Alien Wisdom: The Limits of Hellenization

By Arnaldo Momigliano

During this vintage learn of cultural disagreement Professor Momigliano examines the Greeks' perspective towards the modern civilizations of the Romans, Celts, Jews, and Persians. examining cultural and highbrow interplay from the fourth throughout the first centuries B.C., Momigliano argues that during the Hellenistic interval the Greeks, Romans, and Jews loved an unique particular dating that assured their lasting dominance of Western civilization.

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It's obtrusive that Polybius self-consciously grew to become this assembly right into a Socran'c episode, and Paul Friedlander was once reminded of the outlet scene of the 'Greater Alcibiades' (Am. Journ. Phil. sixty six (1945), 337-51 = Plato 1 (1958), 322-32). The identify of his article, 'Socrates enters Rome', is unquestionably justified on a much wider foundation. A century later, Cicero attributed to Scipio Aemilianus and his neighbors the creation of Socrates' educating in Rome. As he says in De republica (3. 5): 'Scipio and his buddies additional to the local utilization of our ancestors the educating of Socrates coming from in another country. ' Polybius couldn't have written his heritage as he did if he had no longer present in Rome an aristocracy which he might instinctively comprehend simply because he shared its perspective to existence. the typical foundation used to be supplied by way of the large-scale infiltration of Hellenistic strategies and customs into Rome throughout the earlier century. yet we needs to let for a certain quantity of supply and take. Plutarch experiences within the Quaestiones Conviviales (iv, Proemium) one of many items of recommendation which Polybius used to be imagined to have given to Scipio after he took cost of him:' by no means go back from the discussion board until eventually you have got made a brand new good friend of 1 of your fellow electorate. ' This exhibits that Polybius grasped very early the approach of 'amicitiae', that's of dientships, which supported the facility of the Roman 24 Polybius and Posidonius aristocracy. With equivalent ease and sympathy he penetrated into that maze of Roman principles, conventions and unforeseen reactions during which many different Hellenistic politicians misplaced their manner. In his bills of Roman males and manners, Polybius isn't through problems of interpretation. His walks throughout the streets of Rome should have been followed via a relentless sensation of deja vu. He gives the look of spotting instead of of studying. He lacks the feel of shock. he's the prototype of the historian who by no means marvels, simply as Herodotus is the prototype of the historian who consistently marvels. He had after all his take hold of of army and diplomatic perform to assist him; and he used to be firmly confident that the Roman structure used to be open to research in Greek phrases. He didn't declare to be completely unique in his cyclical concept of constitutional adjustments. yet no matter if he was once extra unique than he himself claims, he used to be purely generating one of the adaptations on a Greek scheme. in addition, he had an acute experience of deviation from the norm in any society. He praised Scipio Aemilianus' generosity to his relations by way of remarking: 'Such behavior may evidently be popular anyplace, yet in Rome it used to be a surprise; for totally not anyone there ever offers away something to a person if he may also help it' (31. 26. 9). apparently adequate, he turns out to were helped in his description of Roman associations through handbooks to be had to Roman officials and magistrates. His description of the Roman army camp (6. 27-42) is nearly definitely derived from a ebook, or even the outline of a Roman levy at the Capitol (6. 19-21) looks taken from a written account, in view that, as Professor Brunt has in recent times proven intimately, it may hardly ever have corresponded to modern perform {Italian Manpower 225 B.

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