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Damnatio Memoriae: Why Mobs Pull Down Statues

Freedberg, David A.

For hours the TV cameras played on the efforts to topple the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad's Al-Fardos ("Paradise") Square last week, and we all watched, fascinated. It seemed an epochal event. What is it about a dead and really poor statue -- a boring one indeed -- that rouses such personal antipathy? And why did we who were not there stay so gripped throughout the whole business?


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Art History and Archaeology
Published Here
April 8, 2010


Published in the Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2003. This essay is available in "Iconoclasm" by David A. Freedberg, The University of Chicago Press, Fall 2020.