Cultural Common Ground in the Roman Empire (31 BCE-200 CE)

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The work of the anchoring innovation group of linguists (WP 1) and scholars of literature and the arts (WP 2) was crucial for creating common ground in the first phase of the whole anchoring innovation program, in two ways: first of all, by showing the relevance of the concept of ‘anchoring in the common ground’, i.e. in shared knowledge, in all communicative processes. And secondly, by turning ‘common ground’ into common ground for the whole team, as a crucial component of our joint conceptual tool kit.

This WP continues the work of WPs 1 and 2 and is the natural gathering ground for all our linguists. But at the same time it expands its purview to explore how the notion of cultural common ground (as opposed to personal common ground) can help explain different aspects of the coming-into-being of the Roman empire. The overarching issue for this WP, then, is precisely the role of cultural common ground as an anchor for self-understanding and identity-formation.

Research Questions

This WP turns its attention to imperial Rome, and studies the cultural common ground of empire in four contexts:

- (Literary) style as cultural common ground, asking how the perception of stylistic innovation is cognitively anchored. Two case studies will study imperial epic and historiography.
-the cultural common ground for developments in the language of emotion; we study this in connection with gender as a follow-up on the gender projects from WP4.
-the cultural common ground in which the development of new philosophical schools is anchored.
-the cultural common ground in which technological innovations are anchored.
-the cultural common ground used and created from Augustus onwards, as the basis of political empire.