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Becoming Roman, staying Greek: Culture, identity and the civilizing process in the Roman East*

  • Greg Woolf (a1)


The nature, and indeed the reality, of Romanization in the east is controversial. One of the most influential accounts of Romanization in the western provinces notes that ‘by contrast, where Greek was already the language of culture, of government and of inter-regional trade, the Romans carried further the process of Hellenization … in general what was specifically Latin in the common civilization of the empire made little impact in the east’, the exceptions being the influence of Roman law and the popularity of gladiatorial games. That verdict endorsed the view that ‘the emperors made no attempt to romanise the Greek speaking provinces’, which saw the foundation of cities as a continuance of Hellenistic royal practice, and which regarded the establishment of the rare eastern colonies as motivated by practical considerations rather than any attempt at encouraging cultural assimilation. More recently, a fuller survey of exceptions to this general rule nevertheless concluded that ‘On the one hand, the culture and identity of the Greek east remained fundamentally rooted in the Classical past. On the other hand, the visible presence of Rome, outside those zones where the legions were stationed, was extremely slight.’



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1. Brunt, P. A., ‘Romanization of the local ruling classes in the Roman empire’, in Pippidi, D. M. (ed.), Assimilation et résistance à la culture gréco-romaine dans le monde ancien (1976) 161–73 on p. 162 reprinted in Brunt, P. A. (ed.), Roman imperial themes (1990) 267–81, 515–17. On law Millar, F. G. B., ‘Culture grecque et culture latine dans le haut-empire: Ia loi et la foi’, in Rougé, M. J. and Turcan, M. R. (eds.), Les Martyres de Lyon (1978) 187–94; on gladiators Robert, L., Les Gladiateurs de l'orient grec (1940).

2. Jones, A. H. M., The Greek city from Alexander to Justinian (1940) 60–1 and idem, ‘The Greeks under the Roman empire’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 17 (1963) 3–19, reprinted in his The Roman economy. Studies in ancient economic and administrative history (1974) 90113; cf. Bowersock, G. W., Augustus and the Greek world (1965) at 72: ‘Romanization is an unnecessary postulate for eastern colonization of this age. It is chiefly a word which describes what subsequently happened in certain areas of the western empire, and what did not happen in the East.’ For a more nuanced view of the colonies in the east, stressing in particular differences among them, see Levick, B. M., Roman colonies in southern Asia Minor (1967), with Millar, F. G. B., ‘The Roman coloniae of the Near East: a study of cultural relations’, in Solin, H. and Kajava, M. (eds.), Roman eastern policy and other studies in Roman history. Proceedings of a Colloquium at Tvärminne 2–3 October 1987, Societas Scientiarum Fennica: Commentationes Humanarum Litterarum 91 (1990) 758, and Isaac, B., The limits of empire: the Roman army in the East (1990) 311–32.

3. Millar, F. G. B. introducing Macready, S. and Thompson, F. H. (eds.), Roman architecture in the Greek world, Society of Antiquaries Occasional Papers n.s. 10 (1987) ix–xv.

4. Levick (n. 2) 184–92 citing a variety of examples of Latin cultural influence drawn from Hahn, L., Rom und Romanismus im griechisch-römischen Osten. Mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Sprache. Bis auf die Zeit Hadrians (1906). Hahn's examples of Latin loan words (which can be paralleled from epigraphic sources) illustrate that not all Greeks were ignorant of things Roman; cf. Plutarch, , Moralia 1010d on widespread knowledge of Latin. Familiarity, of course, does not exclude contempt. I am very grateful to Simon Swain for discussion of these matters.

5. Macready and Thompson (n. 3) with the useful formulation of Yegül, F. K., ‘“Roman” architecture in the Greek world’, JRA 4 (1991) 345–55. For an indication that the phenomenon was not wholly urban see Rossiter, J. J., ‘Roman villas of the Greek east and the villa in Gregory of Nyssa Ep. 20’, JRA 2 (1989) 101–10. For a useful survey cf. Dodge, H., ‘The architectural impact of Rome in the East’, in Henig, M. (ed.), Architecture and architectural sculpture in the Roman empire (1990) 108–20.

