Greek Narratives of the Roman Empire under the Severans: by Adam M. Kemezis

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By Adam M. Kemezis

The political instability of the Severan interval (AD 193-235) destroyed the excessive Imperial consensus concerning the Roman earlier and prompted either rulers and matters consistently to re-imagine and re-narrate either fresh occasions and the bigger form of Greco-Roman historical past and cultural id. This ebook examines the narratives placed out through the recent dynasty, and the way the literary elite answered with divergent visions in their personal. It specializes in 4 lengthy Greek narrative texts from the interval (by Cassius Dio, Philostratus and Herodian), every one of which constructs its personal model of the empire, each one outlined by means of assorted Greek and Roman parts and every another way laid low with dynastic swap, specifically that from Antonine to Severan. cutting edge theories of narrative are used to provide new readings of those works that convey political, literary and cultural views jointly in a unified presentation of the Severan period as a particular ancient second.

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Extra resources for Greek Narratives of the Roman Empire under the Severans: Cassius Dio, Philostratus and Herodian

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As Revell 2009, 4 notes, such approaches are attractive in part as a corrective to earlier developmental models of Romanization. Recent more diachronic approaches include Madsen 2009 (relating specifically to Bithynia-Pontus); Andrade 2013 (Syria) and Sartre 2013. There were indeed many regions of the Roman empire, notably Syria and eastern Anatolia, where Greek cultural influence, especially as represented by the polis model of urbanism, increased in parallel with Roman rule in the first two centuries ad.

This sacrifices a certain apparent clarity – it is more straightforward to write about what real people did and thought – but gains in breadth and complexity. Instead of looking for the dogmatically held opinions of one man, I am trying to sketch the range of cultural possibilities available to any reader of the time. 43 They did so within a set of discourses, parameters for defining what kinds of knowledge and communication were possible and authoritative in a given cultural setting. These parameters were limited but dynamic; thus the literary texts we will be reading both reflect existing discourses, and also add to them incrementally.

The emperors were more anxious than ever to locate both positive change and positive continuity in their own persons, and all three authors are equally anxious to locate it elsewhere. Beyond the immediate dynastic question, however, there is also the question of cultural change. Even though ancient historiography largely restricted itself to the narrative of warfare and high politics, all three of these authors were aware that change happened in the cultural sphere as well. The nature of Romanness and the defining features of imperial culture altered greatly over the course of the second century as provincial elites became integrated into the central power structure, thus remaking both its character and their own.

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