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

By Simon Swain | Go to book overview

3
Past and Present

INTRODUCTION

The phenomenon of atticism leads naturally to a discussion of the wider relationship between the Greek past and the present in the second sophistic. This is a more complicated matter. Atticism is of course a part of the general reinvention and recreation of the classical age that is so striking in our period. But, as has been noted, the atticists never sought to control the language of the non-elite as the promoters of katharevousa did in modern times, cynically or otherwise. With atticism we are dealing with something of concern to the elite only (even though elite-mass relations are an essential element in it). History and tradition are different creatures. Actual reinvention and recreation of foundation legends and myths was no doubt in the hands of the elite (I shall be looking at some examples of this control below). But the statements of literary texts, the historical themes of the sophists and rhetors, historical references and assumptions in political oratory, the presence of semi-historical and historical tales in the ever popular entertainment of the pantomime, evidence from the competitions, festivals, and visual arts of this era, together with the 'sub'-literary pseudo-histories of Alexander the Great and other historical figures all suggest that 'ordinary' people had some knowledge of history and a sense of the tradition of the Greek world and its culture which was independent of the elite. This permeation of the past through the various social layers naturally made it into an object of political interest over the whole arena of civil society, among the tribes, ephebes, cults, schools, assemblies, processions, and all the other institutions of the ancient Greek world that allowed government to rest on a wide base of consent. The major beneficiary of the general respect for tradition was again the male establishment class. For, as has been remarked, in our period more than ever they took care to associate themselves with

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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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