6. Cartledge, P. and Spawforth, A., Hellenistic and Roman Sparta. A tale of two cities (1989) 135–6.

7. E.g. Welles, C. B. et al. , ‘The Romanization of the Greek East’, BASP 2 (1964) 4277 and now Quass, F., ‘Zur politischen Tätigkeit der munizipalen Aristokratie des griechischen Ostens in der Kaiserzeit’, Historia 31 (1982) 188213.

8. Millar, F. G. B., ‘The Greek city in the Roman period’, in Hansen, M. H. (ed.), The ancient Greek city state (1993) 232–60.

9. Freeman, P. W. M., ‘“Romanisation” and Roman material cultureJRA 6 (1993) 438–45, for a perceptive discussion of these difficulties.

10. For the imperial cult see Robert (n. 1) 240; for the influence of veteran colonies Levick (n. 2) 192.

11. On bath–gymnasia, see Farrington, A., ‘Imperial bath buildings in south-west Asia Minor’, in Macready, and Thompson, (n. 3) 50–9; and more fully Yegül, F. K., Baths and bathing in classical antiquity (1992) 250313.

12. E.g. as expressed by Syme, R., Tacitus (1958) 504–19 seeing the fusion foreshadowed by Antony but not realized until Hadrian. Compare G. W. Bowersock (n. 2) and idem, Greek sophists in the Roman empire (1969) passim; Jones, C. P., Plutarch and Rome (1971) 31–9; Forte, B., Rome and the Romans as the Greeks saw them (1972). More recent characterizations have increasingly admitted elements of Greek hostility to Rome under the empire: cf. Jones, C. P., The Roman world of Dio Chrysostom (1978) 124–31; R. Browning, ‘Greeks and others from antiquity to the renaissance’, in idem, History, language and literacy in the Byzantine world (1989) II 1–26, and the works cited in n. 41 below.

13. MacMullen, R., ‘Notes on Romanization’, BASP 21 (1984) 161–77, reprinted in idem, Changes in the Roman empire. Essays in the ordinary (1990) 56–66, 291–5 discusses several key variables.

14. Cf. Geertz, C.'s notion of symbolic centres, discussed in his ‘Centers, kings and charisma: reflections on the symbolics of power’, in Local knowledge (1983) 121–46, or Bourdieu, P.'s idea of doxaas the set of agreed givens that surrounds the universe of discourse, described in his Outline of a theory of practice (1977).

15. Not all the inhabitants of the Roman east regarded themselves as Greeks, of course, but the complex constructions of ethnicity in areas like Judaea and Syria are beyond the scope of this paper: cf. most recently Millar, F. G. B., The Roman Near East. 31 B.C. –A.D. 337 (1993). Equally, no systematic account is given here of Roman relations with the western Greeks, although in many respects they shared in the experiences and developments described here: Wilson, R. J. A., Sicily under the Roman Empire. The archaeology of a Roman province 36B.C.–A.D. 535 (1990) at 2932 stresses the minimal impact of Roman culture on Greek Sicily under the Republic, while Lomas, K., Rome and the western Greeks 350 B.C. – A.D. 200. Conquest and acculturation in southern Italy (1993) at 181–5 records the same combination of institutional Romanization with a celebration of Greek identity that, in the east, is the subject of this paper.

16. Garnsey, P. D. A. and Saller, R. P., The Roman empire. Economy, society and culture (1987) 2040, and Lintott, A. W., Imperium Romanum: politics and administration (1993) for up-to-date surveys of imperial administration. Nothing exists for the imperial period to match the analysis of late Republican attitudes presented in Brunt, P. A.'s ‘Laus imperii’, in Garnsey, P. D. A. and Whittaker, C. R. (eds.), Imperialism in the ancient world (1978) 159–91, reprinted in Brunt, P. A., Roman imperial themes (1990) 288–323, 506–11.

