From the “long” 2nd century (roughly 80 to 220 CE), evidence, mostly epigraphical, for ephebes survives from at least 25 cities in Roman Achaea. Although for the most part extremely scanty, this material still makes it possible to discern some aspects of how the elites of various cities constructed and exploited their pasts in the wider Roman Empire, in one case to great effect. Making use of cultural memory theory, I intend to show, by means of three case studies – Athens, Messene, and Sparta – how ephebates reflected and affirmed civic social memory through displays by ephebes at festivals and competitions, and even by their actual institutional structures. Each city interacted with and remembered its past in a way unique to itself. The focus of these efforts was not to conserve or construct a memory of a city’s Classical past alone, even at Athens. Instead, not only myth but also historical periods of particular significance for the city were mined to forge the links with the past vital for inculcating a sense of civic identity in the youths and in other groups and individuals.