Damnatio memoriae

ancient Roman punishment by removing a person's name, depictions, and reference to them from official records, up to rewritings of histories

Damnatio memoriae is a Latin practice or phrase that means "condemnation of memory". It means that a person's existence should be cut out of history. In practice it meant removing the name from official records and monuments. However, because information about the person was usually also found in other places, like letters and scrolls, historians today can usually still learn about the person.

Portrait of the Severan family, with portraits of Septimius Severus, Julia Domna, and their sons Caracalla and Geta. The face of one of Severus' and Julia's sons has been erased; it may be Geta's, as a result of the damnatio memoriae ordered by his brother Caracalla after Geta's death.