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The Construction of Authority in Ancient Rome and Byzantium

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The Construction of Authority in Ancient Rome and Byzantium
Cambridge University Press
9780521878654 - The Construction of Authority in Ancient Rome and Byzantium - The Rhetoric of Empire - By Sarolta A. Takács
Frontmatter/Prelims

The Construction of Authority in Ancient Rome and Byzantium: The Rhetoric of Empire

In The Construction of Authority in Ancient Rome and Byzantium, Sarolta Takács examines the role of the Roman emperor, who was the single most important law-giving authority in Roman society. Emperors had to embody the qualities or virtues espoused by Rome's ruling classes. Political rhetoric shaped the ancients’ reality and played a part in the upkeep of their political structures. Takács isolates a reoccurring cultural pattern, a conscious appropriation of symbols and signs (verbal and visual) belonging to the Roman Empire. She suggests that contemporary concepts of “empire” may have Roman precedents, which are reactivations or reuses of well-established ancient patterns. Showing the dialectical interactivity between the constructed past and present, Takács also focuses on the issue of classical legacy through these virtues, which are not simply repeated or adapted cultural patterns but are tools for the legitimization of political power, authority, and even domination of one nation over another.

Sarolta A. Takács is professor of history and founding dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program at Rutgers University. A recipient of fellowships from the Center for Hellenic Studies (Harvard University) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation as well as grants from the Loeb Classical Library Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and Fondation Hardt, she is the author of Isis and Sarapis in the Roman World and Virgins, Sibyls, and Matrons: Women in Roman Religion.


The Construction of Authority in Ancient Rome and Byzantium

The Rhetoric of Empire

Sarolta A. Takács

Rutgers University


CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
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Cambridge University Press
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www.cambridge.org
Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9780521878654

© Sarolta A. Takács 2009

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2009
Printed in the United States of America

A catalog record for this publication is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Takács, Sarolta A.
The construction of authority in ancient Rome and Byzantium : the rhetoric of
empire / Sarolta A. Takács.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-521-87865-4 (hardback)
1. Rome – Politics and government. 2. Byzantine Empire – Politics and
government. 3. Rhetoric, Ancient. I. Title.
JC83.T22 2008
320.937–dc22 2008004828

ISBN 978-0-521-87865-4 hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party Internet Web sites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such Web sites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


To My Friends

Inspirations and Psychēs Iatroi

And

To My Teachers

Motivators of Ideas and Questions


Contents

Acknowledgments
ix
Abbreviations
xi
Maps
xv
Introduction
xvii
Chapter One   Republican Rome's Rhetorical Pattern of Political Authority
1
Virtual Reality: To Win Fame and Practice Virtue
1
Creation of a Public Image: Rome's Virtuous Man
4
Virtue and Remembrance: The Tomb of the Scipiones
16
Variations on the Theme: Cicero’s Virtuous Roman
24
Pater Patriae: Symbol of Authority and Embodiment of Tradition
32
The Virtuous Father: Gaius Julius Caesar
36
Chapter Two   Empire of Words and Men
40
Augustus's Achievements: A Memory Shaped
40
Horace's Poem 3.2: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
50
Nero: What an Artist Dies with Me!
55
Vespasian: The Upstart from Reate
62
Trajan: Jupiter on Earth
73
Maximus: Hollywood's Ideal Roman
77
Chapter Three Appropriation of a Pattern
81
Mending the Known World Order
81
A New World Order
89
Constantine, Very Wisely, Seldom Said “No”
94
A Pagan's Last Stand
99
Augustine: The Christian Cicero
107
Claudian's On the Fourth Consulate of Honorius
112
Chapter Four  The Power of Rhetoric
119
The Last Roman Emperor: Justinian
119
The First Byzantine Emperor: Heraclius
127
A View to the West: Charlemagne
134
Back to the East: A Theocratic State?
139
Conclusion
147
Bibliography
155
Ancient Authors
155
Modern Authors
156
Index
165

Acknowledgments

I benefited greatly from discussions with Professor Phillip Rothwell in the early stages of writing this book. The actual book took shape while I was a Fellow at the Rutgers Center for Historical Research, where, under the directorship of Professors Ann Fabian and Jackson Lears, we explored “The Question of the West.” I am grateful to them and to all the other Fellows who welcomed an ancient historian and helped me rethink many of my assumptions. Thanks goes also to my Rutgers University research assistants, Mr. David Danbeck, Mr. Andrij Fomin, and Ms. Anna Linden Weller, as well as the anonymous readers from the Cambridge University Press. Mr. Paul Blaney for his editorial assistance and Ms. Maureen DeKaser for her unceasing and passionate encouragement as well as her help over many years deserve my deepest gratitude. To all of them, teachers and friends, I dedicate this book.

Rutgers
The State University of New Jersey
New Brunswick, NJ
Fall 2007





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