17. For the development of Republican ideas about their responsibilities towards provincials Sherwin-White, A. N., ‘The Lex Repetundarum and the political ideas of Gaius Gracchus’, JRS 72 (1982) 1831, especially with the conclusions of Richardson, J. S., ‘The purpose of the Lex Calpurnia de repetundis’, JRS 77 (1987) 112, and Brunt (n. 16) on the period illuminated by the writing of Cicero and Caesar. Erskine, A., The Hellenistic Stoa. Political thought and action (1990) 181204 argues that Greek philosophy made a significant contribution to the direction, as well as the form, of this debate.

18. Ferrary, J.-L., Philhellénisme et impérialisms. Aspects idéologiques de la conquête romain du monde hellénistique, Bibliothèque des Écoles Françaises d'Athènes et de Rome 271 (1988) 511–16 for a recent discussion in relation to humanitas with bibliography.

19. Momigliano, A., Alien wisdom. The limits of Hellenization (1975).

20. Pliny, Natural history 3.39.

21. Wallace-Hadrill, A., ‘Rome's cultural revolution’, JRS 79 (1989) 157–64 making this point, while reviewing Zanker, P., The power of images in the age of Augustus (1988). Cf. also Beard, M. and Crawford, M. H. (eds.), Rome in the late Republic (1985) 1224 for a succinct account.

22. Beard, M., ‘Cicero and divination: the formation of a Latin discourse’, JRS 76 (1986) 3346; Wallace-Hadrill, A., ‘Roman arches and Greek honours: the language of power at Rome’, PCPS 216 (n.s. 36) (1990) 143–81, for nuanced illustrations of this process of adaption and adoption. General discussion in Wallace-Hadrill, A., ‘Greek knowledge, Roman power’, CPh 83 (1988) 224–33 and, with a difference of emphasis, Gruen, E. S., Studies in Greek culture and Roman policy (1990) and Culture and national identity in Republican Rome (1993).

23. Much recent work has focused on the uses of Greek culture at Rome, for example to distinguish between individuals, to differentiate between social classes, and as a cultural resource that might be drawn on when innovation was required and enabled by empire: cf. the works cited in nn. 19, 21 and 22 and also Rawson, E. D., Intellectual life in the late Roman Republic (1985), Griffin, M. T. and Barnes, J. (eds.), Philosophia togata. Essays on philosophy and Roman society (1989), Edwards, C., The politics of immorality in ancient Rome (1993) and Wallace-Hadrill, A., Houses and society in Pompeii and Herculaneum (1994). A fully satisfactory explanation for Hellenization, however, will also need to take into account the fascination which Hellenism exercised for other non-Greek peoples, in such different areas as Caria, for which cf. Hornblower, S., Mausolus (1982) 332–51; the Levant, cf. Millar, F. G. B., ‘The Phoenecian cities: a case study of Hellenization’, PCPS 209 (n.s. 29) (1983) 5571; and Judaea, cf. Rajak, T., ‘The Jews under Hasmonean rule’, CAH2 IX (1994) 274309. Explanations in terms of any supposed innate superiority of Greek culture must be rejected. But the phenomenon was sufficiently extensive, both in geographical and chronological terms, to require an explanation at least partly in terms of the developing specificity and structure of Hellenism, as well as the needs and desires of the Greeks' neighbours. Momigliano (n. 19) brilliantly defines the scope of the problem and of any future investigation, rather than provides an answer to it. At an analytical level, part of the difficulty derives from the relative absence of investigations into explanations for cultural movements and cultural change in historic societies, other than as consequences of political or economic transformations or of religious conversion. Bowersock, G. W.'s imaginative Hellenism in late antiquity (1990), discussing the utility of Hellenism as an integrative medium, providing in late antiquity a common idiom for diverse and scattered non-Christian cults, might suggest similar approaches to the loose-connected cultural unity of Hellenism in earlier periods as well.

24. See Edwards (n. 23) passim on the centrality of morality in defining Roman identity. For the Greeks, membership of a common political community was more important as a component of Athenian, Spartan, Argive, Boeotian identities etc., than of Greek identity per se, and although participation in a common religious community underwrote both Greek and Roman identities, for Greeks the majority of cults had long been located within the framework of the politically plural world of the polis.

