars and Rome', Classical World, vol. 108, no. 2, pp. 281-298.

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This essay argues that one of modern Western culture’s most-watched film series, the Star Wars double trilogy, derives much of its meaning by tapping into the age-old discourse of political freedom versus dictatorial oppression, which is at the core of early imperial reimaginings of the Roman Republic. Yet George Lucas’s films reveal that the longed-for era of freedom was hardly that at all, just as the era of libertas longed for in the Roman Principate was similarly illusory, particularly for lower echelons of Roman society.