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Chapter 2 introduces Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion and offers an analysis of his account of the story of the Fall from Genesis. Here Hegel develops his discussion of alienation, since the Fall is a story about how humans are alienated from themselves. It shows that alienation is a fundamental fact of human existence and not just something contingent. The chapter also introduces Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of History and presents his analysis of the alienation that was characteristic of the Roman Empire. Hegel points out that the schools of Roman philosophy—Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Skepticism—can all be seen as reactions to this. An account is given of Hegel’s analysis of Christianity, which he sees as overcoming this alienation. At the end of his lectures, Hegel claims that his own time in the 1820s has certain elements in common with the Roman Empire, when the world of culture had lost its meaning and people fell into a state of alienation and despair. Later thinkers were generally dissatisfied with Hegel’s view that it was sufficient simply to understand the nature of the contemporary crisis. They demanded a more active approach to the world.
Chapter Five: Imperial Creations (192–284 CE) investigates the outcome of these negotiations between the citizens and their imperial overlords, as the balance of Roman involvement in Antioch shifted from provincial to imperial in an increasingly unstable climate. Antioch was not yet a completely imperially governed city, as the civic administration retained a visible degree of agency and still presented itself as a distinct body. Even so, the Antiochians were forced to adjust under intensified Roman rule as the imperial government exploited the city’s resources and interrupted civic operations.
This chapter introduces readers to the study of ancient Antioch. It not only surveys the long-standing interest in the city but also critiques traditional characterizations of Antioch as a prominent, yet static, capital for the Seleucid and Roman empires. This is understandable considering the perceived limitations of both the textual and archaeological evidence. However, full examination of the coin evidence for Antioch helps challenge monolithic descriptions by revealing the different civic, provincial, and imperial authorities making use of the city. More specifically, this chapter introduces the approach of applied numismatics, digital mapping, and Exploratory Data Analysis to study the iconography, distribution, and likely circulation of the coins minted at Antioch. More than a coin study, however, the primary goal of this book is to encourage a better integration of material often left to specialists into a deep and comprehensive history of the people at and in relationship with the ancient city.
As examined in Chapter Four: Provincial Negotiations (31 BCE-192 CE), the rise of the principate ushered in a series of significant restructurings of the Middle East, which elevated the place of Antioch into a new provincial role and forged new ties to the city. Although these Roman activities are often portrayed as eclipsing the municipal structures, operations, and identities of the Antiochians, far more complex exchanges both divided and drew together the established civic population and the Roman administration.
With the inception of the late antique period, Antioch finally transformed fully into the role of imperial Roman city and capital. As explored in Chapter Six: Imperial City (284–450 CE), even this status did not end the expression or boldness of the Antiochians, but the civic structure as a whole continued to evolve under the now formalized imperial presence and the Christianization of the empire. Antioch and its people were integrated into the Roman imperial system to a greater degree than ever before.
As the noble elites in Elizabethan England were preparing their anti-imperial and anti-papal strategies, they received welcome assistance from the civil lawyer Alberico Gentili, a protestant refugee interested in combining his Roman law expertise with the kind of humanist statesmanship that was appreciated by his English interlocutors and that had flourished among North Italian city-states at the time of Lorenzo de’ Medici. Gentili wrote on the need to combine insights from history with a critical “philosophical” attitude – an orientation he identified in jurisprudence. He insisted on limiting the jurisdiction of theologians to the internal world of the faithful and on the absolute duty of obedience to the king, even when he had turned a tyrant. But Gentili remained blind to the principles of good government that were being developed under the anti-legal vocabulary of the ragion di stato by Italian Counter-Reformation strategists such as Giovanni Botero.
Antioch in Syria critically reassesses this ancient city from its Seleucid foundation into Late Antiquity. Although Antioch's prominence is famous, Kristina M. Neumann newly exposes the gradations of imperial power and local agency mediated within its walls through a comprehensive study of the coins minted there and excavated throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. Patterns revealed through digital mapping and Exploratory Data Analysis serve as a significant index of spatial politics and the policies of the different authorities making use of the city. Evaluating the coins against other historical material reveals that Antioch's status was not fixed, nor the people passive pawns for external powers. Instead, as imperial governments capitalised upon Antioch's location and amenities, the citizens developed in their own distinct identities and agency. Antioch of the Antiochians must therefore be elevated from traditional narratives and static characterisations, being studied and celebrated for the dynamic polis it was.
