Donatello Aramini

The myth of romanity and roman-national racism. The laws of 1938 and the Institute of Roman studies

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The question of the persecution of Jews by fascism has been at the centre of historiographical debate for years now. This paper focuses on the reaction and interpretation that one of Italy’s main cultural institutes between the two world wars gave to Italian fascism. The Institute of Roman Studies, which counted leading Italian scholars among its collaborators, quickly welcomed the new fascist line and associated it with the tradition and myth of Rome. The paper demonstrates how in its policies an idea of race took shape and came very close to the Roman-national racism of Nicola Pende and Giacomo Acerbo. The aim was to shape a «respectable» vision capable of finding an ideological synthesis that could dialogue with the Holy See and impose a form of racism that would no longer be moderate but less aligned with the German model. Accordingly, the paper demonstrates how the Institute of Roman Studies was both a place where diverse tensions were present, inherent in mass politics, produced by the consecration of politics and by the ideologisation of religion


  • Institute of Roman Studies
  • Fascism
  • Racial laws
  • Persecution of Jews
  • Myth of romanity


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