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Roman History

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 March 2013

Extract

Bravely stepping into the arena, we first tackle Paul J. Burton's Friendship and Empire, which strikes a blow for the Romans, though he disclaims participation in the ‘defensive/offensive’ imperialism debate. He uses theory, the comparatively optimistic I(nternational) R(elations) Constructivism rather than IR (Neo-)Realism, though without abandoning the latter completely, to show that Roman foreign relations in his period were conceived in terms of amicitia rather than of Ernst Badian's clientela; and, more importantly, that language has an impact on how we construct global realities. History matters, and Roman diplomatic concepts should be considered on their own terms. Once individual friendship and its uncertainties and dissolution have been analysed, three empirical core chapters follow, which apply theory to cases in the categories of ‘Beginnings’, with discussion of socii, deditio voluntary and involuntary, and fides; ‘Duties’ (cf. le don); and ‘Breakdown and Dissolution’ (usually simultaneous). This sensitive contribution is detailed and persuasive, though least strong on breakdown. Look at the outbreak of the Third Punic War: the Romans were disturbed by an ‘internal unilateral adjustment in status-perception’ (323). Action spoke louder than fair words.

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Subject Reviews
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Copyright © The Classical Association 2013

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