25. Pliny, Epistles 8.24; cf. Cicero, Ad Quintum fratrem 1.1.28.

26. Principally the preoccupation of imperial period Greeks with their past, although other influential ideas may have been notions of natural cycles of the growth, apogee and decline of cities and empires and in some areas also ideas of decline resulting from truphe and wealth.

27. Discussed and documented in Petrochilos, N., Roman attitudes to the Greeks (1974) 3553; Balsdon, J. P. V. D., Romans and aliens (1979) 3054.

28. Serbat, G., ‘Il y a Grecs et Grecs! Quel sens donner au prétendu antihellénisme de Pline?’, in Pline l'Ancien. Temoin de son temps (1987) 589–98 although Serbat's Pliny sometimes seems to hold Enlightenment values and Orientalist prejudices. To be preferred is Beagon, M., Roman nature. The thought of Pliny the Elder (1992) 1820 for an interpretation that locates Pliny's prejudices in more securely Roman intellectual, religious and moral contexts; cf. also Wallace-Hadrill, A., ‘Pliny the Elder and man's unnatural history’, Greece and Rome 37 (1990) 8096.

29. Tacitus, , Annales 2.53–5, using their divergent attitudes to Athens as an element in their characterizations.

30. Beagon (n.28) 14–16.

31. Pliny, , Epistles 10.116 and 117.

32. The literary and moral character of the first nine books of the Epistles is widely recognized, whatever relationship is envisaged between them and any actual correspondence. Syme (n. 12) 95–7, for example, characterizes them as Epistulae morales the tone of which is lighter and the style neater than those of Seneca. Book 10 is generally treated as quite different, e.g. ibid. 659–60, yet there seems no good textual reason for the distinction and no a priori reason why the last book might not serve a similar end to the first nine, modelling a central part of the rôle of an aristocrat possessed of humanitas and the other qualities Pliny seeks to examplify in the rest of his life and relationships. The case cannot be argued in full here, but against the notion of an administrative archive might be set the inclusion in book 10 of the first 14 letters, dating from before the Bithynian proconsulship, the repeated concern with the morality (as opposed to the financial and juridical minutiae) of Pliny's officium and of Trajan's rule, and the similarity between the relationship portrayed between emperor and aristocrat in these letters and the relationship idealized in the Panegyricus e.g. at 93.

33. Digest 1.16.4.

34. Pausanias 7.16.9, cf. Polybius 39.5 with SIG 3 684 (the Dyme decree) and in general de Ste Croix, G. E. M., The class struggle in the ancient Greek world (1981) 525–8. Strabo, Geography 10.4.22 (Crete), 8.5.4 (Sparta) and 9.1.20 (Athens).

35. Pliny, , Epistles 10.79 and 80 and on Bithynia-Pontus in general see Sherwin-White, A. N., Roman foreign policy in the East: 168 B.C. –A.D. 1 (1984) 257–61 with bibliography. On civic constitutions in particular cf. Mitchell, S., ‘The Greek city in the Roman world. The case of Pontus and Bithynia’, in Actes of the 8th International Conference of Greek and Latin Epigraphy (1984) 120–33 stressing the co-existence of Romanized institutions with a strong sense of Greek identity.

36. Pliny, , Epistles 10.112 and 113.

37. Mrozek, S., ‘Crustulum et mulsum dans les villes italiennes’, Athenaeum 50 (1972) 294300; Duncan-Jones, R. P., The economy of the Roman empire. Quantitative studies (2nd edn., 1982) at 138–44, Woolf, G. D., ‘Food, poverty and patronage. The significance of the epigraphy of the Roman alimentary schemes in early imperial Italy’, PBSR 58 (1990) 197–228 at 212–16.

