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Hundreds of foreign hostages were detained among the Romans as the empire grew in the Republic and early Principate. As prominent figures at the center of diplomacy and as exotic representatives, or symbols, of the outside world, they drew considerable attention in Roman literature and other artistic media. Our sources discuss hostages in terms of the geopolitics that motivated their detention, as well as in accordance with other structures of power. Hostages, thus, could be located in a social hierarchy, in a family network, in a cultural continuum, or in a sexual role. In these schemes, an individual Roman, or Rome in general, becomes not just a conqueror, but also a patron, father, teacher, or generically masculine. By focusing on the characterizations of hostages in Roman culture, we witness Roman attitudes toward ethnicity and imperial power. Joel Allen received his Ph.D. from Yale University and currently is Assistant Professor of History at Queens College, City University of New York.Read more
- Was the first full-scale investigation of an important feature of Roman diplomacy and international relations
- Takes an intriguing, interdisciplinary approach that includes discussion of multiple genres of literature, as well as archaeological evidence
- Contributes to growing literature on 'Romanization' and contributes to debates about assimilation and resistance in imperial societies
Reviews & endorsements
"Allen's Study is a major contribution demonstrating, above all, that no real understanding of Roman imperialism is possible without confronting the hostage."
Susan Mattern, The International History ReviewSee more reviews
"...it is a nuanced and brilliantly articulated consideration of Roman attitudes about hostages and how those attitudes reflected Rome's growing hegemony....The novelty of Allen's book is both its detailed exposition of this thesis and its methodological approach....the book's organization and conclusions serve as excellent templates for those who might wish to do so."
--Dylan Bloy, Gettysburg College
"...readers will gain a better understanding of the attitudes and beliefs that formed the backdrop of Roman imperial policy, as well as a renewed appreciation for the persistence and ingenuity of resistance at the periphery." --James Quillin, Lake Forest Academy: New England Classical Journal
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- Date Published: April 2011
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521174206
- length: 308 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
- weight: 0.46kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
8. Polybious as a hostage
9. Tacitus on hostage-taking and heroism.
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