The visual and intertextual effects of Ausonius’ versified riverscape, the Mosella, make it a prize specimen for modern study of late antique Latin poetics and aesthetics. What kind of performance – and then what kind of a book – would this poem originally have been, in the empire of Valentinian and his sons, in the 370s and ’80s? The chapter measures the oddity of the Mosella, and of the poet’s oeuvre, against the background of prior fourth-century Latin opuscular poetizing, to argue that Ausonius’ “poetical fame” (Gibbon) was at once enabled by his profile as an imperial officeholder and an effect of his deliberately stepping aside from it. A following generation of Latin writers, many of whom would style Christian literary careers for themselves, may be seen reprising – if not emulating – the trick that Ausonius performed in improvising a personal poetic subjectivity at the edge of the cognitive ecology of Roman empire.
Why did Paul skip Alexandria? Why is there a blank spot on his missionary map? What prompted him to make plans to travel west rather than south? The lack of scholarly interest in this question is almost as conspicuous as the lack of sources for earliest Christianity in Alexandria. This article surveys and categorises the rather random hypotheses offered in scholarship. They relate to Paul's self-understanding as a missionary, to his theological raison d’être, to religious and cultural aspects, and to political circumstances. The most plausible answer concerns early Christian mission strategy: Paul skipped Alexandria because it was a Jewish city and as such part of the Jewish-Christian mission.
In this chapter the author identifies the chief continuities and changes in civic munificence in the poleis under Roman imperial rule in comparison with the previous periods of Greek history. To do so, the author develops a model to answer the question of why elite public giving was a such an enduring element of polis society in the first place. He identifies three structural features of polis society that can explain the centrality of elite public giving: the specific way wealth, fame, power and authority needed to be legitimated in the polis; the particularity of the Greeks’ idea of politics; and the stateless character of the polis. To test this model, the author then applies it to explain two specific characteristics of civic euergetism in the Greek cities under the Roman empire, namely, its unprecedented proliferation during the first, second and early third centuries CE, and the extent to which munificence started to transcend the benefactor’s own civic community, that is, the increasing tendency of benefactors to include non-citizen groups in the poleis in their munificence as well as to give to cities other than their own.
This chapter investigates the dynamics of material and symbolic exchange between Roman emperors and Greek cities, and the role of the emperor in the ideology and practice of civic euergetism in the Greek East, in the middle Roman empire (c. 98–180 CE). It begins by documenting the absence of demonstrable correlations between (1) an imperial visit and an imperial benefaction to a city and (2) an imperial visit and the erection of an honorific statue for the reigning emperor. On this basis it is argued that an imperial visit was not the critical moment for generating reciprocal exchanges between emperor and city, as is normally thought, and that local honours for the emperor were not usually triggered by the provision or even the prospect of specific imperial benefactions to the city. The bulk of the chapter then draws out the implications – both ideological and practical – of this peculiar form of ‘abstract reciprocity’ between Roman emperors and Greek cities, arguing that this type of idealized benefaction and local honorific practice defines this phase in the long history of civic euergetism in the Greek polis.
This chapter outlines the expansion of the Roman Empire during the Republican period and goes on to discuss the consequences of this expansion, the subsequent installation of a military monarchy (principate) and the Roman boundaries during that time. It discusses the Roman Empire as a legal, cultural and economic area, and the underlying factors behind its spatial dimensions. It shows that Rome’s wars and expansion were a by-product of multiple coexisting factors, ranking from predatory imperialism to the need to defend itself and its allies against other predators, from the magistrates’ quest for glory to the generals’ need to boost the morale of their armies and acquire political backing from the soldiers. Under the principate the factors influenced the empire’s expanding or contracting borders ranged from the desire of certain emperors to immortalize themselves by crossing the ocean, the symbolic limit of orbis terrarum), to the need to maintain the armies within the ecologically sustainable areas, to the degree of pressure from the empire’s enemies and recalcitrant subjects. Rather than presenting a one-size-fits-all explanation to the empire’s territorial extent, I follow the historical narrative which outlines multiple factors that influenced the empire’s size at every given moment.
This article argues that one of the central theses of the counter-imperial reading of Paul has been more asserted than proved – namely, the thesis that Paul disguised anti-imperial sentiments in his letters specifically because speaking out against imperial authorities was too dangerous. This claim is the basic assumption behind the search in Paul's letters for ‘hidden’ or ‘coded’ transcripts. Such an approach can be found in the works of Warren Carter, N. T. Wright, and Richard Horsley, among others. But how likely is it that Paul would have felt the need to encode his anti-imperial sentiments? Was there really a risk that Roman soldiers would have intercepted Paul's mail or prosecuted him for its contents? Is the ‘hidden transcript’ idea an anachronistic concept based on modern surveillance states and transposed into the ancient world? This paper questions how likely it is that Rome's provincial governments would have had the inclination or ability to police private correspondence for seditious sentiments. From there, we can determine whether Paul is speaking as openly as he wants or is in fact protecting himself using ‘hidden transcripts’.