38. Dörner, F. K., Der Erlass des Statthalters von Asia Paullus Fabius Persicus (1935) on SEG 4.516; Rogers, G. M., The sacred identity of Ephesos. Foundation myths of a Roman city (1991); Oliver, J. H., The sacred Gerousia, Hesperia supplement 6 (1941). For the dissemination of Roman concepts of the ‘proper’ management of cult see Gordon, R., ‘Religion in the Roman empire: the civic compromise and its limits’, in Beard, M. and North, J. (eds.), Pagan priests. Religion and power in the ancient world (1990) 235–55.

39. Briscoe, J., ‘Rome and the class struggle in the Greek states: 200–146 B.C.’, Past and Present 36 (1967) 320 reprinted in Finley, M. I. (ed.), Studies in ancient society (1974) 5373 and de Ste Croix (n. 32) appendix 4, discuss Rome's rôle in the process. For Achaia in particular cf. Alcock, S. E., Graecia capta. The landscapes of Roman Greece (1993) 1820 with 234, n. 23.

40. Brunt (n. 1). On common sense as an aspect of culture cf. Geertz, C., ‘Common sense as a cultural system“, in Geertz, (n. 14) 7393.

41. Garnsey, P. D. A., Social status and legal privilege in the Roman Empire (1970).

42. E.g. Tacitus, Annales 11.18–19 (Corbulo and the Frisii); Gonzalez, J., ‘The Lex Irnitana: a new copy of the Flavian municipal lawJRS 76 (1986) 147243; Bowman, A. K. and Rathbone, D. W., ‘Cities and administration in Roman Egypt’, JRS 82 (1992) 107–27.

43. Among other studies Gabba, E., Dionysius and the history of archaic Rome (1991) 190200; Swain, S. C. R., ‘Plutarch's Philopoemen and Flamininus’, Illinois Classical Studies 13 (1988) 335–47; idem, ‘Plutarch: chance, providence and history’, AJP 110 (1989) 272–302; idem, ‘Hellenic culture and the Roman heroes of Plutarch’, JHS 110 (1990) 126–45; Elsner, J., ‘Pausanias: a Greek pilgrim in the Roman world’, Past and Present 135 (1992) 329; Rogers (n. 38) on Ephesus; Price, S. R. F., Rituals and power. The Roman imperial cult in Asia Minor (1984); and for images Smith, R. R. R., ‘The imperial reliefs from the Sebasteion at Aphrodisias’, JRS 77 (1987) 88138.

44. Discussed in a seminal paper by Bowie, E. L., ‘The Greeks and their past in the second sophistic’, Past and Present 46 (1970) 341, reprinted in Finley (n. 39) 166–209.

45. Bowersock (n. 12) 26–8 stressing the past in the sophistic as a source of power. The power of oratory emerges very clearly from Millar, F. G. B., The emperor in the Roman world (1977) especially at 230–40, 375447.

46. Among very recent work Alcock (n. 39); Cartledge and Spawforth (n. 6); Gregory, T. (ed.), The Corinthia in the Roman Period, JRA supplementary series 8 (1994).

47. On gladiators in the Greek world Robert (n. 1) remains fundamental, and see also Wiedemann, T., Emperors and gladiators (1992) 43–4, with 141–5 on intellectual and philosophical critiques of gladiatorial combats, many (but not all) of them voiced by writers who considered themselves Greek. I am indebted to Simon Swain for pointing out to me contra Fuchs, H., Der geistige Widerstand gegen das Römertum (1938) at 4950, how rarely these critiques were based on the Roman origins of gladiatorial games, rather than on their supposedly debilitating moral effects. On bath complexes cf. n. 11 above.

48. Quass (n. 7).

49. Cf. the works cited in nn. 3 and 5.

50. On the architectural transformation of the west Ward-Perkins, J. B., ‘From Republic to Empire: reflections on the early imperial provincial architecture of the Roman WestJRS 60 (1970) 119. This transformation was accompanied in many areas by an abandonment of pre-Roman sites, and the rejection of the monumental traditions of prehistoric Europe.

