Hellenism and Empire: Language, Classicism, and Power in the Greek World, AD 50-250

By Simon Swain | Go to book overview

1
Language and Identity

In this first chapter. I want to examine the language consciousness of the Greek elite in the second sophistic period, concentrating on the phenomenon of atticism, its causes, and its meaning. In the next chapter I shall be considering how various individuals encouraged or responded to the pressures of language purism. Here I shall be concerned with the political and social meaning of atticism in general terms. The search for this will involve looking at the development of the so-called koine or 'common' language in the Hellenistic age, at the stylistic classicism and atticism championed by Dionysius of Halicarnassus in Augustan Rome, and at the later combination of this stylistic atticism with the linguistic purism and formalism of the second sophistic. Changes in the Greek language, the political situation of the Greek elite under the High Empire, and the question of their reaction to Rome are other topics to be considered.


THE ORIGINS OF PURISM

Language is one of the most important areas in which cultural groups may adopt definitions for themselves and/or against others. The Greeks had always been highly conscious of their language and the distinctiveness it granted them from non-Greeks whom they called barbaroi. This onomatopoeic term originally signified those whose language was not Greek (cf. 'barbarophone' at Iliad ii. 867), but because of the importance of language in defining cultural behaviour it quickly became (and remained) an evaluative description of non-Hellenic behaviour and attitudes.1 The special place of language in Greek self-definition in the archaic and classical periods is

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1
See e.g. Jüthner 1923; Toynbee 1969; Dubuisson 1982a; Hall 1989: 3 ff. following Baslez 1984: 183-201; RAC Suppl. 1. 5/6 ( 1992), 811-95 ( Speyer and Opelt); ib. 895 ff. ( Schneider).

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Hellenism and Empire: Language, Classicism, and Power in the Greek World, AD 50-250
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vii
  • Contents ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One - Greeks 15
  • 1 - Language and Identity 17
  • 2 - The Practice of Purism 43
  • 3 - Past and Present 65
  • 4 - The Greek Novel and Greek Identity 101
  • Part Two - Greeks and Rome 133
  • 5 - Plutarch 135
  • 6 - Dio of Prusa 187
  • 7 - Arrian and Appian 242
  • 8 - Aristides 254
  • 9 - Lucian 298
  • 10 - Pausanias 330
  • II - Galen 357
  • 12 - Philostratus 380
  • 13 - Cassius Dio 401
  • Conclusion 409
  • APPENDIX A The Dating of the Greek Novels 423
  • APPENDIX B Sosius Senecio's Alleged Eastern Origin 426
  • APPENDIX C The Dating of Dio of Prusa's Rhodian and Alexandrian Orations 428
  • APPENDIX D Galen's On Theriac to Piso 430
  • Bibliography 433
  • Index 475
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