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Imperial Ideology and Provincial Loyalty in the Roman Empire

Clifford Ando
Copyright Date: 2000
Edition: 1
Pages: 515
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  • Book Info
    Imperial Ideology and Provincial Loyalty in the Roman Empire
    Book Description:

    The Roman empire remains unique. Although Rome claimed to rule the world, it did not. Rather, its uniqueness stems from the culture it created and the loyalty it inspired across an area that stretched from the Tyne to the Euphrates. Moreover, the empire created this culture with a bureaucracy smaller than that of a typical late-twentieth-century research university. In approaching this problem, Clifford Ando does not ask the ever-fashionable question, Why did the Roman empire fall? Rather, he asks, Why did the empire last so long?Imperial Ideology and Provincial Loyalty in the Roman Empireargues that the longevity of the empire rested not on Roman military power but on a gradually realized consensus that Roman rule was justified. This consensus was itself the product of a complex conversation between the central government and its far-flung peripheries. Ando investigates the mechanisms that sustained this conversation, explores its contribution to the legitimation of Roman power, and reveals as its product the provincial absorption of the forms and content of Roman political and legal discourse. Throughout, his sophisticated and subtle reading is informed by current thinking on social formation by theorists such as Max Weber, Jürgen Habermas, and Pierre Bourdieu.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-92372-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xxii)
  6. CHAPTER ONE Introduction: Communis Patria
    (pp. 1-16)

    We take the Roman empire for granted. As an agglomeration of territories and ethnic groups conquered in swift and bloody wars—and the swiftness of that conquest continues to defy historical explanation—the empire possessed an internal stability that ought to elicit considerable surprise. Instead, we treat its longevity as inevitable; historians from Flavio Biondo to Otto Seeck and beyond have set their sights on its ultimate decline and fall, rather than on its remarkable tenure. Studies of resistance and insurrection abound, but they invariably reinforce our view of the empire’s history as one of actively appreciative prosperity, punctuated only...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Ideology in the Roman Empire
    (pp. 19-48)

    No date identifies that moment when Rome ceased to rule her subjects through coercion and began to rely on their good will; no event marked the transformation of her empire from an aggregate of ethnic groups into acommunis patria. The history of that transformation cannot seek certainties. The provincial population of the empire was probably never unanimous in its appreciation of Rome, nor would all residents of the empire have agreed on every detail of their shared culture. The existence of thecommunis patriarelied not on any genuine identity between the patriotic sentiments of its members, but on...

  8. CHAPTER THREE The Roman Achievement in Ancient Thought
    (pp. 49-70)

    In October 417, Rutilius Namatianus left Rome for his ancestral hall: the fields of Gaul summoned home their native son.¹ He bid a tearful farewell to the city, the fairest queen of her world, and for the sin of his departure he offered in atonement a speech of praise: “You have made from distinct and separate nations a single fatherland: it has benefited those who knew not laws, to be captured by your conquering sway; and by giving to the conquered a share in your law, you have made a city of what was once a world.”² Rutilius gauged Rome’s...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR The Communicative Actions of the Roman Government
    (pp. 73-130)

    In A.D. 245 a group of men from Beth Phouraia, a village in the vicinity of Appadana, itself a town some miles north of Dura Europus along the Euphrates, came to Antioch to petition the governor to solve a dispute in their village. Fate has preserved a copy of their petition, along with its subscription; it was first published in 1989, was republished in 1995, and is now of-ficially designatedP. Euphrates1:¹

    [1] In the consulship of Imperator Caesar Marcus Julius Philippus Augustus and Maesius Tittianus, five days before the Kalends of September, in the year 293 [of Antioch],...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Consensus in Theory and Practice
    (pp. 131-174)

    Authenticated texts defined relations between peripheral entities and the central power on a continuum that included a vast but definable set of fellow participants in the community of the empire; they did so by concretizing discrete moments in a historical narrative in which local collectivities of every sort were slowly subsumed within a greater whole. Indeed, the very existence of those texts constituted a peculiar and uniquely powerful form of propaganda.¹ We need not assume, however, that the emperors of Rome dispatched them with an eye on their cumulative effect. On the contrary: their authors focused their attention firmly on...

  11. CHAPTER SIX The Creation of Consensus
    (pp. 175-205)

    Rome invoked and soughtconsensusthrough means more disparate than communicative actions. We turn first toaurum coronarium,a tax that was more than a tax: rather, this was at heart an irregular levy, a putatively spontaneous response to the arrival of good news. The Romans asked provincials everywhere to rejoice in and give thanks for benefactions anywhere. In doing so, they relied on an ideology ofconsensus,a belief in the unanimity of sentiment and aspirations among all members of a given community. The universalizing tendencies of Roman propaganda thus had their origin in an ideological belief grounded in...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Images of Emperor and Empire
    (pp. 206-274)

    The strands of argument and systems of belief interwoven in this chapter find their nexus in the reign of Claudius Messius Quintus Decius Valerianus. Decius came to power in an era of instability. He himself seized the throne by killing his predecessor and patron, Philip the Arab, in a battle during the autumn of 249.¹ Decius then proceeded to Rome, where, at the urging of the Senate but through his own prompting, he added the name Trajan to his own.² Philip had celebrated the millennial anniversary of the city of Rome in 248, and there is some reason to believe...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT Orbis Terrarum and Orbis Romanus
    (pp. 277-335)

    Imperialism possesses its own logic and requires a particular geography. It divides the peoples of the world: some are conquerors; all others are already or yet to be conquered. Neither Roman nor Gaul is likely soon to have forgotten the campaigns of Caesar. A substantial difference in legal rank and a vast emotive gulf will have separated them; nor will Roman attempts to collapse the former necessarily have had any effect on the latter. The integration of the empire presupposed a different geography, a different division of the world.

    Yet imperialism would seem essential to the Roman self-image and to...

  14. CHAPTER NINE The King Is a Body Politick . . . for that a Body Politique Never Dieth
    (pp. 336-405)

    The emperor of the Roman world did not seize the imagination and then hold the allegiance of his subjects merely by asserting his invincibility in war, however divinely ordained.¹ Awareness of the engendering of loyalty as a process, indeed, one that came to fruition over generations, should not diminish our estimation of the cumulative effect of Rome’s six centuries of undisputed hegemony over the Mediterranean world. “Dazzled with the extensive sway, the irresistible strength, and the real or affected moderation of the emperors, [the ancients] permitted themselves to despise, and sometimes to forget, the outlying countries which had been left...

  15. CHAPTER TEN Conclusion: Singulare et Unicum Imperium
    (pp. 406-412)

    If more of Cicero’sDe legibussurvived, this Conclusion would be easier to write.¹ Ancient political theorists started with noble assumptions—for example, that the state, formed by a primitive social contract, existed to benefit the common good. To be fair, one must admit that these assumptions shaped Cicero’s beliefs that a republic could not truly exist unless founded on theconsensusof the political orders and that such concord must itself be founded upon the highest degree of justice.² These theorists also assumed, however, that true political power ought to reside in men of their class; much of their...

    (pp. 413-450)
    (pp. 451-458)
    (pp. 459-494)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 495-495)