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

By Simon Swain | Go to book overview

12
Philostratus

INTRODUCTION

Flavius Philostratus is the last author to be considered here in any detail. All his works reflect an active interest in the cultural history of the Greek world. He was a practising sophist and came from a sophistic family.1 His wife was apparently of senatorial stock and at least one of his sons became a senator. He himself held the office of general at Athens during the first decade of the third century and was also close to the imperial court.2 Philostratus did not live in the past. He was fully alive to the pleasures and the pressures the contemporary world offered to the educated elite. The Greek past was simply the way of preserving one's status in the present day. That is why the Lives of the Sophists often focuses, as has been observed,3 not on the rhetorical output of the sophists or on their classicism, but on their economic and social standing, and on their relations with the cities and the emperors. In assessing Philostratus' attitude to Rome it is important to remember at all times that it is Greece's cultural inheritance that really matters to him now. This provides the frame of reference (as it were) through which his comments on Romans and on the Empire are mediated. It makes no difference that Philostratus' world was--after Caracalla's Empire- wide extension of the Roman citizenship in 212--necessarily Roman in political-administrative terms.4 Culturally and spiritually it was as Greek as Plutarch's or Galen's.

____________________
1
On the attribution of works between the various Philostrati and the divergent views of Münscher 1907 and Solmsen 1940 and 1941 see Anderson 1986: 291-6 and Flinterman 1993: 5-15. There is no dispute that the Apollonius and the Lives of the Sophists, the works examined below, are by the same man.
2
Family: IK i ( Erythrai i), 63 (cf. Jones 1989), where his son c. 240 is 'kin and brother and uncle of senators'; stratêgos-- IG ii2 1803 ( Follet 1976: 101-2); see now Flinterman 1993: 16-29; in general Anderson 1986.
3
Above, 'Practice' n. 3, 'Past' n. 99.
4
Constitutio Antoniniana: above, 'Past' n. 8. On the equal treatment of East and West in the senatorial appointments of this age see Leunissen 1989: 89.

-380-

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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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