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Imperial Ideology and Provincial Loyalty in the Roman Empire

By Clifford Ando | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
The Roman Achievement
in Ancient Thought

In October 417, Rutilius Namatianus left Rome for his ancestral hall: the fields of Gaul summoned home their native son.1 He bid a tearful farewell to the city, the fairest queen of her world, and for the sin of his departure he offered in atonement a speech of praise: “You have made from distinct and separate nations a single fatherland: it has benefited those who knew not laws, to be captured by your conquering sway; and by giving to the conquered a share in your law, you have made a city of what was once a world. 2 Rutilius gauged Rome's achievement looking back over four centuries of imperial history. From the opposite perspective Vergil expressed a very similar conception of Rome's propriae artes: “Remember, Roman, to rule the nations with your dominion—these will be your arts—to crown peace with rule of law, to spare the defeated, and to conquer the proud. 3 In uttering

____________________
1
Red. 1.20: indigenamque suum Gallica rura vocant. For the date, see A. D. E. Cameron 1967, expanding upon Courcelle 1964, 104–111.
2
Red. 1.63–66: fecisti patriam diversis gentibus unam: / profuit iniustis te dominante capi; / dumque offers victis proprii consortia iuris, / urbem fecisti quod prius orbis erat. Cf. Claudian Cons. Stil. 3.130–181, esp. 150–159 (quoted below at n. 73). On Rome as urbs domina or domina rerum, see Gernentz 1918, 125–127, to whose catalogue should be added Prudentius Symm. 1.427– 432; Eusebius Triak. 9.8; Expositio totius mundi 54 (Campania et ipsa sibi sufficiens et cellarium regnanti Romae); and I. Cret. IV 316, honoring Praetextatus as. See also A. Alföldi 1947, J. Toynbee 1947 and 1953, and cf. Christ 1938 and Georgacas 1947.
3
Aeneid 6.851–853. To this passage compare Cicero Tusc. 1.1.2, on which see n. 25 below, and Pomponius Mela 1.41 (Orae sic habitantur ad nostrum maxime ritum moratis cultoribus, nisi quod quidam linguis differunt et cultu deum quos patrios servant ac patrio more venerantur) and 65. Vergil's language found many imitators, among whom see esp. Prudentius Symm. 1.455–457, lamenting that Rome, quae domitis leges ac iura dedisti gentibus, instituens, magnus qua tenditur orbis, armorum morumque feros mansuescere ritus, should cling to barbarous superstition.

-49-

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