51. Pace Yegül (n. 5) 355: ‘Rome addressed the issue of hellenization with caution and without a consistent policy; similarly, the east took to Roman ways with a like degree of caution and inconsistency.’ Yet there is little in the Second Sophistic to compare with Roman discourse about Hellenization. Note however Yegül's useful reminder that many architectural techniques and styles may have carried no specific ethnic or cultural referents or connotations for many who used them. That may well have been truer for Greeks, who do not seem to have regarded architectural style as a major signifier of cultural affiliation, than for the Romans who, to judge from Vitruvius and Tacitus, regarded the construction of some kinds of buildings as at least a sign of civilization, and of others as an indication of dangerously un-Roman activity; cf. especially Edwards (n. 23) 137–72 and in general Wallace-Hadrill (n. 23).

52. I hope to discuss these developments more fully in the future in a work provisionally entitled Becoming Roman in Gaul.

53. Bowersock (n. 23) 7.

54. Strabo, Geography 1.4.9. The work none the less reflects a consciousness of variable degrees of civilization among the peoples of the world which tends to undermine the idea of a sharp dichotomy in these terms between Greeks and barbarians, cf. e.g. 2.5.26 and 3.2.15.

55. On foundation festivals see e.g. Rogers (n. 38); on fictive kinship and diplomacy Elwyn, S., ‘Interstate kinship and Roman foreign policy’, TAPhA 123 (1993) 261–86; on genealogical researches Bickerman, E. J., ‘Origines Gentium’, CPh 47 (1952) 6581 reprinted in idem, Religion and politics in the Hellenistic and Roman world (1985) 399–417.

56. Spawforth, A. J. and Walker, S., ‘The world of the Panhellenion II: three Dorian cities’, JRS 76 (1986) 88115.

57. Tacitus, , Agricola 21 is the locus classicus. Descent was discussed at Rome, partly under Greek influence and often in relation to particular gentes, but common descent was never claimed as the basis of the Roman identity which (like the Christian identity) had an historical origin, in the founding of the city, rather than a mythological one.

58. Although often cited in this context, Aristides' Roman oration needs to be set in the context of the conventions of panegyric and of the wide range of divergent opinions Aristides presents in his other orations. It might, in any case, be legitimately asked why the Second Sophistic needed to revive panegyric and orations on kingship, if the relationship between Greeks and the empire was quite as harmonious as it is often portrayed. These undercurrents of hostility and alienation, that may be read in a variety in Greek writers of the imperial period, are to be treated by Simon Swain in a forthcoming work.

59. Millar, F. G. B., ‘P. Herennius Dexippus: the Greek world and the third century invasionsJRS 59 (1969) 1229.

60. Marrou, H.I., Histoire de l'éducation dans l'Antiquité6 (1965) 380–8 argues that the knowledge of Greek was most widespread in Rome in the generation of Cicero, and that it subsequently declined as Latin letters replaced Greek literature in the educational and cultural syllabuses; cf. Holford-Strevens, L., Aulus Gellius (1968) 166–77 arguing for a noticeable decline in the course of the second century A.D. To the factors adduced in these studies should be added the impact of increasing numbers of senators and equestrians from the western provinces, not all of whom can have rivalled Fronto's cultural competences, for which see Champlin, E., Fronto and Antonine Rome (1980) 2944.

61. Barth, F., Ethnic groups and boundaries (1969).

62. Reynolds, J. M., Aphrodisias and Rome (1982); eadem, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and the Cyrenaican cities’, JRS 68 (1978) 111–21.

63. Tacitus, Annales 4.43.

64. Petrochilos (n. 27), as Dio Chrysostom (38.38) recognized.

65. Pliny, Epistles, 5.20.4.

66. Price (n. 43) 53–77 and Wallace-Hadrill, ‘Roman arches …’ (n. 22) show what can be gained from treating worship and the giving of honours as cultural systems. Difficulties only arise if these systems, composed of loosely associated sets of habits, expectations and associations which give meaning to individual acts and so make both creativity and its appreciation possible, are confused with functionalist systems which represent symbolism as a shared property or set of activities that acts as a social glue. My point is precisely that Roman and Greek cultural systems were not perfectly shared, and so, although the use of these rhetorical and symbolic strategies did have integrative effects, it also operated to maintain distinctions which were divisive.