The Acts narrative's characterisation of Julius evokes the circumstances of Socrates, specifically the end of his life, at which point his prison guard – who exhibits a fondness for Socrates – allows his friends to visit and care for him. The credibility of this reading is strengthened by situating Acts 27 amid other Socratic characterisations of Paul in Acts 17–26, 28. By understanding Julius’ characterisation in this way, readers can regard Paul as a Socratic figure even during his sea voyage and shipwreck. This reading is more credible than others that attribute the characterisation of Julius to the narrative's positive disposition towards centurions.
Many exotic animal species were introduced to Northern Europe during the Roman period, including fallow deer (Dama dama). To date, however, finds of fallow deer bones at archaeological sites in this region have been sporadic and disarticulated, leaving uncertainty over their origins. This article presents the first known articulated fallow deer skeleton from Roman North-western Europe. Osteological, ancient DNA, radiocarbon dating and stable isotope analyses confirm that the species was established in this region by the Roman period, probably originating from translocated, rather than native, Mediterranean populations. Clarifying the origins of fallow deer in North-western Europe is critical for understanding the dynamics of species exchange around the Roman Empire.
Ovid’s Epistulae ex Ponto 2.8 commemorates the exiled poet’s receipt of a gift of silver images of the Caesars from Rome. This paper argues, with reference to Augustan coinage and Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism, that the poem deconstructs Romans’ self-subjugation to imperial iconography and highlights their role in vesting it with power. Through comic deployment of the pathetic fallacy via a naïve narrative persona, Ovid shows how, from a provincial perspective, the emperor's numen might really appear to reside in his image, placing the emperor literally in his subjects’ hands. Pont. 2.8 therefore comments more generally on the interpretive possibilities, social practices, and psychology surrounding Roman imperial images, locating their power in plural, subjective, democratic acts of creative consumption.
Images relating to imperial power were produced all over the Roman Empire at every social level, and even images created at the centre were constantly remade as they were reproduced, reappropriated, and reinterpreted across the empire. This book employs the language of social dynamics, drawn from economics, sociology, and psychology, to investigate how imperial imagery was embedded in local contexts. Patrons and artists often made use of the universal visual language of empire to navigate their own local hierarchies and relationships, rather than as part of direct communication with the central authorities, and these local interactions were vital in reinforcing this language. The chapters range from large-scale monuments adorned with sculpture and epigraphy to quotidian oil lamps and lead tokens and cover the entire empire from Hispania to Egypt, and from Augustus to the third century CE.
Scholars have established that Rome is at once a place and an idea. This double formula, however, which limits Rome to a specific distant place (distant, that is, from the perspective of Britain) and an idea (that is, an immaterial concept or notion of that distant place), needs to be supplemented by an acknowledgement that the Roman Empire had left in its wake material remains and cultural practices that ensured that Rome could always be close-to-hand, familiar, and domestic—even a thousand or more miles from the Eternal City. Ruins, roads, the Latin language and the thickets of its grammar, cultural and spiritual institutions, liturgical texts and devotional regimens: these phenomena ensured that Rome could be, even as far away as Medieval or Renaissance Britain, experienced as near rather than far, and as a network of material remains and cultural practices rather than as an abstract idea. The book gathers these disparate phenomena under the rubric of the ‘fact’ of Rome (with an eye to the word’s derivation from the Latin factum) in an effort to show that lives lived in Medieval and Renaissance Britain were continually immersed in versions of Rome that oscillated between conspicuousness and invisibility.
This chapter concerns Roman sculptors and considers whether sculptors in the Roman empire fit the modern criteria for the term ‘professional’, as has been developed in the sociology of modern professions. While the lack of a regulatory system governing stone carving practitioners in the Roman world might make it hard to fit them into most modern definitions of professionals, it is argued that Roman sculptors saw their work as skilled and used their specialist knowledge to obtain social and economic rewards.
The original Goths were a Germanic people who played a crucial role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of medieval Europe. In 410, a Gothic army led by Alaric sacked the imperial city of Rome, and at the end of the fifth century kingdoms ruled by Visigoths and Ostrogoths dominated much of the post-Roman West. The last Gothic kingdom disappeared more than a thousand years ago, when Visigothic Spain fell to the Muslim Arabs in 711, yet the Gothic legacy endured. The Renaissance depiction of the Goths as destructive barbarians was balanced by the Reformation’s respect for Gothic vigour and freedom, which gathered momentum in Germany and England and inspired the cultural revival from which the modern Gothic emerged. This chapter provides an introduction to the Goths of history, from their legendary origins to the downfall of Visigothic Spain, for only against that historical background, it claims, can we understand the attraction of the Gothic from the seventeenth century to the present day.