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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Games of Power: Spectacle in the Aztec and Roman Worlds


In a cross-cultural, cross-temporal comparison, Ana Mitrovici juxtaposes the ritual games and spectacles of the Romans and the Aztecs. The display of conquered peoples by imperial powers is commonly examined in the light of post-colonial theories about power struggles and identity. In addition, with a spectacle like those examined here, the deliberate injection of peripheral images into the center of power shows the centers construction of power and self-identity very clearly. Using her comparison to show the functions of spectacle in imperial identity formation, Mitrovici highlights some of the uses of violence and display within a borderlands complex.

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