Empire of Honour: The Art of Government in the Roman World by J. E. Lendon

By J. E. Lendon

Jon Lendon bargains a daring new research of ways Roman govt labored within the first 4 centuries advert. He contends despotism rooted in strength and worry loved frequent aid one of the ruling sessions of the provinces at the foundation of an aristocratic tradition of honor shared by means of rulers and governed.

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Mathisen (1993), 1 0 - 1 3 . 3 2 Literary pursuits, Cic. Tusc. 1. 4 - 6 ; Off. 2. 4 8 - 9 ; Juv. 1 0 . 1 1 4 ; Pliny, Ep. 6. 6 . 3 ; Fronto, ad Am. 1 . 4 (van den Hout); Tac. Ann. 1 2 . 2 8 ; Dial. 5 - 7 ; Suet. Galbaj,. 3; Apul. Flor. 16; Men. Rhet. 4 2 5 - 6 ; A m m . M a r c . 2 9 . 1 . 8; Neri (1981). Even a vociferous attack on, for example, poetry—Aper's remarks in Tacitus' Dialogus—does not deny that prestige can be derived from it (Dial. 5, cf. 1 0 ) ; Aper merely insists that this prestige is more fleeting than that derived from oratory (9).

Among the upper classes, these characteristics enjoyed prestige only because aristocratic opinion accorded it. But who were these aristocrats? Within the general category of the rich, the possessors of property, a sub­ group can be distinguished—call it the aristocracy, although neither Greek nor Latin had an exactly equivalent word, since 'us* and 'them' sufficed—a group defined by its shared values, and in particular by its members' esteem of the same qualities. The aristocracy was an opinioncommunity; it granted, and was denned by, honour.

1 . 1 1 ; Jos. AJ18. 89; HA Verus 4. 2. Danger of insult, Cic. ad Fam. 13. 2 6 . 3 . Pliny, Ep. 10 passim, for the correspondence of Pliny and Trajan. There are, of course, exceptions, Philo, Leg. Gaium 256; Gk. Const. 276. A n d late emperors were more brusque: see Eus. Hist. Eccl. 1 0 . 5 . 1 7 and some of the forged imperial letters in the later lives of the HA. 7 7 7 8 Introduction 21 where, of all places, a modern reader expects some reference to obedi­ ence, avoided all mention of it. And this antipathy to seeming to obey manifested itself in practical terms: the early and high empire simply avoided hierarchies of obedience as much as possible.

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