67. Syme, R., ‘The Greeks under Roman rule’, Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 72 (19571960) [1963] 320, reprinted in idem, Roman papers II (1979) 566–81, even suggests that Tacitus' treatment of Greeks in the Annales, when compared with that in his earlier works, suggests his experience of governing them in Asia had soured his opinion.

68. E.g. Gruen, E. S., The Hellenistic world and the coming of Rome (1984) 250–72, and most of all Ferrary (n. 18), especially 497–504, for much of what follows.

69. Wallace-Hadrill, A. F., Suetonius. The scholar and his Caesars (1983) 181–5 for a good introduction.

70. Edwards (n. 23) 24–8.

71. On itinerant governors see Burton, G. P., ‘Proconsuls, assizes and the administration of justice under the empireJRS 65 (1975) 92106; on emperors Halfmann, H., Itinera Principum. Geschichte and typologie der Kaiserreisen im römischen Reich (1986). The resemblance is noted in a review of Halfmann by Barnes, T. D., ‘Emperors on the move’, JRA 2 (1989) 247–61, at 261.

72. Warmington, B. H., Nero: reality and legend (1969) 108–22, and Griffin, M. T., Nero. The End of a dynasty (1984) 208–20, for good discussions, both stressing Julio-Claudian precedents and contemporary cultural contexts.

73. Griffin (n. 72) 208–20; cf. also Warmington (n. 72) 108–22 and Alcock, S. E., ‘Nero at play? The emperor's Grecian odyssey’, in Elsner, J. and Masters, J. (eds.), Reflections of Nero: culture, history and representation (1994) 103–4, on the liberation of Greece.

74. SIG 2.814.

75. See Alcock (n. 73) for fuller discussion of this theme.

76. Spawforth, A. J. and Walker, S., ‘The world of the Panhellenion I: Athens and Eleusis’, JRS 75 (1985) 78104 and iidem (n. 56).

77. Oliver, J. H., Marcus Aurelius: aspects of civic and cultural policy in the East, Hesperia supplement 13 (1970), for the first publication of the inscription, now republished in Oliver, J. H., Greek constitutions of early Roman emperors from inscriptions and papyri (1989) as no. 184, taking account of new readings by Jones, C. P., ‘A new letter of Marcus Aurelius to the Athenians’, ZPE 8 (1971) 161–83, and Follet, S., ‘La Lettre de Marc-Aurèle aux Athéniens EM 13366. Nouvelle lecture et interprétation’, Revue de Philologie 53 (1979) 2943, with full bibliography up until 1979.

78. Williams, W., ‘Formal and historical aspects of two new documents of Marcus Aurelius’, ZPE 17 (1975) 3778, for signs of Marcus' personal style. Rutherford, R. B., The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. A study (1989) at 78 argues that Marcus' choice of Greek for the Meditations probably reflects a belief that Greek was the language of philosophy, together with admiration for Epictetus' discourses as recorded in Greek by Arrian, rather than the influence of philhellenism or of the Second Sophistic.

79. On this perception in the late Republic cf. Rawson, E., ‘Cicero and the AreopagusAthenaeum 63 (1985) 4466, reprinted in eadem, Roman culture and society (1991). Oliver, J. H., ‘Roman emperors and Athens’, Historia 30 (1981) 412–23 provides a brief account of imperial interest, republished in idem, The civic tradition and Roman Athens (1983) ch. 9.

80. Follet (n. 77) accepted by Oliver, Greek constitutions … (n. 77).

* Earlier versions of this paper were read to the Society in March 1994 and also to seminars in Reading and Oxford. I am very grateful to all present on those occasions, as well as to Susan Alcock, Catharine Edwards, Joyce Reynolds, Graham Shipley, Simon Swain and to the Society's referee for their constructive and supportive criticism, which has improved the argument, and its presentation, beyond recognition. Susan Alcock and Simon Swain also generously allowed me to read unpublished work. Responsibility for all views expressed and remaining errors is, of course, my own.

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