Rome, the Greek World, and the East - Vol. 1

Rome, the Greek World, and the East - Vol. 1

Rome, the Greek World, and the East - Vol. 1

Rome, the Greek World, and the East - Vol. 1

Synopsis

Fergus Millar is one of the most influential contemporary historians of the ancient world. His essays and books, including "The Emperor in the Roman World and "The Roman Near East, have enriched our understanding of the Greco-Roman world in fundamental ways. In his writings Millar has made the inhabitants of the Roman Empire central to our conception of how the empire functioned. He also has shown how and why Rabbinic Judaism, Christianity, and Islam evolved from within the wider cultural context of the Greco-Roman world.

Opening this collection of sixteen essays is a new contribution by Millar in which he defends the continuing significance of the study of Classics and argues for expanding the definition of what constitutes that field. In this volume he also questions the dominant scholarly interpretation of politics in the Roman Republic, arguing that the Roman people, not the Senate, were the sovereign power in Republican Rome. In so doing he sheds new light on the establishment of anew regime,by the first Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus.

Excerpt

Fergus Millar, Camden Professor of Ancient History in the University of Oxford, is one of the most influential ancient historians of the twentieth century. Since the publication of A Study of Cassius Dio by Oxford University Press in 1964, Millar has published eight books, including two monumental studies, The Emperor in the Roman World (Duckworth, 1977) and The Roman Near East, 31 B.C.–A.D. 337 (Harvard, 1993). These books have transformed the study of ancient history.

In his study of the role of the emperor in the Roman world Millar argued that the reign of Augustus inaugurated almost three centuries of relatively passive and inert government, in which the central power pursued few policies and was largely content to respond to pressures and demands from below. After more than twenty years of scholarly reaction, The Emperor in the Roman World is now the dominant scholarly model of how the Roman Empire worked in practice.

Reviewers immediately hailed Millar's magisterial study of the Roman Near East as a “grand book on a grand topic” (TLS, 15 April 1994). In this grand book, displaying an unrivaled mastery of ancient literary, epigraphical, papyrological, and archaeological sources in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic, and other Semitic languages, Millar made the indigenous peoples of the Roman Near East, especially the Jews, central to our understanding of how and why the three great religions of the book, Rabbinic Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, evolved in a cultural context that was neither “eastern” nor “western.” There can be no doubt that The Roman Near East 31 B.C.–A.D. 337 will be the standard work on the subject for a long time to come.

More recently, Millar has challenged widely held notions about the supposed oligarchic political character of the Roman Republic in The Crowd in Rome in the Late Republic (Michigan, 1998). In the future, Millar intends to return to the Roman Near East for another large-scale study, to be entitled Society and Religion in the Roman Near East from Constantine to Mahomet. In this . . .

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