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

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Overview

In The Construction of Authority in Ancient Rome and Byzantium, Sarolta Takacs 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. Takacs 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, Takacs 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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521878654
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/22/2008
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarolta A. Tak√°cs is associate professor of history and founding dean of the 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.

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Table of Contents

Maps

Introduction

Ch. 1 Republican Rome's Rhetorical Pattern of Political Authority

Virtual Reality: To Win Fame and Practice Virtue

Creation of a Public Image: Rome's Virtuous Man

Virtue and Remembrance: The Tomb of the Scipiones

Variations on the Theme: Cicero's Virtuous Roman

Pater Patriae: Symbol of Authority and Embodiment of Tradition

The Virtuous Father: Gaius Julius Caesar

Ch. 2 Empire of Words and Men

Augustus's Achievements: A Memory Shaped

Horace's Poem 3.2: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

Nero: What an Artist Dies with Me!

Vespasian: The Upstart from Reate

Trajan: Jupiter on Earth

Maximus: Hollywood's Ideal Roman

Ch. 3 Appropriation of a Pattern Mending the Known World Order

A New World Order

Constantine, Very Wisely, Seldom Said "No"

A Pagan's Last Stand

Augustine: The Christian Cicero

Claudian's On the Fourth Consulate of Honorius

Ch. 4 The Power of Rhetoric

The Last Roman Emperor: Justinian

The First Byzantine Emperor: Heraclius

A View to the West: Charlemagne

Back to the East: A Theocratic State?

Conclusion

Bibliography

Ancient Authors

Modern Authors

Index

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