, , , , ,

Recently, writing my paper for ASCS 34 this January I was confronted with the question How much did the average Roman citizen know about their own history?

Walking along, say a major road built 200 years before, would an average Roman citizen of the late Republic and early Empire have known about the person who built the road? Would they know who Flaminius was? His name was on the main road north out of Rome and all the up through Italy to Ariminum (the borderland of Roman territory when he built it in 220 B.C.). Augustus personally undertook its restoration, strategically it was an important road. But its builder died in a famous battle (Trasimene) only a few years thereafter. What sort of education was necessary before they would know? Obviously Cicero and Varro knew who he was but these are men famed for being knowledgeable and erudite. What about your average citizen?

I find this question is almost unanswerable. Does anyone have an opinion?