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

By Simon Swain | Go to book overview

Introduction

This book is concerned with Greek culture and society between AD 50 and 250, the period known to us from the biographer and sophist Philostratus as the 'second sophistic'.1 My aim is twofold. First, I want to explore the identity of the Greeks of this time with respect to their ancestors, the 'ancient Greeks', who were the source of their moral and political authority. The focus will be on the male Greek elite, that is, the restricted group in control of economy, culture, and government whose activities and beliefs are reasonably well known to us, and on the world of Old Greece and Asia Minor, where the culture in which I am interested was best represented and where populations most clearly expressed their relationship with the Greece of the classical or mythological age. In the second part of the book I want to consider from the standpoint of Greek culture how the leading Greek intellectuals of the second sophistic viewed Rome and Roman power in Greece and the Greek world.

Periodization is naturally problematic. It too often reflects examination syllabuses rather than real cultural or political boundaries. However, the world of the Greek elite in the second sophistic age is distinctive. In political terms it benefited particularly from the prosperity and stability of the High Roman Empire and from its largely philhellene emperors. The political ambitions of the elite were channelled through symbolic gifts of property and money to the Greek cities (the practice known as benefaction or 'euergetism'), and the cities were equally responsive to their notables' desire for status and recognition. As with other elements of the second

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1
Lives of the Sophists (henceforth VS = Vitae Sophistarum), 481. It is called 'second' sophistic to distinguish it from the 'first' sophistic of the 5th c. BC. Philostratus' Lives are dedicated to Antonius Gordianus as proconsul ( VS480 anthupatos; hupatos at 479 is here the equivalent of hupatikos, 'consular; cf. Mason 1974: 167), who is probably the elder Gordian, proconsul of Africa in 237-8 (so Avotins 1978a; cf Rothe 1989: 5-6). On Philostratus' own use of the phrase see below.

-1-

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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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