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Imperialism, Cultural Politics, and Polybius$
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Christopher Smith and Liv Mariah Yarrow

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199600755

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199600755.001.0001

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Aemilius Paullus Sees Greece: Travel, Vision, and Power in Polybius

Aemilius Paullus Sees Greece: Travel, Vision, and Power in Polybius

(p.152) 8 Aemilius Paullus Sees Greece: Travel, Vision, and Power in Polybius
Imperialism, Cultural Politics, and Polybius

Amy Russell

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses Polybius' fragmentary account of Aemilius Paullus' trip around Greece in 168 bce. The episode, located at the join between the two halves of Polybius' work, provides a rare early insight into the relationship between Roman power and Greek culture from the Greek perspective. Polybius emphasises Paullus' desire to see the Greek world, and vision is consistently emphasised. Two models of vision in the context of travel can be discerned in the text, one in which vision is an imperialist, possessive act and a second in which it is a reverent learning process reminiscent of the Greek theoria. The tension between the two models allows for the mutual construction of Greek and Roman identity, and positions Paullus the traveller as the historian's alter ego.

Keywords:   Polybius, L. Aemilius Paullus, travel, vision, theoria, Roman imperialism, Greek identity

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