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Cultures of CommemorationWar Memorials, Ancient and Modern$
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Polly Low, Graham Oliver, and P.J. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264669

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264669.001.0001

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Two Neoclassical Monuments in Modern France: The Panthéon and Arc de Triomphe

Two Neoclassical Monuments in Modern France: The Panthéon and Arc de Triomphe

(p.89) 5 Two Neoclassical Monuments in Modern France: The Panthéon and Arc de Triomphe
Cultures of Commemoration


British Academy

The Panthéon and Arc de Triomphe are two neoclassical Parisian monuments that were created in the second half of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century, respectively, and which have ever since been main sites of French official memory. However, they never had the same share of the stage: when one was prominent, the other was marginal, and vice versa. This chapter delineates the parallel histories of these monuments and analyses the relationship between them, from the French Revolution to the Fifth Republic. Although they are usually ascribed to different political camps – the Pantheon to the left and the Arc de Triomphe to the right – a close reading of the context of various commemorative acts that were performed inside and around these monuments shows that their identity was more complex.

Keywords:   Panthéon, Arc de Triomphe, French Revolution, Paris, commemorative rituals, state ceremonies

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