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

By Simon Swain | Go to book overview

2
The Practice of Purism

INTRODUCTION

I want now to turn to some practical effects of the atticizing movement and to explore how key individuals reacted to it or promoted it.1

I have already noted that atticism looked to a mythically pure standard. There was an inherent instability because exact reproduction of classical Attic was an unattainable ideal. Just as no one could ever agree as to what precisely constituted katharevousa or demotic in modern times,2 so in the second sophistic the rhetorical- grammatical academy could never establish exactly how or how far the style of Xenophon or the vocabulary of the orators might and should be isolated and made one's own. The result was an everincreasing amount of advice and competition between the experts as to who prescribed and who followed the rules best, a contentiousness brilliantly captured by Philostratus in his Lives of the Sophists. Philostratus' association of prestige in atticizing culture and high political and civic status, often involving contacts with the Roman elite, is easily confirmed.3 But rather than looking at obvious atticists like Philostratus or Aelius Aristides or retelling Philostratus' entertaining anecdotes about the activities of the sophistic stars, I want to focus here on three types of intellectual who offer contrasting perspectives on language status. First I shall consider Favorinus and Lucian, both of whom make a play of coming from non-Greek backgrounds (respectively Arelate in the province

____________________
1
Cf. recently Anderson 1993: 86-100, esp. Schmitz 1997: 67-96.
2
See Mirambel 1937 for an interesting analysis of the scale of the modern problem between the Wars.
3
Bowersock 1969 remains the most important study of this; see also Bowie 1982; Rothe 1989; Swain 1991a; Flinterman 1993: 31-55. On Philostratus' own atticism see Schmid 1887-97: iv. 1-576.

-43-

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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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